Life in Lape Haven

Author - Kishona

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving - Life in Lape Haven. Our kids like to be a part of everything we do, so it shouldn't have surprised me when my oldest really enjoyed making something "on his own" to take to our family Thanksgiving gathering. Here are 7 easy recipe ideas that your children can help make for your holiday meal or other celebration.

When Elijah was still a little-little guy, about 3 years old, we added a new tradition to our family Thanksgivings that he has faithfully continued every year since. In fact, it only became a tradition because he asked to do it the following year. I might forget it, but he always remembers!

Every year, Elijah gets to make a “special” dish to take to our families’ Thanksgiving meals.

It all started because I was trying to keep him busy while I was prepping my contributions: sweet potato casserole and apple pies.

He wanted to help, but he wasn’t quite old enough to peel potatoes or roll out pie crust. So, I reached back into my childhood and came up with a super easy side dish/dessert he could make: fruit cocktail with marshmallows. 🙂

I know, not exactly your normal Thanksgiving fare, but it was a dish my grandma often served with our meals when we visited when I was little, so I knew our family would be familiar with it.

Plus, all it requires is emptying a can of fruit cocktail into a bowl and stirring in miniature marshmallows. Elijah could totally do that. I opened the cans for him, let him dump it into a bowl, and had him stir as I poured in the marshmallows. Then he put it into the refrigerator until it was time to leave.

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving - Life in Lape Haven. Our kids like to be a part of everything we do, so it shouldn't have surprised me when my oldest really enjoyed making something "on his own" to take to our family Thanksgiving gathering. Here are 7 easy recipe ideas that your children can help make for your holiday meal or other celebration.

He was so excited and proud of himself for “making” something for the day. He carefully carried his creation to and from the car and into my parents’ house.

When it was time to eat, he made sure that everyone knew that he had made the fruit cocktail. 🙂

And they made sure to compliment him on his tasty dish, especially my grandma, who knew exactly where the “recipe” came from.

The following year, I completely forgot about it, but as we got closer to Thanksgiving, Elijah asked me if he could make “his” fruit cocktail again.

And so, it’s now “his” fruit cocktail.

And for him, it’s a special concoction for special occasions. His memories of it are predominantly found in our holiday meals, so to him, it IS Thanksgiving fare.

In talking about Turkey Day this year, he was listing all the things he loves about the day, and he put making fruit cocktail right up there with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (one of our other big traditions here) and ALL. THE. PIES.

I had no idea that it was that important to him.

But it makes sense.

In a day where everyone is bringing something for the feast, what better way to be a big part of the day than to contribute to the table, too?

While for me it was simply a way to keep him busy, that small offering gave Elijah a deeper sense of belonging, allowing him to be an active part of the day, contributing to the celebration, and making something special for his family.

It’s no wonder he never forgets to make it every year. 🙂

With that in mind, if you’d like to give your younger ones a chance to bring something to your family’s festivities this Thanksgiving, I’ve scoured my recipes and those online for a few simple dish ideas your children can create for the holiday table.

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving - Life in Lape Haven. Our kids like to be a part of everything we do, so it shouldn't have surprised me when my oldest really enjoyed making something "on his own" to take to our family Thanksgiving gathering. Here are 7 easy recipe ideas that your children can help make for your holiday meal or other celebration.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you purchase through the link.)

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving

 

1. Fruit Cocktail: A can or two of fruit cocktail in 100% juice. (If using 2 or more cans, you can drain the liquid from all but one). Stir in at least a cup of miniature marshmallows. It’s really just to your preference. Chill in lidded bowl until ready to serve. It’s best if made a couple hours ahead so that the marshmallows soften just a touch. Too long, though (like a couple days), and they will start to dissolve.

 

2. 5 Cup Fruit Salad: If you want to be more adventurous than just one can of fruit with marshmallows, you can try this tasty dish here. Made of just a cup of each ingredient, it’s easy to put together!

 

3. Cranberry Sauce: If you’re using the stuff in a can, let the kids take charge of that one. 🙂

If you’re using fresh cranberries, kids like to mash stuff. 🙂 Or you could make it quickly and make Cranberry Sauce in the Instant Pot, but I doubt the kids can help too much beyond stirring there. (But I love my Instant Pot, and might try this recipe myself!)


 

4. Compound Butter: Most Thanksgiving menus include rolls, bread, or biscuits of some kind. Make it extra festive with some “fancy” butter.

You could take it even further and let your kids make the actual butter, too! Here are instructions for two different methods: In a Stand Mixer or in a Jar 

 

5. Rice Krispie Treats: Cereal, butter, marshmallows. This one’s easy. And if you’re worried about the stove, melt the marshmallows in the microwave.

Want to make it more festive? Try these adorable Turkey Rice Krispie Treats or make it chocolatey (never a bad thing!) with this Oreo-based recipe.

