Columbus Day Craft Activities for the Whole Family

Celebrating Columbus Day with crafts can be a lot of fun. Below are some craft ideas for various ages.

1. Boats

Boats (or, more accurately, ships) are a natural - both for Columbus Day and craft projects. There are quite a few ways you can make a model sailing ship of the type Columbus sailed; here are ideas for a few.

* Egg cartons are the basis for all kinds of crafts, including mini ships! For several small ships (remember the fleet of three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria), you can cut the egg carton's segments into individual cups. Put floral foam into each cup. You could also use regular Styrofoam, or anything light that will hold up a toothpick.

Then, use toothpicks and paper to create sails - glue toothpicks to squares of white paper. Stick the toothpick sails into the foam inside the cups. If you are using foam egg cartons, you can float your little ships on water. If you use cardboard cartons, you can still float your ships but they will soften after a while.

Try having a boat race using your homemade sailing ships, a wading pool, and a fan!

* Egg cartons have a lid, too, and that can also be made into a ship. Simply turn it open-side-up and fill it with floral foam (or equivalent). Use popsicle sticks or shish kabob skewers to hold the sails rather than toothpicks. You can race these larger ships, too, and you can add as little or as much detail as you like. If you use cardboard, you can paint them.

You could combine these craft ideas and make the larger ship to be the Santa Maria, and the smaller ones that you made from the carton cups could be the Nina and Pinta. It's known that the Santa Maria was the biggest of the three actual ships.

2. Maps

Making maps can be fun. Use the brown paper from used paper shopping bags, or some other antique-looking paper. Then create a map showing Columbus's route from Europe to South America. These can be illustrated elaborately or simply.

Check your local library or the internet for a detailed description of Columbus's route. Once your maps are finished, you can put them up on the walls or laminate them with clear contact paper and use them for display or as placemats (placemaps?).

3. Queen for a Day

Kids enjoy dressing up, so why not dress up as Queen Isabella? Research the fashions of the era, and find out how the Queen dressed. Use cardboard, glitter, and sequins to make a crown such as 16th-century Queens might have worn. Dowels can be coated with glitter and wound with ribbon to create scepters.

Sesame Street Hairbow

I have never been much of a characters fan. I have always been that mom that said NO to the Dora tennis shoes.  GASP! I know! How could I do that?

I came across this bow today in a shop on Etsy called Polka Dotz and Pigtailz and thought it was so precious! This is a character item I would actually let my daughter wear!

You can also become a FAN of Polka Dotz and Pigtailz on Facebook!

Celebrating Columbus Day with Your Family

Columbus Day is not a holiday that needs to languish in obscurity. You can celebrate this historic event with your family. After all, don't we all love an excuse for a party? Here are some ideas for celebrating the traditional "discovery" of America in 1492.

Eat Italian and Spanish Foods

Columbus was a native of Genoa, Italy; his famous voyage was funded by Queen Isabella of Spain. Some of the most wonderful cuisine in the world originates from this part of the world. And much of it is enjoyed by children and adults alike. Try Spanish rice and chicken, or a traditional paella dish. Lasagna, spaghetti, and other pasta dishes are versatile and widely enjoyed.  


Why not make miniature versions of Columbus's ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria? You don't have to build a delicate ship model with all kinds of intricate parts (but of course, you can if you like!); depending on the age ranges in your family, you can make simple ship models from paper cups, egg carton segments, or the smooth tops of egg cartons. If you use the foam ones, your boats will be waterproof.

Paper, cloth, craft foam, or thin cardboard can be used to make simple sails for the ships, held up by toothpicks. Fill a bowl with water and float your ships; or set down a mirror, blue or clear plate, or blue paper and use your creations on the table as a centerpiece.

If you make waterproof ships using craft foam or foam egg cartons, you can "launch" them across a child's pool. You could even race them! If your kids like science, you can talk about and demonstrate how wind moves the ships by pushing against the sails. Use a compass, and discuss how Columbus had to navigate his ships using the stars, sun, moon, and wind direction.

Community Events

See if there are any community events taking place in your area. Parades are traditional Columbus Day celebrations; see if your family can attend one, or watch one on TV. There might be a play or re-enactment being put on, too, perhaps presented at your local theater or as an outdoor drama.

