Saturday, December 29, 2018

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DIY Soft'n Slo Squishies & Paint Markers

The following post contains sponsored content.
DIY Soft'n Slo cake squishy painted with paint markers from same brand
Squeezed many times after two coats of Soft'n Slo paint markers completely dried over two days. 

 My 11 year old daughter has been on the crazy-for-squishies train for a couple of years now.  She may even consider herself somewhat of a squishy expert.  That being said, she and her twin brother own several Soft'n Slo squishies, and have been very pleased with them.  They have held up for months before beginning to show signs of being lovingly squeezed over and over again daily. Since this brand of squishies has been pretty dependable overall, I was excited to see DIY Soft'n Slo squishies and paint markers at our local craft store. I purchased one of every style of blank squishy I could find, plus both packs of paint markers (regular colors and brights) as a gift for my daughter.  Our daughter is a crafter at heart, and was so excited to receive this gift bag full of DIY squishies supplies.


Did the Soft'n Slo DIY Squishies & Paint Markers Meet Our Expectations? . . .

The blank squishies felt like the same great quality my children have come to expect from Soft'n Slo.  Unfortunately, the paint markers did not perform as well as we would have liked.  The freshly painted squishies looked amazing with very good coverage. After we allowed the paint to dry for a few days, however, there appeared to be spots where the paint did not adhere to the surface of the squishy.
DIY Soft'n Slo cake after one coat of paint and minimal squeezing
Squeezed twice after single coat of Soft'n Slo paint markers dried for 4 days.
 I suggested to my daughter that she try adding a second coat of paint.  After allowing the second coat to dry for two days, we found that there were still spots where the white showed through.
DIY Soft'n Slo cake after two coats of paint and no squeezing
Unsqueezed after two coats of Soft'n Slo paint markers dried over course of two days.
 Next came the squeeze test.  When we squeezed the squishy several times, the paint began to crackle and flake off.  What would have been a beautiful one-of-a-kind squishy, did not end up being the masterpiece my daughter had hoped for.

DIY Soft'n Slo squishy after two coats of paint and several squeezes


What will we do with the remaining blank squishies?

We still love Soft'n Slo squishies, but the markers were just not the same quality we have come to expect from this brand.  The blank squishies are great though, so what we will likely do is to try painting them with puffy fabric paint.  This type of paint comes in a wide variety of colors and is made to be flexible.  If that goes well, maybe my daughter can try to salvage her cake squishy or perhaps repaint other squishies to give them a makeover.
Two Soft'n Slo squishies our children received as stocking stuffers.
Soft'n Slo Poop and Cream Puff Squishies
Two Soft'n Slo squishies our children received as stocking stuffers.

What kinds of squishies are your children's favorites?
Tell us in a comment here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Most 3G2S posts contain commission-yielding affiliate links. When you make a purchase after clicking a link, our family earns a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog.

Fun Last Minute 'Game Show' Advent Calendar Idea for Big Kids { Free Printable }

Free Printable Game Show Advent Calendar Activity  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
 Our children are now 11, 11, and 14.  If you have older kids like us, that means you might be running out of ideas for ways to make the annual tradition of an advent calendar a fresh and fun experience.  We have done everything from puzzle pieces to Lego minifigure parts, from Christmas books to dollar scratch tickets.

Since all 3 of our children are gamers, I thought it would be fun this year to give them a way to earn in-game currency.  Usually, I am not a huge fan of spending real life money on virtual items, so I think this will be a real treat for them. Since we have three children, I'll give each child one guess at the answer to one 'game show' question each day.  Only one child needs to answer correctly for all three to win the prize, which I have decided to be one dollar per child to go towards in-game currency or a gaming membership.