 

6. Cheeseball: While there are lots of variations for this classic appetizer, they all tend to be simple to put together. Here’s a tasty looking Bacon Ranch Cheeseball that your kids could assemble with only a *little* mess 😉

 

7. Turkey Veggie Tray: With a little help or supervision with the cutting part, I know my boys would have fun assembling a fun veggie tray for the day.

 

BONUS RECIPE IDEA: Sweet Corn Spoonbread (also known as Corn Bake): Yes, this involves the oven. But hear me out. This is a simple dump-it-all-in-and-mix-it-up recipe. Kids are good at pouring stuff into the bowl (and many are good at missing…I know). With a little adult help with melting the butter, opening cans, and using the oven, your slightly-older kids can handle this one and have the joy of taking one of the “big dishes.”

 

Of course, you can include your children in numerous areas of the meal prep, even if they can’t make an entire dish all by themselves. Letting them have a part in creating the meal, which is kind of the centerpiece of Thanksgiving Day, will give them a sense of accomplishment, purpose, and pride, while creating new family traditions and memories to last a lifetime.

That’s something to always be thankful for, right? 😉

WHAT DISH DOES YOUR CHILD LIKE TO MAKE or HELP MAKE?


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How to Find Your Quiet Moments When Life Is LOUD

How to Find Your Quiet Moments When Life Is LOUD - Life in Lape Haven. As moms, we all have days when the demands are constant, the noise is incessant, and all we need is a quiet moment to focus. Where are they hidden throughout your day?

I’m sitting here on the couch, enjoying one of those very rare moments when my house is quiet in the middle of the day. Sure there is the white noise of the baby monitor close by, the whir of the washer in the other room, the click of my keyboard keys as I type, and the hum as the furnace decides it’s ready to chase away a bit of the fall chill in the house. But other than that – it’s still and quiet.

Our little guy is upstairs napping, our oldest son is at school, and my husband took our middlest to the store with him.

It’s just me and silence.

This is that golden silence that every mother needs on occasion. The calm hush we long for when our kids are bickering, the baby is squalling, the dog is barking, and the oven timer is going off to remind us to hurry along before we burn dinner.

It’s that elusive peace that we are willing to stay up *just* a bit longer for after the kids are put to bed, even when we’re dead-on-our-feet exhausted.

It’s what we need to catch our breath and refresh our souls, and then even when we manage to find it, it’s fleeting.

Like now. Little man is waking up from a shorter-than-he-and-I needed nap.

How to Find Your Quiet Moments When Life Is LOUD

SEVEN HOURS LATER…
So, that was a nice 15 minutes of quiet earlier today. 🙂

(This post contains affiliate links which mean at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you use the links. You can see my disclosure statement for more.)

I know you understand those days, moms (and dads). And I know we all also have those days where even 15 minutes of quiet is nowhere to be found.

A lot of my days feel like THAT: days where the demands are constant, the noise incessant (even just when the kids are nicely playing, it can be…energetic), and I feel unfocused, scattered, or overwhelmed. Those loud days can be difficult parenting days.

It’s hard to “mom” well when you can’t even hear yourself think.

However, lately God has shown me that there ARE moments throughout my day that, while not perfectly calm and still, are moments where I could enjoy a pause or get mentally organized or just talk to Him.

But every time I get a moment to myself, whether I’m doing dishes while the boys play upstairs, folding clothes after bedtime, driving home with two boys asleep in the car, or even when I’m getting my makeup on or taking a shower – I’ve been filling up those moments with distractions.

And it’s not always Facebook. 🙂

In fact, usually I’m trying to be overly-productive.

I can listen to a podcast or watch a webinar while I’m making dinner or just cleaning up the kitchen.

Having the Kindle app on my phone means that I can read a book while brushing my teeth or drying my hair.

Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

Or maybe I’m listening to music as I sort clothes in the laundry room.

And of course, when my boys are otherwise occupied, finally getting to watch something on TV besides Paw Patrol, Wild Kratts, or Tumble Leaf (an Amazon series) is kind of appealing for my clothes-folding or dusting in the living room.

But my multitasking has also been over-tasking my focus and leaving me feeling disconnected from myself and from God.

By filling up all my possible quiet moments, I have been taking away my chance to pause and ponder – like finding the root of recent disciplinary issues with my boys, thinking through blog post ideas that I wanted to write, planning ahead for upcoming family events, or most importantly, praying or meditating on God’s Word and giving Him space to whisper direction, correction, or vision to my heart. (Nothing will renew your strength for the day better than finding time in God’s presence – even if it’s only a few seconds.)

So, I’ve started appreciating those short blips of calm that I find in my days and using them more wisely – by just letting them be truly quiet moments (or maybe “quiet-ish” moments – as quiet as they can be with life still going on around me.)

I turn off the noise that I can, leave my phone alone, and I think, pray, and listen.

Once again, I feel focused, capable, and in control. I’m better able to handle the ever-present “busy” of my kids and the many demands of being a mom, wife, and homemaker.

I’m not saying that when you have a spare moment of your own that you can’t watch TV, listen to music, catch up on your favorite blogger’s posts 😉 or read a book. We need that time, too.