Explore and Discover

Since it's celebrated on the second Monday in October, the weather is often beautiful on Columbus Day. Depending on what part of the country you live in, there may be spectacular fall colors in your area. Or you can take a fall foliage trip with the family. You could take a special hike to look for new and interesting natural formations, locations, or views.

Visit somewhere you've never been. Just make sure you have the spirit of exploration and discovery, and your Columbus Day celebration will be right on target!

How to Avoid Aches after Your Workout

If you've ever felt the soreness of post-workout muscles, you know how painful it can be. Some experts say that this pain is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle that occur when you ask your body to do something new or more strenuous than usual.

Other sources point out the role of lactic acid in muscle soreness - this by-product of cellular respiration can settle into the muscles during the hours following a workout, setting the stage for muscle pain.

How can you avoid this crippling feeling after working out? Here are some ideas on how to reduce muscle pain after exercising.


Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout helps your body flush out those by-products your body produces as a result of burning energy.

Slow Start-Up Cool-Down

It may help your muscles to start and stop your workout gradually. If you jump right into intense muscle strain, it could produce more damage than if you warm up with cardio exercises first.

Stopping exercise abruptly may not be good, either - if you work your muscles intensely, and then go sit on the couch, your blood - loaded with all kinds of microscopic by-products from your workout - may "pool" or stagnate in your muscles. Since the blood vessels remain dilated for some time after a workout, say experts, having a cool-down period where you walk gently and keep your muscles moving should greatly minimize the next-day soreness.

Calcium and Magnesium

These minerals are crucial for muscle integrity. Taking a calcium and magnesium supplement daily is recommended to prevent muscle soreness - you might want to increase your intake of these minerals on the days you work out by eating foods with lots of magnesium and calcium: black beans, dark leafy greens, and low-fat dairy products, for example.


As part of your warm-up and cool-down, include stretching. This oft-repeated advice is easy to forget, but it's considered very important for preventing pain after your workout. At the beginning of your session, stretching preps the muscles for a more strenuous workout by increasing flexibility and circulation. At the end of your workout, stretching helps relax tense muscles and keep circulation moving.

Take a Cold Shower

Okay, maybe it doesn't actually need to be cold - but cooling your muscles down after a workout might help prevent muscles soreness, say some sources. While most of us think of heat to relax muscles, cold is said to reduce inflammation, and inflammation is the culprit in muscle soreness that results from muscle damage. A bath or shower in water as cold as you can stand may help keep your muscles from becoming swollen and sore.  

Fabulous Freebie: Free Olay Products

This wonderful Olay product does wonders for your acne troubled skin! This is a three step Acne fighting system that cleanses your pores, clears up breakouts, brings acne under control, while also hydrating and renewing your complexion.

Fabulous Freebie: Free Beauty Bag

Hurry over to the Target sample site and request your FREE Beauty Bag! :) Now you can continue to be an oh so swanky mom for *FREE*. :) 

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Fabulous Freebie: Free JIFFY Recipe Book

To request yours, just fill out a short form on the JIFFY Web site. You will then receive an e-mail comfirmation from JIFFY and have to click on the link in the e-mail to confirm your request. You can also view the recipe book online on the right side of the order page of the JIFFY Web site.

Speaking of Apples...

Doing my daily Etsy browse, I came across these fabulous apples from a shop called The Atomic Apple.


Don't they look absolutely delicious? So if you aren't in the mood to take advantage of the delicious apple recipes from my previous post just check out The Atomic Apple for your apple fix! :) 

Delicious Apple Recipes

It's apple season! Sometimes nature provides us with an abundance of apples, and it can be hard to know what to do with all that bounty. Here are some apple recipes to give you some ideas.

1. Dried Apples

For generations, people have preserved their apple harvest by drying them. The results can be eaten out of hand, baked into pies, or soaked in water and cooked to make dried apple sauce. Here's how to dry apples:

Core apples and slice them into rings (cross-wise). Place slices into a mixture of 1 quart water, 1 quart pineapple juice, and 1/4 cup lemon juice; let soak for 5 minutes. Then place apple slices on cheesecloth-covered window screens, and cover slices with more cheesecloth.

Place in the sun for two or three days, bringing the window screens in at night. It's a good idea to place the screens on bricks or blocks so that air can circulate beneath the fruit.

When apple slices are dry (they will be leathery but pliable), store them in zip-top bags. Before placing them on the shelf, some sources recommend putting the dried apple slices in the freezer for several days to kill any bugs or their eggs.

