DIY Busy Board Fun for Toddlers

Jenna has the baby of our entire family now (he’s the youngest of eight grandbabies for our parents), and it’s hard to believe he’s not a baby anymore. He is such a blessing, and pure joy – nothing can stop him from smiling.

Nine years ago, when we started having kids, we wish we had the knowledge that a quick stop to Home Depot could be the discovery of a DIY sensory activity for our kids that would last hours! Leo is the lucky one, because he got one of his very own.


Whether you call it a sensory board, an activity board or a busy board, it’s all the same thing that keeps toddlers busy for hours. It’s genius. It’s so engaging for kids, and good practice for their fine motor skills.

The full tutorial of our DIY Busy Board is on Momtastic. Check it out here. IMG_1601

DIY Backyard Jungle Obstacle Course for Momtastic


Jessica was lucky enough to work with Momtastic for a DIY Jungle Obstacle Course in celebration of Disney’s The Jungle Book release on Blu-Ray Aug. 30. The Jungle Book was one of our kid’s favorite movies this year, so it was really fun to transform our backyard into a jungle adventure.

One bonus obstacle (only seen here) for the course was our DIY honeycomb climb. In the movie, Mowgli had to climb a tall cliff side to get honey, nature’s ointment, for Baloo. Since honey is a bear necessity, we made our little man cub’s climb a diy rope to reach our 3D paper hive.

Here’s how we made it.




Step 1: Design and cut 3D honeycombs using a template online, or via Silhouette cutting machine (like we did). If 3D is too labor intensive for you, we get it – just cut standard honeycombs. Use different shades of yellow for texture.

Step 2: Glue all the sides of the hexagon together with a glue stick (if you opted for the 3D design).

Step 3: Draw a honeycomb shape similar to the hives in The Jungle Book on a foam core board and cut it out with an X-acto knife.

Step 4: Glue the honeycombs (hexagons) on the board with a hot glue gun to fit like a puzzle. We glued some facing forward and others flipped for some added texture.

Step 5: Cut out mini bees using a template online or an electronic cutting machine.

Step 6: Glue the bees onto the hive. For an added 3D effect, we glued one end of a small piece of wire onto the foam core and then a bee on the other end of the wire.

Step 7: Poke two holes on the top corners of the hive and hang with string from a tree.

As we mentioned, this was a bonus obstacle for the course – don’t miss the main DIY Jungle Obstacle Course here.




Photography by Pure Lee Photography

Shark and Mermaid Party


It’s that time of year again for Jessica’s family – that time when it feels like Christmas in July. All three kids celebrate birthdays in July, so not only is the month busy, but it’s really fun. She’s going to take us back to her Shark and Mermaid party, and the details she created…

Every year I to find a theme that will work for boys and girls, and this year, our trip to Florida inspired our fin and tail celebration.

Note: It wasn’t until shortly after we took photos of the party, when we realized the t and h were mixed up in the word birthday on the mermaid side. And, well, when guests arrived, we partied! We were so focused on details, we forgot to spell. The mistake was quickly fixed and the party went on.



Step 1: Create a shark backdrop. During a recent trip to Florida, the kids took photos in front of a cool Megalodon. Print the photo on an engineering print from Staples. Glue the photo on one of the large wood boards with the multi-purpose spray adhesive.

Think again before you order plates from Oriental Trading for just food, because they make the perfect waves for an ocean backdrop. Use a hot glue gun to glue plates on the bottom of the photo for an ocean wave effect. Start with the dark blue and then glue light blue plates on top of it. Layer until you reach the bottom of the photo.



Step 2: Create a mermaid backdrop. Draw and cut a mermaid tail on foam core, and then cover it with paint chips. I love these paint chips from Oriental Trading because there is a wide variety of colors, and no circle cutter necessary – they are perfect circles when they arrive. Once all the chips are glued in place, flip it over and use an X-acto knife to cut the edges of the paint chips along the fin tail shape. Glue the tail to the other piece of thin white wood board. Just like the shark backdrop, glue paper plates to make waves. Start at the top, and work your way down.



Step 3: Add tablecloths to each table. Layer three tablecloths on each side. Cut the bottom of each layer in waves, or scallops. Each layer should be visible.