(In fact, we love our Amazon Prime membership because of all the shows, movies, music, and e-books we get in addition to our free 2-day shipping 🙂  – Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now)

However, if you are filling EVERY spare moment with your own distractions, you will eventually feel the loss of the peace and preparedness that comes in the quiet.

So, if like me, you’ve felt out of sorts and need to recharge or refocus, look for those little moments where, instead of filling them up, you can pause to appreciate the quiet and let God refill you.

WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR QUIET MOMENTS DURING THE DAY?

 

Want more encouragement from this real-life mom as I experience God’s faithfulness through the joy and chaos of motherhood? Join my email list!  

 

 

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A Fun Way to Teach Your Children About God’s Great Commission

A Fun Way to Teach Your Children About God's Great Commission: A Review of The Whole World Needs Jesus by Ann Dunagan. This delightful children's book is full of whimsical illustrations and a message encouraging kids to share Jesus's love with everyone.

I was ten-years-old when God first sparked a heart for a mission trip in me. While I knew that we needed to share the gospel with others all over the world, being a missionary, in my young mind, was only for someone who spent their life preaching in a remote village somewhere.

I didn’t know you could do short-term missions until a group of teenagers with Teen Mania visited our church. They ministered with a drama and gave testimonies of what God had done on their recent one-month mission trip.

From the moment I heard them sharing their experiences, I knew that one day, I would be going somewhere on a mission trip, too. In fact, I began looking forward to turning 16, not so that I could drive, but because that was how old I had to be to go with Teen Mania on a trip.

As it turned out, I waited 7 years for that dream’s fulfillment, but it was worth it. My senior year in high school, my youth pastor announced that our youth group would be going with Teen Mania to Mexico that summer. Everyone knew that this was “my” trip.

A Fun Way to Teach Your Children About God's Great Commission: A Review of The Whole World Needs Jesus by Ann Dunagan. This delightful children's book is full of whimsical illustrations and a message encouraging kids to share Jesus's love with the everyone.

While God didn’t call me to be a full-time missionary, those weeks in Mexico deepened the passion I already had for ministering in my own city and gave me a better understanding of how to pray for and support those serving around the world as missionaries. It also gave me the desire to go on more short-term missions at some point.

Elijah’s heart for the world started even earlier than mine. His was spurred on by a number of things, including a special offering project during his first year at vacation Bible school, Mommy sharing videos with him of how people in other countries live, and by being surrounded by mission-minded family members.  (Both my dad and Brad’s dad have been on multiple mission trips each, and Brad has been on several trips himself.  I’m actually the least traveled of our family “missionaries,” although Brad and I would like to go on a trip together and eventually take our boys, too.)

However, even when we aren’t flying out of the country, our family is still passionate about reaching the world with the love of Jesus.

So when I saw Ann Dunagan’s posts about her children’s book, The Whole World Needs Jesus, I knew it was a book I wanted to read with our boys. When she requested volunteers to review the book, I signed up as soon as I could. (So, yes, I received a copy of the book for free, but as always, all opinions are my honest thoughts.)

A Fun Way to Teach Your Children About God's Great Commission: A Review of The Whole World Needs Jesus by Ann Dunagan. This delightful children's book is full of whimsical illustrations and a message encouraging kids to share Jesus's love with the everyone.

In case you aren’t familiar with Ann and her family’s ministry, she and her husband, Jon, founded Harvest Ministry in 1987, and they have traveled with their family and shared the love of Jesus in about 100 countries and on every continent, starting new churches and caring for orphans.

As parents of 7 children and now grandparents as well, part of the Dunagans’ ministry is encouraging Christian families to become strategic for God’s Great Commission, and they offer mission-minded books and resources for families on their website, MissionMindedFamilies.org.

The Whole World Needs Jesus is Ann’s newest book, an adorable hardcover children’s story with a fun rhyming style; engaging, colorful illustrations (drawn by the Dunagans’ daughter, Caela); and most importantly, a message that focuses on fulfilling the Great Commission no matter where we are, how old we are, or how different the people are to whom God sends us.

As a Christian mom and a children’s church teacher, I’ve read my fair share of children’s books over the years. And while there are some books that you read to your kids just because they like them, this book definitely falls into the category of “books you ALL actually enjoy reading together.”

The first time my boys read it, I had my 7-year-old read it out loud, so I could have the fun of watching their expressions as they heard the story and reacted to it (especially the surprising or funny parts) and delighted in exploring all the drawings.

And since this IS a children’s book, I wanted to get my kids’ thoughts on it, so we read it a few more times over the next couple of weeks before I asked them for their opinions.

Here’s what they had to say:

Elijah (7): “I like the illustrations because they are funny. The book tells you that you need to tell people about God. That everyone needs to know about Jesus. People have sinned, and we need to share that Jesus loves you.”

Josiah (4): “I like it because it tells Jesus around the whole world. I like it because they get them to listen to good stuff. They tell people who live in igloos and shacks.”

