Homemade Halloween Party

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I love fall. Not only is it my favorite season, birther of my favorite flavor (yes it’s pumpkin, yes I’m a simple beech), and bringer of ALL the cute fall clothes, it’s also the season of my favorite holiday! HALLWEEN

I’ve loved Halloween for as long as I can remember: the costumes, the mystical and magical night, the lore, the trick-or-treating, and the spookiness of it all just hit home for me. So when Covid-19 changed our usual plans with the kids for 2020, I figured it was the perfect time to stitch it up and try out some recipes and crafts I’d been wanting to give a go.

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Growing up I used to have Halloween parties every so often, but it had been a REALLY long time sine my last one. Like I was in junior high…..and I graduated high school in 2010 . Needless to say, I was overdue for some stylish Halloween themed fun!

Below are the links to the recipes I used and a pic of how it all turned out! (The shrunken heads are in the pumpkin bowl). The kids really loved helping and my husband was impressed with my mad spooky skills. Even if it wasn’t enjoyed by all our loved ones, it was a really fun experience. 12/10 would totally do again!

Poisoned Candy Apples by Wanna Bite

Candy Corn Parfaits by Suburbia Unwrapped

Pumpkin Deviled Eggs by myrecipes

Mummy Hot Dogs by Homemade Interest

Shrunken Head Apples for Cider by Lasso The Moon

Bat Tortilla Chips by Sainsbury’s

Spider Web Bean Dip by cook2eatwell

Jack-o-lantern Puff Bags and Fruit Cups by Alpha Mom

I had a lot of fun experimenting and putting this together. Everything was fairly simple and easy to accomplish. Can’t wait until next year to do some more!

Backyard & Garden Make-Over Series: Part 1

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and terms and conditions here. Please use common sense and follow all safety and manufacture instructions when using any crafting equipment in your own home. Use these at your own risk, Method-To-Madness does not assume any liability for injuries or damages caused by attempting the DIY crafts listed on our site nor are we responsible for any medical costs associated with injuries.

We’ve lived in our house for coming up on 5 years and for whatever reason I’m just now getting around to re-doing the landscape and putting in some structures for our backyard. I guess I’m the kind of person who has to sit on an idea for a bit before I pursue such a large project. Because once this stuff is in I don’t wanna take it out! I don’t like wasting hours and effort (mine or my husbands) when doing projects, I like being productive and not have to undo something 5 times because I didn’t plan it well enough in the first place.

There was originally black lava rock over this dirt with some very shabby weed barrier beneath it. This is after we cleared those things out.

Anywho, here we are half a decade later with actual plans for a total make-over of our yard! We’ve planted veggies and flowers in the past but mainly just scattered the seeds about and hoped for the best. We got pumpkins, like 5 green beans, a few lettuce leaves….aaaand that was about it! Our blueberries never produced, my herbs just didn’t take off (except for mint, that stuff spreads like wildfire), and the cantalope never got past pollination. Sunflowers and borage did well along the back fence line where it gets full sun, but we have a lot of shade in our back yard, mainly where it’s scaped for an actual garden to be planted. The photo above and below you can see the rich soil and curbing, but all this is totally in shade all day!

You can see these areas were all covered in lava rock originally, which is great for reducing water usage but I was sick of them landing in our grass and wanted something more enjoyable to look at.

We had used some lava rock to make a border around the fence line (because frankly the fence was falling down but our landlord was waiting for the weather to perk up) but that just interfered with mowing. The large wood planks were up against the house in an attempt to keep the dirt and water away from the vents…..it didn’t work as well as the inventor had planned. They were quite rotted in places which you never want near your home.

In my next edition to this series I’ll show the progress we made and the ideas I had for our yard!

This was the first of many steps in our gardening journey. Follow for more!

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 3-The Calm Down Corner *Plus Bonus Craft!*

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

This is chapter 3 of the series Parenting a Person With ADHD. If you haven’t already, please read the prologue, chapter 1, and chapter 2 so you are up to speed on the information.

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Creating a calm down corner was one of my favorite things about the changes we made. We specifically made the calm down toys ourselves so it became a craft, rather than a chore or forced activity. It put a positive spin on a calming place and set the tone for how we wanted the area to function. It was also a good bonding activity for myself and my son to do together.

Calm Down Corner Craft

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We did 2 different themed bottles: one with water and oil and glitter; the other with water, water absorbing polymer beads, and glitter. For both, the water was colored with food dye. My son picked the colors of glitter and water because it’s important to include your child throughout the process of making changes in the household. That way they feel like their voice is still being heard and they are able to exert some control. Allowing him choices in a controlled setting shows him he does have power over his choices, which is a skill in and of itself!

