Category Archives: Holidays

Real flowering craft: Make a Mother’s Day corsage

Craft and photo by Bettijo B. Hirschi & Aimee Lowry

A Mother’s Day corsage might be traditional, but this easy-to-make bloom is anything but stuffy. Simple enough for little fingers to create, and all you need are cupcake liners, a pipe cleaner and a safety pin.

8 solid-colored cupcake liners (we used yellow)
1 mini cupcake liner, white (optional)
1 pipe cleaner (we used green to simulate leaves but any coordinating color will do)
1 small safety pin

On a hard surface, flatten each of the cupcake liners and then stack together with the inside facing up. Using the pin, poke a hole through the entire stack. If using a mini cupcake liner, flatten and poke a hole through that as well.

Take your pipe cleaner and begin threading (from outside of liner in) through the center hole you just created in the cupcake liners. End by placing on the mini cupcake liner.

Roll the end of your pipe cleaner into a little knot to secure liners into place, then slide all  the liners so they’re snug against the knot.

Working from the mini liner out, scrunch each cupcake liner closed around the pipe cleaner knot. The liners closer to the middle will fold in tighter and as you work your way out the liners will naturally stay more open, like a real blossom. Gently scrunch and/or twist liners until you’re happy with your flower’s shape.

Trim pipe cleaner so you have about a six-inch tail. Carefully wrap the extra pipe cleaner tail around the non-pinning side of the safety pin. We wrapped it around three times and then formed a leaf-like shape with the remaining pipe cleaner. If you’re not using a green liner you might just want to cut the excess off.

TIPS: If you’re having difficulty getting your flower to hang correctly while wearing, be sure you’ve twisted it nice and tight so the blossom is held firmly against the pin. If you continue to have trouble you can use a glue gun to get it to hold firmly.

Monthly “Real Crafts” are created just for RAK by Bettijo B. Hirschi & Aimée Lowry, the Arizona moms behind family-style blog Paging Supermom.


real lucky craft: Easy leprechaun dress-up

Easy leprechaun dress-upLucky for you, construction paper and string is all you need to dress up your little leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day. “Real Crafts” are created just for RAK by Bettijo B. Hirschi & Aimée Lowry, the Arizona moms behind family-style blog Paging Supermom. For more ideas visit


 Construction paper (we used two pieces of green and one each of black, yellow and orange)
String (we used orange cording)
Hole punch


Using a green sheet of construction paper, freehand a basic top hat shape or trace the free printable pattern. Cut out the hat.

Cut a straight strip of black construction paper to fit above the brim of your hat.

From yellow paper, cut out a square shape. Cut two slits into the yellow square just wide enough for the black strip. Thread the black paper strip through your yellow “buckle.” Glue the black strip and buckle to the green hat.

To create the hat’s headband, cut two strips of green paper approximately two inches wide. Tape the bands together to form one long strip. Measure your child’s head and tape the strips together to make a circle that fits properly. Trim the excess paper.

Glue or tape the hat to the paper headband.


Using a full sheet of orange construction paper, trace the free printable beard pattern and cut.

If you don’t have the pattern, just freehand cut along one of the short sides of the paper, making two humps that mimic the curve of a beard.

On the opposite end of the paper cut long slits of varying lengths about every half inch to create beard “hair.” Loosely wrap one hair strand around a pencil and roll to create a curl in the paper. Repeat until each hair strand is curled.

Cut out a mouth hole from the beard.

On either side of the beard, place a piece of tape on the underside to reinforce the paper where the string hole will be. Make a hole punch on either side of the beard (being sure to go through the taped area).

Thread the string through the beard and tie onto your little leprechaun. While wearing, we found it added stability to the beard if we tucked the string under our child’s chin and above the ears before tying in the back.

Her choice, my challenge

Allegra Powers (3) of Scottsdale.

A fish. A car. A bear. No, scratch that—Winnie the Pooh. A baby. A cowgirl. A bumblebee. A fox. A firefighter.

These are the answers I have gotten so far to the question, “What would you like to be for Halloween?”