Kishona (n/a) 😉 :  “One of the main themes in the book is that no matter how different someone is from us (where they live, what they look like, what they live in, what they eat, what language they speak, or how old they are) – God loves them and has given us a part to play in letting them know that. My boys were giggling over the different foods suggested, but they were also fascinated at this tiny glimpse into the different cultures and peoples around the world. That’s a great conversation starter and an opportunity to talk about compassion and thinking of others, as well as being grateful for all that we often take for granted in our own country.

A Fun Way to Teach Your Children About God's Great Commission: A Review of The Whole World Needs Jesus by Ann Dunagan. This delightful children's book is full of whimsical illustrations and a message encouraging kids to share Jesus's love with the everyone.

The book also reminds the children that every believer has a job to do to reach the lost, whether it’s actually ‘taking the Good News to all those far away’ or being among those ‘who will help, who will give, who will kneel down and pray.’”

It’s so important that we instill into the next generation the very foundational Biblical call to share the gospel with everyone they can, fulfilling God’s Great Commission – whether it’s kids in their school or someone on the other side of the globe – and this book is a wonderful, engaging, and memorable tool to help us do that.

A Fun Way to Teach Your Children About God's Great Commission: A Review of The Whole World Needs Jesus by Ann Dunagan. This delightful children's book is full of whimsical illustrations and a message encouraging kids to share Jesus's love with the everyone.

If you would like to get your own copy of The Whole World Needs Jesus, you can visit Ann’s site, MissionMindedFamilies.org. (This would be a great Christmas gift for your kids or grandkids or as a donation to your church’s children’s ministry).

I’m also very pleased to offer a copy of The Whole World Needs Jesus for one of my readers via my giveaway below! (I’m keeping our copy, though. Haha!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for entering! This contest is open to residents of the U.S. only and runs from Friday, October 13 (12:00 a.m.) through Thursday, October 19, 2017, at 11:59pm EST (I know, specific.).  The winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of the contest ending. Winner has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected.

 

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10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

I know I’ve mentioned a few times in the past how much our family likes doing costumes (see Elijah & the Ninja Skills, for example).

My boys love playing dress up on any given day, which is why they have a costume box in their room and why I have face paints in the bathroom (I’ve done quite a few spontaneous face painting sessions with them “just because”). But they especially like costumes for birthday parties and our church’s annual Fall Fun Fest, and they LOVE it when we all dress up with a family theme.

In looking for a fresh idea for this year’s family costume for the Fall Fun Fest, I began to think about all the different ways we’ve dressed up with our boys in the last 5 years (we didn’t really do much as a family until Elijah caught the “costume birthday bug” from his cousins’ party when he was 2).

So far our family has done 10 different costume themes…in 5 years. 🙂

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Before we had kids, I had my own stash of costume items from years of teaching children’s church (we did a costume day to match our lesson theme at the end of every unit), working with youth groups (one group had 4 theme nights one year, complete with costumes), and of course, Christmas plays and drama skits, so I’m usually pretty prepared for almost any character I need.

Now that stash has expanded quite a bit to include costumes for all my guys.

And lest you think that we spend a fortune on our fun, let me reassure you – we do this as inexpensively as possible. Most of our outfits are pieced together from what we have on-hand, then supplemented with thrift store finds, Dollar Store deals, and LOTS of creativity. (Again, I save everything we use so that we can repurpose it down the road.)

Since I know that this time of a year is kind of the peak of costume season (my own search started this post, after all), I thought perhaps you all would like to see our repertoire of family costumes in case you need some ideas for your own.

 

PIRATES

Elijah’s life would never be the same once he learned that you could have costumes at a birthday party.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Little Pirate: For Elijah, I took a white t-shirt and black pants and cut them jagged on the edges. On the shirt, I cut a slit at the neck then added a few holes to thread a strip of red rawhide through it. A black vest, bare feet, a red polka-dotted tie for his bandana, and a lucky find of a pirate hat, then all he needed was a parrot.

Lady Pirate: One of my most fun pieces in my stash is that crazy multi-color satiny skirt. It makes a great pirate skirt, and with all those layers, you can definitely hide a dagger in those granny boots. I added a ruffled white shirt, some dangly jewelry, a silky bandana, a few braids, and a colorful belt.

Captain Hook: The most elaborate of the costumes was Brad’s, but again, it was mostly thrift store stuff, including the Jack Sparrow wig and Captain Hook hat (both awesome finds!). For his lacy cuffs and cravat, I used the trim off a set of old curtains, and stitched the trim onto sock ends for his arms and a strip of fabric to tie around his neck. His hook was made using a pop bottle bottom, a black sock, and a Dollar Store toy hook. 

 

PEANUTS

As a HUGE fan of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts, no other party theme would do for our 3-year-old Elijah, whose one real request was that everyone come in costume.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Sally: I actually had a “Lucy” style blue dress and wig in my stash thanks to a recent Charlie Brown Christmas play at church, but as I was nursing 3-month-old Josiah and still losing pregnancy weight, that dress didn’t fit. Thankfully, I found a workable pink dress at the thrift store to add black dots to so that I could be “Sally.” I added some pink shorts for bloomers and wore black flats since I didn’t have any saddle shoes.