Directions: add your water to the bottles then color it, shake with lid on to mix. Fill the bottles with water about half way for the oil one and 3/4 for the other. Add your glitter to each bottle. We did about 2 Tbsp in each, but add as much or as little as you like. Then add your oil to the one bottle and your polymer beads to the other. For the oil bottle leave a little bit of space for air. For the polymer beads add 5 at a time and allow to fully absorb the water. We ultimately added like 20 beads and topped off the water once we were done. Then use the super glue on the inside screw threads of each lid, tighten the lids on and allow to dry per manufacturer instructions before you play with them.

We keep these bottles in the calm down corner and they are only allowed to be played with if you are there. It helps to keep them feeling “special” while you’re in the calm down corner.

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We also hung up some pages from his therapist, like a thermometer of how high your emotion was that landed you in the calm down corner and of the S.T.O.P. skill (I’ll do a post about that soon). Here’s a different emotion chart that helps kids learn what emotion they are feeling.

The other big factor about the calm down corner is that it’s chosen by the child. We offer our son the option to go to the calm down corner when we see him beginning to get upset. He chooses to go of his own free will or not. If he doesn’t go, he usually gets more upset and makes choices that land him in time-out….which is by our appointing, not his.

This little action of letting kids pick their own consequence goes a long way. Plus it teaches children how to start self regulating their own emotions (which is a challenge for most kids, let alone one’s with behavioral struggles). When they are in the calm down corner, they decide when they are ready to come back to the activity at hand.

Occasionally (and when starting out) you’ll have to send them back because they weren’t actually ready to return to the activity at hand; they’re still too wound up but that’s just part of the process-it becomes sort of a natural consequence.

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Also, time-outs are used as a last resort and a no tolerance tool. Meaning that if my child does something that is absolutely unacceptable-like hitting, spitting, back-talking, breaking or throwing things, ect-he gets put directly to time-out and I decide for how long. We keep the rule of 1 minute per year of age starting at 2 years and that seems to work fine for us.

For most kids, you can explain briefly why they are there and that you will get them when their time is done. For my child I have to say nothing, any talking with him becomes a form of engagement in his eyes. I don’t want to reinforce that he gets my attention while in time-out so he gets the silent treatment or the one phrase treatment. “Go to time-out”, I say it once. If he squawks, I go put him to the garage which is right next to our time-out area.

This works like a sort of reset button for him, similar to the calm down corner. He decides when he’s ready to come back in and finish his time-out but if he keeps making poor choices he’ll keep being sent to the garage. It then gets put on him to manage his emotions to get out of time-out. Same thing for when he used to try to leave time-out; I physically and silently go get him and put him back. For as many times as it takes…..I’m glad he doesn’t do that anymore. The garage upgrade seemed to fix that.

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Retraining kids on what is expected and tolerated is tough work. But the right tools and planning can make it a lot smoother. Giving them the opportunity to try again with a calming environment they can go to helps them to seek out space when they need it and redirect their our emotions in a positive way.

Next time on Parenting a Person With ADHD: Deep Breathing and Other Tools

DIY Upcycled Key Catch Tutorial!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and terms and conditions here. Please use common sense and follow all safety and manufacture instructions when using any crafting equipment in your own home. Use these at your own risk, Method-To-Madness does not assume any liability for injuries or damages caused by attempting the DIY crafts listed on our site nor are we responsible for any medical costs associated with injuries.

I’m gonna step out on a (real thin) limb here and say I hate purses. I hate having to stuff all my stuff into a petite bag and huck it around on my shoulder every which where I go for the day, screwing up my posture all the while. But I also don’t like spreading all my things across the table or countertops; where I misplace them or my kid will grab and take off with them.

I need somewhere to hold my few items that I actually NEED; something that’s not going to become a Mary Poppins bag of wonders in a week! So I decided to turn an old bread pan into a catch all! It’s the perfect size for all my junk: sunglasses, wallet, keys. It even holds my sunscreen in case I forgot to apply some earlier! Check out how I made it below!

Also here’s the list of supplies to make your own!