The first couple of years were easy. As a new mom, I loved looking through the catalogs that appeared beginning in August. Tiny pumpkin costumes, little ladybugs, miniature cowboys. The choices were plentiful and, most importantly, I got to choose.

With a preschooler in the house, offering limited choices is usually the name of the game. Would you like the orange cup or the green cup? Milk or water? Would you like to put your shoes on by yourself or shall I help you? The parenting gurus will tell you that this is one way of getting compliance from someone for whom the need for independence is as hardwired and developmentally important as is the desire to jump in puddles or dig in the mud. I know from experience it’s the only way to avoid losing my mind while my daughter develops hers.

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Face paints: how safe?

Photo courtesy of Joan Langdon.

By Vicki Louk Balint

The art of embellishing the skin with color and shading dates back to Cleopatra and her kohl stick…and beyond. Applying color and glitter to the face to disguise and decorate continues centuries later among adults and children—for pretend play, theater performances and especially Halloween costumes.

We’ve come a long way since the ancients crushed up coal mined from a strain of carbon in a mountainside, not knowing it could be filled with poisons like arsenic or lead. But how safe are face and body paints today?

The substances that give a product color, or color additives, must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in cosmetics, which includes face paints and theatrical makeup. The FDA also decides the proper use of color additives—some reds, for example, should not be used around the eyes. Additives that are approved for cosmetic use can be found on the FDA website.

Recently, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report indicating that traces of lead had been found in some face paints sold for use by kids. According to the FDA, lead is an unintended contaminant or impurity that can be present at very low levels in some color additives. But it can also be present in other common ingredients, such as water, that are used to produce cosmetics.

The word “lead” in the same sentence as “children” can cause alarm, of course. But cosmetic chemist John Reinhardt, of Reinhardt Consultants, Inc., based in Riverside, Calif., has spent a career formulating products for major brands in the United States and he says the amounts are scant, when they are present at all.

“You’re probably more at risk drinking tap water,” he says.

Most lead compounds are not readily absorbed through the skin (except for tetraethyl lead, which used to be in leaded gasoline). Children are most at risk through breathing or ingesting lead compounds, so if you are concerned about exposure, keep products away from a child who might put them in his or her mouth.

More safety tips on face paint and other seasonal decorative products:

• Use only face paints that are intended for cosmetic use, says local professional artist and esthetician Joan Langdon of Party Art by Joan. “Craft paints like acrylics, tempera paints and watercolors—all of which may say non-toxic—are not meant to wear on your skin.” The name “face paint” itself is a misnomer, says Mardi Gras Costume Shop manager Paul Snatic. “It gives people the wrong idea.”

• Watch out for look-alike packaging. On a recent trip I made to a large, nationally known craft store, pots of face paints were packaged right alongside the tempera paint, making it tough to distinguish which was which at first glance. Choose carefully.

• Proper labeling should appear on the packaging, says Reinhardt. Look for ingredients listed in descending order, per FDA regulations. “Warning statements are a good thing—they can indicate that the manufacturer is interested in meeting requirements,” he says.

• Don’t buy cosmetic products at swap meets or a temporary seasonal venue. Maintaining a good reputation is far more important to big-name stores than the risk of selling of products with chemicals that are bad for you, says Reinhardt.

• Use glitter intended for cosmetic use only. “People may think glitter is glitter, but it’s not,” says Langdon, who says cosmetic glitter is made of polyester cut into tiny pieces. Crafting glitter has sharp edges and can actually damage the cornea if it gets into the eyes.

• Products other than face paints can cause reactions. “Latex (used for masks) has ammonia in it,” says Snatic. “Spirit gum (used for sticking on ears, noses, mustaches) has ether in it.” Skin test products in a small area behind the ear or inside the arm to check for an allergic reaction.

• Throw away any face paint or cosmetics that emit a foul odor when opened—they could be contaminated.

• Wash painted areas with soap and water at the end of the day, recommends Langdon. Don’t use baby wipes, which are not intended for the face.

Vicki Louk Balint is a staff writer and multimedia journalism for RAISING ARIZONA KIDS magazine. Read her “Health Matters” blog each Monday.