Snoopy: Brad’s costume is courtesy of my mom’s genius: a white t-shirt with a black “spot” on the back, white sweatpants with a tail added, a white hat with black felt ears, and a nose made from a pop bottle covered in white fabric.

Woodstock: Our little “Woodstock” came together with a yellow onesie, some yellows feathers on fabric, yellow feathers on a hair clip, and a touch of orange makeup on his nose.

Elijah also used his “Charlie Brown” t-shirt later that year for our church’s fall fest. By then Josiah had outgrown his Woodstock, so we put a red striped shirt on him and let him carry his blanket. Boom! “Linus”!

Two fall fest’s later, we all wore our Peanuts outfits for the church’s event.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

 

NEWSIES/TURN OF THE CENTURY

For Josiah’s first birthday, I wanted a costume idea that he would tolerate (since he wasn’t as into costumes as much as Elijah yet), so we did a Newsies party.  Little boys in suspenders, knickers, and caps = adorable!

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Boys: The caps had to be ordered, but the knickers were just cut off pants with buttons added at the knees. Their suspenders were blue elastic pinned on the front and back of their pants.

Me: The hardest part of my costume was my hair – I could have used a lady’s maid. Long black skirt, puffy white shirt (something my mother-in-law found), a pretty pin from my grandma used as a broach at my throat, and an apron.

Brad: Cap and suspenders from the…yep, thrift store.

 

CIRCUS

Elijah’s 4th birthday party theme was “Circus” because we knew it provided fun decorations and lots of different costume options for our family and friends. Also, my dad used to be a professional clown, so we knew we’d have an awesome clown (or 2) at the party.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Clown: My mom did Elijah’s makeup since my dad has the real clown make up. His costume was again a mix and match of his closet and the thrift store. Recognize those suspenders from his Newsie outfit? His hat and silver honking horn were from the Dollar Store. And that face in this picture? I don’t know, but it made him look like a creepy clown rather than the sweet cute clown he was!

Ringmaster: All I needed was a top hat from the discount store and a red jacket from the thrift store. Ruffley white shirt, black pants, black knee boots.

Lion Tamer: Josiah had a cute little overall set with safari animals on it and a khaki sun hat. We called our big Labradoodle, Vinny, his lion.

Human Cannonball: Brad’s old paintball pants, a motorcycle helmet from his dad, and a black long-sleeved t-shirt striped with reflective duct tape. Yep.

**Oh, and PARTY BACKDROP TIP**  Grab a few plastic tablecloths from the Dollar Store in the colors of your party theme. Make a “hem” on one end of each tablecloth by folding it over and taping it. Slip a rope through and hang it. It worked really well for my circus tent.

 

THE WIZARD OF OZ

Having enjoyed his birthday costumes so much, Elijah had a very ambitious idea for what he wanted to be for our church’s next Fall Fun Fest: The Tinman.

This one took some research for the face paint, but it was really fun to do. And when I found a lion costume at the thrift store for Josiah, it was perfect! Brad and I weren’t actually going to dress up, but the afternoon of the event, I decided it would be fun. That scarecrow and very minimalistic Dorothy came together in about 2 hours. Haha.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Tinman: The face paint really makes this character, so I watched a couple of YouTube videos to plan it out, and we tested it a few days ahead of time. (I just used a cheap eye shadow palette with lots of grays, silvers, and blues at the Dollar Store.) His chest piece is a puffy winter vest spray painted silver.

Lion: Again, face paint makes it so much better, and again I used cheap makeup and YouTube videos. Haha.

Scarecrow: Since this was thrown together quickly, I used what we had: a flannel shirt, scrap fabric for patches, embroidery floss for the patch stitches, and a few makeup accents. The straw-like fringe at his neck and cuffs came from a pair of tan socks that I could spare.

Dorothy: The only thing I didn’t have was red shoes, so I spray painted a cheap pair of white tennis shoes with red, then added glitter. They did get a little stiff from the paint, but it was only for the evening, so I survived.

 

NURSERY RHYME CHARACTERS

It can be tricky to find costume-friendly party themes for little ones, but the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes for Josiah’s 2nd birthday was perfect.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Jack & Jill: Brad and I just had to look as though we’d fallen down the hill, so we cut some tears in our thrift store pieces, then added some “dirt,” some bandages, and a pail for our water.

Little Boy Blue: Overalls, straw hat, horn, and a sheep. Done.

Humpty Dumpty: This may be one of my favorite costumes ever (along with the Tinman). Again, face makeup helped. The egg was cut out of white foam board, and then I glue straps on the back so Elijah could wear it. I stuffed a small pair of tights and added some of Josiah’s baby shoes to make Humpty’s legs, and Elijah wore those around his waist. For Elijah’s brick wall pants, I used a sponge to paint bricks onto a pair of red pants. So fun.