Step 4: Accessorize the tables. Shark koozies and bubbles made for the perfect shark table accessories, plus they doubled as great party favors. Another fun detail on the table was a pint container filled with a t-shirt, and topped with a blue paper shark. The shark’s edges were sealed with hot glue, but before it was totally sealed, it was filled with swedish fish. All boys had to do was rip, eat and enjoy!

For the mermaids, the table was set with pink cups with shells glued in the center, DIY seashell crowns (also a party favor), DIY shell and bead necklaces, a plush mermaid and cupcakes with tails. To make the DIY seashells crowns, use a hot glue gun to glue shells on crowns from Oriental Trading. Play with the shells and design the crowns of your mermaid dreams.









Step 5: Decorate the entire party area. Hang pom poms, fish nets and happy birthday banners.


Step 6: Play games. Aside from all the pool fun, set up a fishbowl game. Set up plastic cups in cascading order, 8, 7, 6, 5 and so on. Fill them with water, and then set a prize inside each cup. The cups at our party were filled with seashells and mini shark toys. Draw a line on the ground several feet away from the table, and get the kids throwing for some fun prizes.




Step 7: Send friends off with favors. Every family went home with a special bag of Shark vs. Mermaid Tic Tac Toe. The shark photo prop at Oriental Trading inspired me to paint DIY shark rocks, and well we didn’t have to paint the shells because they were so pretty. The game packaged in drawstring bags with the Tic Tac Toe lines drawn on top with a Sharpie marker. This game is so much fun, and can be easily brought to church or dinner out to keep the kids occupied.






Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this party, free of charge. All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post.



Say Goodbye to Cold Hands with DIY Freezer Pop Holders


Despite the fact that Back to School is all over the big name retailer stores and commercials, it’s still summer. We refuse to admit the fact that school starts in a month. We’re taking every bit of summer, for all the sunshine, popsicles and pool days it’s worth. We love it too much to let it go.

Our kids love popsicles in the summer, especially freezer pops. Although yummy, we know within minutes of opening their popsicles, our kids will request a paper towel because their hands are cold.

Well, it’s three mom’s and a pool noodle to the rescue. The DIY noodle freezer pop holders not only prevent cold, sticky fingers, but also they can be customized with names at a table setting for a birthday party.  They can be used year after year when the hot sun is shining and kids are outside playing! Plus, typography is just so fun!




Cut a pool noodle into 6 inch pieces. It should be about ½ the size of the popsicle.




Add letters to each noodle to spell BRR!, CHILL, COOL, FREEZE, and ICY.



Frame the letters with Frog Tape in the shape of a rectangle.


Use a paintbrush to dab paint onto the noodles over the letters and within the taped area.



Wait a couple of minutes to remove the tape and letters. Don’t wait too long, or the paint will begin to peel off with the letters. The paint should still be slightly wet when you remove the letters and tape.




Once the paint is dry, apply a layer or two of Mod Podge over the letters. It will dry clear, so no need to apply it all over the noodle. This will prevent it from peeling and flaking off.


Insert popsicle and enjoy without the whining of cold hands.






DIY Geometric Shelf


Maybe it’s because we are born and raised Colorado girls, but the phrase The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Go by John Muir, speaks to us. There’s something nostalgic about the mountains – the beauty, the nature and the escape – that we long for.  We spend many weekends in the mountains to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and Jessica is lucky enough to see the peaks in her backyard every morning from her window.

We found a triangle geometric shelf from Michaels, and it was practically begging us to be transformed into a DIY mountain shelf. Plus, we found it to be a fun display for all the knick knacks our kids like to collect.



  • wood triangle shelf, Michaels
  • spray paint, black
  • felt, white
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • kids toys


Paint the triangle shelf black.


Once the shelf is dry, measure the size of the peak on all sides of the wood. We placed the white felt on top of each side of the wood triangle, and traced the outline with a pencil, and then cut it out.


Apply glue to the edges of the ‘peak’ on the wood, and press the white felt down.


Fill the shelves with all the cute little knick knacks your kids like to collect, and find a place to display.




That’s all for now. Just as the phrase goes, The Mountains are calling, and I must Go…