2. Applesauce

This is a good recipe when you have too many apples, because it takes so many apples to make only a small amount of sauce! If you have a crockpot, this is especially easy. If not, you can simmer it on the stove instead.

In your crockpot, place 4 pounds of cored, chunked apples (peeling optional). Add 1/4 cup sugar (also optional) and 1 cup apple juice. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Pass through a sieve or food mill, or whirl in the blender to make it smooth.

To make apple butter, add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.

3. Dipped Whole Apples

Whether you use chocolate, nuts, caramel, or a combination of ingredients, whole apples dipped in sweet coating make good gifts, party foods, and fun snacks. Use tart apples such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady. Poke a wooden stick into the base of each apple, and dip into various coatings, such as:

* Melted semi-sweet and/or white chocolate, then rolled in chopped nuts or mini chips
* Caramel (melt caramel candies in a double boiler or make boiled caramel); then rolled in chopped nuts if desired
* Melted chocolate, then rolled in peanut butter chips
* Melted peanut butter chips, then rolled in mini chocolate chips and chopped peanuts

You can use your imagination for this one!

4. Apple Skillet Pancake

This cooks right in the skillet and makes one big, apple pancake to be shared among 3 or 4 people.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a blender, combine and whirl:
* 3 large eggs
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup flour
* 1/2 cup milk

Set aside.

In a 12-inch cast-iron (or ovenproof) frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over high heat. Stir in:
* 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice or brown sugar (lightly packed)
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix well, then stir in:
* 1 peeled, sliced apple, preferably a sweet variety such as Cameo or Fuji

Stir and cook until apple begins to soften. Then pour blender mixture into the pan and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes; top with powdered sugar.

Softbums Giveaway

I love freebies! Don't you? Well the blog Our Growing Garden is doing a Softbums Giveaway.

Its is of course free to enter and there are many different ways to enter! Simply visit Our Growing Garden for more details!

Smock Lovin' Moms

Are you a Smocked Lovin' Mom? Well there are no doubt a lot of you out there. Recently I stumbled across a fanpage on Facebook for Smocked Auctions.

Basically, you become a fan of their page and every Tuesday and Thursday night at 8:30CST the fun begins! Items are posted at a fixed price with the sizes that are available. Items are sold at a fixed price in a somewhat auction format. The first person to post to claim their size with paypal email address gets it! With over 30,000 fans it can get a little crazy sometimes! :) You can also find compete information on how to "bid" at their blog.

Become a fan today!

SALE: Lime Zebra Summer Jumper

I happen to have a slight addiction to a website called Etsy. I spend way too much time on this site. I recently came across a pretty fabulous Etsy shop called Lil Bug Clothing (I think it used to be called Sweet and Sassy Boutique based on the username but anyway... its Lil Bug Clothing now).
It is owned by a mother in California who is so incredibly talented! I love her designs and my little princess has a few of her outfits.
I came across this item in her etsy shop and OMG isn't it precious?

It happens to be on sale right now for the fabulous price of only $23.00! You can pretty much find an outfit for just about every occasion in her store. When you shop with her, be sure to tell her that the Swanky Moms Club sent you!

God is bigger than the boogy man!

I love Facebook. I spend entirely too much time on there but really it is how I keep up with everything! Local events, news worth knowing about, etc. I love the fact that it will show you what your status update was "this day" the previous year. I looked today and last year my status update today was...

"So Collin and Noah are in the backseat and Collin starts crying... Noah looks over and starts singing "God is bigger than the boogy man, he's bigger than godzilla and the monsters on TV... oh God is bigger than the boogy man and he's watching out for you and me!!!" and Collin stops LOL"

I had completely forgotten about that. :-) When Collin was a baby (well he is still a baby to me), he use to love watching Veggie Tales and loved that little song. Whenever he would get upset, if you would sing that Veggie Tales song to him he would instantly stop crying. It was the cutest thing.

Hi! I'm Ciera, the face behind I live in Dothan, Alabama with my husband, three children and our mischievous dog Harley. To read more about me and my family just click the Meet Ciera tab at the top of the page! Thanks for stopping by and be sure to subscribe to our site using Google Connect (top left) or Networked Blogs (top right). Do you have something totally fabulous that you think is worth blogging about? Email me, I want to hear about it. Do you own a business? Check out how you can advertise with us!

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