 

SUPER HEROES

Elijah’s 5th birthday wasn’t your typical Super Hero birthday. Nope. Elijah specifically asked that it not be any KNOWN super heroes. He wanted to make up his own and have everyone else come as original super heroes, too. (I love my creative boy!)

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Aaaand I blinked! Super.

Line Power Guy: Elijah came up with his character, named him, and helped me design Line Power Guy’s logo – the lightning bolt with a line. I used adhesive-backed felt to create the insignia and stuck it to one of Elijah’s athletic shirts. His used his gray gloves from Humpty Dumpty, a belt from Mommy, his snow boots, and my mom and I had made the capes several years before. Add a cheap mask, and you’re done.

Star Power Kid: Line Power Guy’s sidekick (Josiah) had felt insignia like Elijah. I just stuck his to a pair of his pajamas.

While my costume was easy and I got to be a good guy, we had a little fun and made Brad our villain. Using those paintball pants and that once-duct-tape-striped black t-shirt, we added some of his random paintball gear and a water gun.

 

KING, QUEEN, & KNIGHTS

My nephews who started us off with the pirate party once again had a costume birthday that year, only my boys didn’t decide until the day before that they wanted to do a NEW costume idea for the gathering.

Can you believe our royal family was put together in less than 24 hours?

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Knights: I found a table runner at the thrift store for the boys’ tunics. I cut it in half, then folded each length in half and added a hole for their head. With gray or black turtle necks and dark pants underneath, the tunics were belted with rawhide string. For their armor, I bought generic Storm Trooper pieces from the Dollar Store, cut off the bottom of the mask to make it a helmet, got out the gray spray paint, and strapped them on. And the snow boots came back into play for their feet.

Queen: I had that awesome gown hanging in my closet, so all I had to add was some clearance jewelry from Walmart (including my dangly headpiece – it’s a necklace!)

King: We recycled the shirt, lacy collar and cuffs, and knicker-pants and stockings from Captain Hook, but changed out the robes and added a spray painted headband for a simple crown. (Hey, I only had so much time!)

 

STAR WARS

A Star Wars party was inevitable for our household, and Josiah claimed it first.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

Luke Skywalker:  Josiah wore an adult-sized tan hoodie as his robe, a cream color shirt/tunic, and tan pants with his white socks pulled up over them (Luke wears some kind of tall boot thing). Bubble wand sticks make easy light sabers.

Finn: Found this costume on clearance at Kohl’s and snatched it up. Easiest costume of the day.

Leia: I went with Princess Leia when she was on Hoth because the long white dress that we all usually think of was way NOT practical for a mom hosting a 3-year-olds birthday party. So, we went white turtle neck, white pants, white puffy vest, grey snow boots, braided hair, and a Dollar Store blaster gun. Pew- pew!

Han Solo: Of course Brad had to be the Han to my Leia, so I found a black vest that looked more utilitarian, a cream color shirt, put a red-tape stripe down his jean legs, and made a cardboard belt buckle.

Chewbacca: Even our dog Vinny got to dress up. I was looking for a way to make a gun belt for him when I noticed that some shelf liner that we had had an interesting texture to it. I looped it over and pinned it together in a circle. He loved it. Hahahaha.

Since I was too pregnant to be Princess Leia from Hoth by the time the fall festival came around, I switched up my costume a tad. I found this silly “That’s No Moon” Star Wars Maternity t-shirt, and my boys stayed with their original costumes.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

This is the only family picture we got that night.


 

PJ MASKS

Our most recent costume party was Josiah’s PJ Masks birthday. He was super excited to be CatBoy.

10 Homemade Family Costume Ideas & How We Made Them - Life in Lape Haven. Our family has done theme birthday parties and dress up a lot in the last 5 years. Here are ten fairly easy, inexpensive, and fun family theme costumes for parents and children.

CatBoy: We found his mask on Etsy, and it was adorable and the same price as a hard plastic one from the stores. For his costume, he had a pair of pajamas from Christmas that you can draw on, so I drew the CatBoy emblem and a few stripes.

Gekko: For Elijah’s Gekko costume, I used felt and some spray adhesive for the logo, and then we added some green spray to his hair.

Owlette: Hello, red cape! You’ve been around a while. 🙂 I also used my red super hero mask and glued it to a red feather mask I’ve had forever.

Romeo: Brad got to be our villain again, and the boys thought it was especially fitting since Daddy already had the streaks of gray in his hair like the cartoon bad guy. We purchased a lab coat (that Brad later used at our Maker Fun Factory VBS), and I pulled some cleaning gloves out from under the kitchen sink.

Ninjalino: Since Isaiah was so tiny, Josiah decided that he should be one of the small Ninjalinos that work with the Night Ninja. Thankfully, we had a long-sleeve romper with a hoodie with some navy blue on it.

 

So, there you go. Ten costume themes from our family in the last 5 years. 