My husband drilled two holes in one of the long sides of the bread pan about halfway between the top edge and bottom; large enough for a screw to fit through and hold snuggly to the wall.
You can admire his fine craftsman ship from the drill and my *ehem* very fine paint job
This was after a few coats to give a good solid base. Ugh I’m so sloppy when I paint, but I wasn’t worried about perfection since I knew I was adding more layers with texture.
This thing was pretty beat up before but that’s what makes it the perfect upcycle project!
Here I used a sponge brush to add some darker hued blue and texture, blending it near the center to soften the lines.
I took some metallic bronze paint and thin brush to create that sort of marble cracked look. *Bonus-kitty photo bomb!
Another angle so you can see the shine (and my cluttered craft desk, yikes!)
Pictured here but done before the flowers, I splattered some metallic paint around to give a speckled appearance. These are the 2 types of brushes I used to paint the white flowers you now see on the pan. I pressed gently and overlapped a lot to create the petals, blending a bit here and there. Notice how I hid that little metal spot *proud grins*
Here’s the full front after all the flowers were painted on. I only did flowers on the front since that was the main part exposed and well…I’m lazy
Ta-da! Finished product! I experimented with a few pink colors on a paper plate until I got the hue I was after then blended it delicately at the center of the flowers with the thin brush I used to do the metallic lines.
After the pink dried, I used the same brush to do the dark yellow centers, lines, and dots. Then accented with small lines of black near or on the yellow stem lines.
Finally once everything was dry and set, I did 2 layers of mod podge to seal and protect it. You can see it’s not perfect in some spots but I’m not selling or gifting it so I could really care less. It’s pretty and does a great job catching all my stuff right at the door!

And there you go! Super easy to do, and you have total creative freedom for what you paint! Share yours in the comments!

DIY Themed Kids Room: Ocean Edition

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and terms and conditions here. Please use common sense and follow all safety and manufacture instructions when using any crafting equipment in your own home. Use these at your own risk, Method-To-Madness does not assume any liability for injuries or damages caused by attempting the DIY crafts listed on our site nor are we responsible for any medical costs associated with injuries.

So after tackling my older son’s bedroom(this will eventually be linked to that post), I decided to go with the ocean theme for our little’s nursery. It was sentimental to both my husband and I and I had a lot of creative juices flowing over from my previous exposé. I went with a lot more simple ideas because well…I was growing a human inside my body and had no business being on a ladder. So instead, we purchased some cute but realistic wall stickers that my son helped me place. And we framed some pretty prints that we bought, I can no longer find the exact prints but here’s some really cute ones and here’s some frames similar to the ones we used. We also got some 3-D wall art, a sail boat for the shelf, and a beach themed wall hanger to add some texture to the room. My personal favorite was this mermaid and merbaby picture. It hangs over his changing table. It’ll be a keepsake when I’m old and gray.

My mom also found at a thrift store, two really cute framed prints that sort of had a “Rainbow Fish” vibe to them. But the room still felt incomplete. I had seen some DIY light up jelly fish lamps that could hang over the crib but I worried that as he grew he would likely climb up to reach them and could get hurt (I was right he was a climber!). Plus I wasn’t sure about having the lights on all the time in his room (an issue I faced with battery operated lights in my older son’s cloud lamp). So instead I opted to make a jellyfish of my own design, one that had no light source but sticks on the wall completely, with the tentacles secured up and out of the way. I happened to also have some seashell fabric that I was DYING to use and this was a perfect project for the texture it created.

I ultimately did this project after I had given birth, I do NOT recommend doing it while pregnant because you will need a ladder to get it up high enough.

So I gathered my materials and set to work.

I included links to materials I thought would work well. However, all of my materials I found at the thrift store. If you’re interested, go in the linens section because you can find great fabric for cheap! Brand new fabric off the bolt is extremely overpriced in my opinion; plus what better way to find other uses for all those textiles that humans have been wearing and tossing for decades. Why not repurpose some things into decor you love!

I’d say ribbon would work best for the highly textured tentacles and seriously, drapes at a thrift store are like one of the best purchases you can make. I’ll post some more drape projects later . Go for the white or pale colored semi sheer as you want the sort of translucent effect jelly’s have naturally. The solid material will be under the sheer fabric on the body. You could even skip this step but I found the top fabric didn’t drape quite right unless it had some additional substance beneath it. Plus you can adjust your color scheme with the solid fabric. I did blue hues: the tentacles were white/light blue and cream, and the body was vibrant dark blue with cream overlay. I recommend you play around with the layering a lot to get a feel for how your end product will look.