Real spooky craft: Boo, to you

RAISING ARIZONA KIDS is all about real families, real life and “real” kids who love to make things. But most crafts are too hard, too messy or require too much time. To which we say, “Get real!” RAK’s new series of “Real Crafts” are from the Arizona moms behind the Paging Supermom blog. Visit for more ideas from “sometimes supermoms” Bettijo B. Hirschi and Aimée Lowry.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles will love a good scare from this friendly ghost made from your little one’s handprint. It’s a cinch to make these greeting cards with your kids using black card stock, white craft paint and wiggly eyes.

Items needed

Black paper
White craft paint
Foam paintbrush
Paper plate
Wiggly eyes
School glue


Cut black paper to fit inside envelopes. (For A2 envelopes, cut your paper to 4.25”x5.5” or for A7 envelopes, 5”x7”.)

Pour white paint onto paper plate. Carefully dip child’s open palm into paint, then spread paint evenly on hand with foam brush.

With your child’s fingers close together, stamp handprint onto black paper. (Don’t worry if you get a little bit of smearing—it adds to the sense of motion.) Let dry.

Using school glue, stick wiggly eyes onto the palm of the handprint to create a ghost.

Write a note on the backside or have your child write his or her name. Slip inside your addressed envelope, and mail!

Halloween movies to enjoy at home

By Lynn Trimble

Whether you’re looking for a good scare or a bit of comedy with a Halloween flair, there are plenty of movies to choose from on DVD. Here’s our start to a list for October family movie nights.

Movies featuring familiar characters

“Arthur’s Scary Stories.” Stories address common childhood fears (bedtime fears of the dark and outdoor fears of wild animal noises) with humor and sensitivity. 2002. 40 minutes. Not rated.

“Barney’s Halloween Party.” Barney, B.J. and Baby Bop enjoy games, crafts and trick-or-treating while emphasizing sharing and Halloween safety. 2003. 52 minutes. Not rated.

“Mickey’s House of Villains.” Mickey Mouse and pals battle a House of Mouse takeover by Disney villains on Halloween night. 2002. 70 minutes. Not rated.

“Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie.” Roo and Heffalump Lumpy are eager to trick-or-treat until Tigger warns of a “Gobloon” haunting the Hundred Acre Wood. 2005. 67 minutes. Rated G.

“Spongebob Squarepants—Halloween.” Includes 10 episodes varying in length. Not rated. Includes the “Scaredy Pants” music video. 2003. Not rated.

Movies featuring monsters

“Igor.” Hunchback falls in love with female monster he created to enter in an evil invention contest. 2009. 87 minutes. Rated PG.

“Little Monsters.” Young boy dreams of monsters under his bed, only to learn that they are really there. 2004. 100 min. Rated PG.

“Monster House.” House that swallows children and toys battles three young neighbors who save the day on Halloween. 2006. 91 min. Rated PG (though some critics felt it should be PG-13).

“Monsters, Inc.” Little girl named Boo terrifies monsters when she visits their “scare factory” in monster world. 2006. 92 min. Rated G.

Movies featuring more mature fare

“Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.” Man who runs out on his bride-to-be accidentally resurrects a murdered girl who claims to be his wedded wife. 2006. 77 min. Rated PG.

“Ghostbusters.” Goblins haunting New York City are chased by three unemployed parapsychology professors. 2003. 107 min. Rated PG.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Pumpkin ruler of Halloweentown tires of the creepy holiday and decides to put on a joyful Christmas holiday instead. 2004. 76 min. Rated PG.

Movies featuring classic stories

“The Addams Family.” Eccentric family is visited by fake long-lost uncle as an evil doctor tries to swindle them out of their fortune. 2006. 99 min. Rated PG-13.

“The Phantom of the Opera.” Opera house ghost wreaks havoc as he watches the opera singer he loves fall for another man. 2005. 143 min. Rated PG-13.

“The Wizard of Oz.” Young girl who enters a strange land after her house is uprooted by a tornado seeks a way home again. 2005. 101 min. Rated G (though flying monkeys,  a booming wizard and the wicked witch may frighten young children).

Tell us your favorite Halloween movies! Comment below to add to the list.