 

Now to decide what we’ll be doing next…Any suggestions?

 

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Tried It Tuesday: How to Dye Dry Pasta

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring for our vacation Bible school Maker Fun Factory and the tips I learned through the experience.

This year our church’s Vacation Bible School was one of my favorite themes ever.

“Maker Fun Factory” was a very hands-on curriculum all about how we’ve been “created by God and built for a purpose.” Throughout the week, the kids were encouraged to be creative and inventive as they learned Bible points and stories focused on knowing God has a plan for each of us. 

As a member of the VBS Preschool Team, I helped in the planning and preparations, and in the process I got to try out something I’ve wanted to do with my boys for a while: DYING DRY PASTA.

(And I got to try it out thoroughly as I dyed 6 boxes worth of pasta! :))

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring and the tips I learned through the experience.

This dyed pasta was used for crafts, such as bracelets and picture frames and robot decorations, but you can also use the pasta for fun sensory bins or boxes, too. And while we only needed wheel-shapes that mimicked gears for our Maker Fun Factory theme, you can dye any size or shape of pasta that you want, all with this same simple technique.

Having never dyed pasta before I volunteered to do it, I had to get my Pinterest research on, and then make sure that I didn’t mess it up.

What I found was that there are lots of pins about dying pasta, but not many of them give you very specific details on how to do it. So, as I was undertaking this task, I made sure to get the details for you. (You’re welcome.)

HOW TO DYE DRY PASTA
What You Need:

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring for our vacation Bible school Maker Fun Factory and the tips I learned through the experience.

Pasta – As I mentioned, you can use any type, size, or shape of pasta. Larger pasta noodles might require a little more liquid & coloring, though.

Food Coloring – For ours, I did 9 (yes, 9) different colors. We had a rainbow of options. I used your standard food colorings of red, yellow, blue, and green, in addition to the neon options of bright pink, purple, teal, and neon green. Then I also combined red & yellow for a fun orange.

Distilled Vinegar – You can also use Rubbing Alcohol, but since little kids like to put things in their mouths, I went with vinegar.

Plastic zip-top bags – Since I was going to be making so many batches of pasta, I designated a bag for each color. If you are only doing a few, you could try to use one bag for similar colors (For example, do yellow, then orange).

Baking sheets or trays – You’ll need to let the pasta dry after you dye it, so make sure you have enough trays ready to spread out the pasta.

Parchment paper or wax paper (optional) – You can line your baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. This just helps with clean up and transferring the dried, dyed pasta into storage bags.

 

What You Do:

1.  Mix Up Your Coloring.

Put 2 Tbsp. of Vinegar into you zip-top bag. *TIP: I used our napkin holder to support the bag so it was easier to add each item.

Add in at least 10 drops of your color. I found that for a brighter color, especially with the darker shades, I used up to 30-40 drops. (If I used 30 drops or more of color, I also used an additional tablespoon of vinegar to help get the pasta covered well.)

2. Add Your Pasta

I used 2 cups of pasta for each color. Pour that in on top of your coloring in the bag.

3. Mix It All Together

Seal up the bag, making sure to get most of the air out of it. Then shake, squish (lightly), and massage pasta in the bag to thoroughly coat it in the color. This can take a little while, especially if your pasta has some nooks and crannies. This is a great job to allow your little helpers to do.

4. Let It Set

Lay out the bag of pasta as flat as possible, and let it set for about 10 minutes or so. Be careful of letting it set TOO LONG – pasta sitting in liquid will start to get gummy and soft after a while. Flip it over a time or two during that time so that the liquid isn’t just on one part of the pasta.

5. Dry It Out

Carefully pour your pasta out onto the parchment –lined baking sheet(s), spreading it out into one layer. This part can take some time, as you want to avoid having the pasta pieces touching. Then set the baking sheets up and out of the way or outside to dry. Depending on how warm or humid the day is, your pasta should dry within 20-30 minutes. Give the trays a little shake every so often to help keep the pasta from sticking to the paper. *CAUTION: Beware of curious pets eating your pasta if you have it where they can get to it…such as outside on the ground. I speak from experience and from having lost half of my blue and pink pasta batches to a curious Labradoodle.

6. Store It /Use It

Once it is COMPLETELY dry, you can transfer the pasta to a zip-top bag or a lidded container until you are ready to use it. Store it somewhere cool and dry. (One of the ladies at church stored some in her car for a few hours…in the middle of summer…and it got really soft and squishy.)

Need ideas for what to do with your pretty dyed pasta? Honestly, your kids will probably come up with some amazing ideas on their own, but if you need a place to start, here are some fun pasta projects:

WHAT WILL YOU MAKE WITH YOUR DYED PASTA?


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A Review of Roseanna White’s A NAME UNKNOWN

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.

When my family went on vacation this summer, we went through Maryland, and when I saw a certain Maryland city on the map as we planned our journey, I got kind of nerdily excited.

What’s in that town in Maryland, you ask?

Actually, it’s the “who” that made the town remarkable to me.