Once you’ve decided on colors and layering, start cutting. You’ll need roughly a 18×8 rectangle of solid fabric and 20×20 square of sheer fabric for the body. Don’t worry about the measurements or the cut being perfect, you won’t see the edges when you’re done. Staple the solid fabric loosely in a sort of oblong rounded shape (think how a jellyfish body looks). Don’t pull the fabric tight, you want slack so you can play around with the draping. Next, take the top of your sheer square and fold it under about 1/4 inch so the edge is rounded. Staple the fabric to the wall so that it surrounds the solid fabric in an overlay sort of fashion. Keep rolling the edge of the sheer fabric under as you work your way around the jellyfish body. Remember: dome like shape with soft, rounded edges. NOTE: Either leave the bottom open or leave larger spaces to get your hands through for adjusting the fabrics and for placing the tentacles! Once you have your outline done, begin draping and stapling the center of the body fabric to your liking. You’re going for a flowy under water look, so focus on creating soft rounded texture.

Next, cut your tentacles from your 2 (or more) fabrics/ribbons. I did roughly 18-24 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. I had a total of 9 tentacles. You want them longer because you will be folding and stapling sections to add movement and texture, therefore shortening your fabric. Please note how high your lowest tentacle is! You do not want your child to be able to reach the lowest tentacle, keep it at least 4-6 inches away from their grasp. Should they get ahold of it, they could pull the fabric and the staples would come out potentially causing a hazard to your child. Be cautious and aware!

Once you have your pieces, take them one at a time and tuck one end under the bottom of your jellyfish body, stapling it in place. Remember to fold the fabric of the jellyfish body so it keeps the rounded edge. I did my bottom of the jelly sort of wavy too to help blend and create a more natural look. Then work your way down the tentacle draping, curving, and shaping as you please to create movement. I also did mine with a slight angle so it appears that the jelly is moving. Continue this method until all the tentacles are in place and you are pleased with your end result!

Show me your jelly pictures!

Next DIY will be…


Cloth Wipes, Plus DIY Wipe Solution

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Maybe you cloth diaper and want to use cloth wipes as well. Or maybe you use “Family Cloth” and need a solution to create a wet wipe for personal use. Either way making a DIY solution to spray onto your fabric pieces is a great way to create the multi-purpose efficiency of traditional wet wipes without the environmental toll of disposables. If you’re unsure about the sanitation of reusable cloth, you can read more about it here.

I’ve been cloth diapering for over a year now and we also use cloth wipes. But we didn’t always. I am not ashamed to admit that I used (and still use when traveling, and washing just isn’t an option) disposable wipes and diapers when my littlest was brand new. I was well aware of how much time I would no longer have and I didn’t want to be stuck washing so many times in a week just to make it through the newborn-3 month old phase. Plus we certainly didn’t have the budget to buy newborn and one-size diapers, because apparently one-size isn’t exactly what it sounds like. So we opted to wait until he was roughly 4 months old and his urinary patterns changed to less frequently and with a little more volume.

At that time, my husband (bless him) convinced me that we should just continue using disposable wipes to lessen the workload on me that had already increased by doing cloth diapers. I agreed, and disposable wipes worked for time. Until the pandemic hit. And both diapers and wipes were a scarce commodity all over. I was so pleased with myself that we cloth diapered and didn’t endure the struggle so many other parents did, but I had to become self-reliant in the wipes (and toilet paper) department, FAST.

So I hunted down some older, but still in good shape towels and burp cloths, pulled out my fabric shears and got to cutting! I created more than enough for my little guy and myself from just a items laying around the house that were close to being turned into garage rags (because convincing my husband he has enough of those is a battle I’ll never win). We each ended up with roughly 40 wipes (probably more). Being the only female with 2 legs in my household presented its own problems during the pandemic so I resorted to cloth wipes as well; aka “Family Cloth” but I’m the only one using them.

I found that I preferred cloth for both myself and my little guy. He stopped getting these weird rashy dots that the doctor said presented sort of like eczema but looked very different from my older son’s eczema rashes. As soon as we started using our own wipes and solution those red dots were gone! And he seemed to be more comfortable during diaper changes as well. He cried less during them which made me really wonder if those disposable wipes had been perhaps stinging his skin. I will likely never know for fact.

At this point, I don’t see us going back to toilet paper or disposables ever! It saves a ton of money and produces less of a carbon footprint than TP too.

DIY Wipe Solution Recipe

Add the coconut oil to the hot water and stir until melted. Then add in the soap and stir gently until dissolved. Try not to make big bubbles. Optional: add in 2-3 drops of essential oils, such as lavender or eucalyptus. Avoid this step if your child is under 4 months of age or has extremely sensitive skin. I personally skip this step. After all ingredients are mixed well, pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use.

Note: if the coconut oil makes little clumps or a layer in the bottle don’t worry. Just shake it up vigorously and those will melt once they come into contact with the warmth from your babies skin. Also we use Puracy for both baby shampoo and lotion, we love the products and the company.