DIY Game Show Advent Calendar Activity . . .
Free Printable Game Show Cards Non-Candy Advent Calendar Filler  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Step 1.  Download the PDF below.  Then either print out four copies of the blank cards or digitally add text and save four versions with six different game cards on each version.  Do not include the answers to the game show questions on the card, but rather keep a list of them in a safe place.
TIP 1: I found age-appropriate Christmas-themed riddles online and used one riddle per card.  Other ideas would be trivia questions, math problems, brain twisters, tongue twisters they'd need to say 3 times quickly, etc . . .  If this activity is a hit this year, next year I might try Star Wars trivia questions.
Free Printable Fun DIY Game Show Cards Advent Calendar Activity  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 2. Carefully cut out your 24 cards.  Then roll them into tiny little scrolls and secure them with curling ribbon, gold cordinexpensive Christmas stickers, Christmas washi tape, or tiny elastics.
TIP #2:  If you don't have the dexterity (or the desire) to roll and secure 24 tiny scrolls, other options would be to merely fold the cards in half  or into thirds, or to put them in business card sized envelopes.
Step 3.  Put one scroll into each day of your advent calendar. I also always include one small piece of candy for each child, but that is certainly not required.
DIY Game Show Advent Calendar Activity  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

What ideas do you have for making an advent calendar more fun and interesting?
Tell us in a comment here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Most 3G2S posts contain commission-yielding affiliate links. When you make a purchase after clicking a link, our family earns a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog.

2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships

Baystate Taekwondo Academy 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships Competitors and Coaches | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
2018 Baystate Taekwondo USAT Nationals Competitors

 It's that time of year again.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we are all reminded to think long and hard about what we are thankful for this year.  Topped only by our family road trip to Walt Disney World, one of the things I am most grateful for is the opportunity to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to cheer my 14 year old son on as he competed and placed 3rd in poomsae at the 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships.  In addition to that amazing moment, our family spent almost an entire week with the other Baystate Taekwondo Competition Team families, who are like extended family to us.  So many wonderful memories were made, and for that I am also grateful.

During the week of July 2nd, seven Baystate Taekwondo Competition Team athletes and their families traveled across the country to Salt Lake City along with their coaches, Master John Alves and Mr. Christopher Alves, to compete in the 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships. Ranging from ages 9 to 17, each of these young athletes train alongside their teammates at Baystate Taekwondo Academy in Massachusetts year-round to compete on a state and national level with only a 7-week hiatus during the summer.

From continuing on after sustaining injuries to exhibiting great sportsmanship no matter the outcome, these young athletes are an inspiration to us all. The results were as follows for each competitor in their age, rank, and weight divisions:
Baystate Taekwondo Academy 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships Competitors | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
(From left to right) Sumeet Nijjar, Danveer Nijjar, Victoria Lewis, Abhaya Sundar, Keira Macauley, Elizabeth Levin, and Jake Coutu

Keira Macauley, age 9, placed 5th in poomsae and 3rd in sparring, taking home her first USAT bronze medal.
• Four-time Nationals medalist, Victoria Lewis, age 12, placed 3rd in poomsae and 2nd in sparring, earning her 3rd bronze and 1st USAT silver medal.
• Three-time Nationals medalist, Elizabeth Levin, now age 13, placed 5th in poomsae and 1st in sparring, earning her first USAT gold medal, and making her the 2018 National Champion in her sparring division.
• First time competitor, Abhaya Sundar, age 12, placed 5th in poomsae and 2nd in sparring, earning her 1st USAT silver medal.
• First time competitor, Danveer Nijjar, age 13, placed 9th in poomsae and 5th in sparring.
• Two-time Nationals medalist, Jake Coutu, age 14, placed 3rd in poomsae, taking home his 2nd USAT bronze medal.
Sumeet Nijjar, age 17, placed 1st in sparring, earning him his first USAT gold medal, and making him the 2018 National Champion in his sparring division.

Looking back on this year’s trip to Nationals, the owner of Baystate Taekwondo Academy, Master John Alves, says, “Work hard, train hard, stay focused, and last; commit to your art 100% to achieve your ultimate GOAL.”
Baystate Taekwondo Academy 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships Competitors and Parents | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Proud families of the Baystate Taekwondo 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships competitors.

The achievements of these young athletes in Salt Lake City were made possible due to the endless support of the Baystate Taekwondo instructors, coaches, the Baystate Taekwondo community, led by Mary Alves, and the support of businesses, such as Google LLC, American Consumer Credit Counseling, The Fine Arts Theatre Place, Stop & Shop Supermarkets and their patrons, Orthopedics New England, and The PaisleyHanger Boutique.

What are you thankful for this year?
Tell us in a comment here.