Okay…so who’s in Maryland, you ask?

Only one of my favorite Christian fiction authors, Roseanna White.

Having been a fan of hers for a while, following her on social media, and since the beginning of my blog back in 2015, having been privileged enough to get to review her last 4 book releases (I’ve even interviewed her twice), it was kind of special to get to at least drive through her hometown.

Then at the last minute, when we realized that we’d be near that city around dinner time, I knew exactly who to ask for restaurant recommendations. Knowing how nice and very approachable she has always been, I sent off a quick message to Roseanna via Facebook, letting her know my family was in the area.

Always gracious, Roseanna responded sooner than I expected, with her family’s favorite place in town: an Italian restaurant located in an old farmhouse that was once used as a Civil War hospital…because really, what would you expect from a historical writer, right? 🙂 (The food was AAAMAZING, by the way – delicious wood-fired pizza!)

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.

(By the way, this post contains affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you use the links.)

My little episode of fangirling was especially amusing to me later, when I started reading Roseanna’s newest release and the first in her “Shadows Over England” series, A Name Unknown, which features an author as one of the main characters, taking us into his dual world of reality and imagination and the normal and not-so-normal life he leads.

You know, “stars, they’re just like us,” and all that.

But before I get too far along into my thoughts on her latest book, here’s the back cover summary for you:

“Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she’s offered the challenge of a lifetime – whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all, how does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown – so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his door pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth – about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.”

As always, Roseanna gives us an intriguing and unique plot helmed by realistic, engaging characters, and Rosemary and Peter are two of the most charming yet. While the book moves at a slightly slower pace than some of her other stories and is longer, pagewise, than most, Roseanna’s initial “foundation-laying” for the characters is something you’ll appreciate as the book moves along.

Peter Holstein has an immediate vulnerability with a stutter that has left him insecure and guarded around people, but not unfriendly or unkind. His relationship with God has given him an inner strength that allows him to remain solid and secure in the storms he faces throughout the story.

I LOVED this quote early on in the book, where Peter is remembering his grandfather’s words, as he threw rocks over a cliff to the water below,

“They are like our prayers, ja? We send them out, and we cannot see, always, what they do. Once in a while we see their ripples. But more often we cannot. Still we pray. Because just like our logic tells us these rocks fall and gather and join the other rocks below, so our faith tells us our prayers whisper into God’s ears and gather and join the prayers of the other faithful. And His Word says the prayers of the faithful avail much.” 

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.

Peter may not feel like the dashing hero he longs to be, or like the one that he writes about, but his humble, giving heart draws Rosemary.

Rosemary Gresham herself is, as Peter describes her at one point, “delicate when it suits (her). Strong…always.” Growing up as a thief has taught her to be tough, wear a good mask, and to hide any vulnerability in order to survive. Despite that defense, she has a fierce protectiveness for her “family” and a desire to spare the younger ones experiences like her own. When Peter doesn’t fit the stereotypes and prejudices she expects from the wealthier of society, she has to learn to let her own guard down. Revealing her true self, though, means facing her past and her purpose for helping Peter to begin with.

As they develop a somewhat unlikely friendship (despite her goal and his secrets), the banter and humor they share is pretty adorable, blossoming sweetly as they find a shared mission.

As someone who has a difficult enough time just getting a simple blog written with the distractions of family life always present, it was delightful to see life through the eyes of an author – the things that inspired Peter, his living in two worlds, his frustration at being interrupted from his work before each word or idea is recorded.

I have a feeling that Roseanna may have pulled from her own real-life experiences as a writer just a little there. And I think that the story within the story – Peter’s book – should become a companion novella for this book.

However, my favorite aspect of A Name Unknown was Rosemary’s gentle heart change, brought about by the example in the everyday life of a man quietly living what he believes.  Roseanna White always weaves the spiritual journey of her characters so well and so convictingly that her words become ministry in the midst of a great read.

I’m fairly certain Peter’s words sum it up nicely,

“…Perhaps by changing himself he could cause a greater change, too. That had always been his hope, his prayer. That the Lord could somehow use both his shortcomings and his gifts to make others better. Stronger. More faithful.”

A Name Unknown is another wonderful offering of Roseanna’s gifts that I know the Lord will use and one that you’ll enjoy as well.

(And thanks, again, Roseanna, for your dinner recommendations for my family. That was ministry as well.)

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.


A Name Unknown is now available at any of your favorite booksellers. Or you can download it on your Kindle or Kindle app to begin reading it RIGHT AWAY! 🙂 

And watch for Book 2 in her “Shadows Over England” series, A Song Unheard, coming out January 2, 2018.

Thank you, Roseanna  and Bethany House Publishing for another great book and the chance to be an advanced reader, again! While I received a copy of  A Name Unknown in exchange for my honest opinion, you know that my endorsement of the book is based solely on how much I loved it. 

More about Roseanna White 

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring.

Being educated at St. John’s College (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict.

You can follow her website and blog and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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