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a mess-free art exercise with kids!

a mess-free art exercise with kids!

While I am all about making messes to get creative, sometimes I just don't want to have to deal with all the clean-up that's involved (or the clean-up I will have to remind my kids they need to do after ;P). Here's an easy and fun art exercise you can do with kids of all ages from toddler to big kid!

All you need is:
-paper (I cut sheets into quarters so they would be the same size and also to keep them smallish)
-colorful dot stickers (thanks Jordan for telling me about these stickers!)
-black permanent marker

Here are a few exercises you can prompt! They involve a mix of creation and story-telling, and it's fun for you to do the exercises alongside with them, too...

a mess-free art exercise with kids!

Exercise 1: Place 6 dots on your page in six different colors (they should not touch). Then use a Sharpie to draw different facial expressions on each dot. Next, add drawings around each one. They could become an object, a living thing, a person, etc. Finally, tell a story about the six things...it could be one continuous story where all six could all be involved in the same story or just describe each one!

a mess-free art exercise with kids!

Exercise 2: Using any colors you want to make a continuous path from one end of your paper to another. Then, add drawings to make your stickers create a scene. Add a title to your scene. Then, describe it to everyone!

a mess-free art exercise with kids!

Exercise 3: Make a pattern with the dots! You can use any number of colors you want. Then, add either drawings or a title. Now, describe your picture!

a mess-free art exercise with kids!

Exercise 4: Make whatever you want! BUT, create it in mind with the idea that you are making this for someone else and you would want to send it to them in the mail—like your best friend, your grandparents, etc! Finally, describe your scene to everyone.

My kids had a great time doing this art exercise, and it was fun for them to get different prompts throughout. They got excited about sharing their creation, too. Afterwards, my oldest said now she wanted to make something messy because this one was so neat and clean! Ha!

Thai Pad Kee Mao with a Korean Twist!

Thai Pad Kee Mao with a Korean Twist!

The other day my friend Sara texted me and said they were making Pad Kee Mao and the rice noodles that typically go into the dish didn't work out, so they substituted with Korean rice cakes! It was such a great idea that I was inspired to recreate it for you!

Here's what you'll need...

- 1lb. of Korean rice cakes ("dduk")

- peanut oil

- 8-10 cloves of garlic, chopped

- 1/2 cup sliced onion

- 2 cups of green veggies (green beans, bok choy, broccoli, etc.)

- 2-3 Tbs. oyster sauce

- 2-3 tsp. black soy sauce (this is different than regular soy sauce and is thicker and sweeter)

- 2-3 Tbs. of fish sauce

- 1 tsp. of sugar and 1/4 tsp. of white pepper, to taste

- 1/2-1 cup of fresh holy or Thai basil

Optional:
-Thai chillies finely chopped (I added after so that I could make this for my kids, too)
- Protein (like shrimp, chicken, beef, tofu)

Here's how:

  1. Heat a wok or large pan over high heat and add peanut oil to coat the bottom. Be aware of the food and add additional oil as needed to keep anything from sticking without getting the ingredients too greasy. Stir-frying is very fast, so have everything ready to go!
  2. Add garlic and then the sliced onions. Mix for 30-60 seconds. If you'd like to add protein, you can add after this step and keep mixing!
  3. Add the Korean rice cakes and green veggies and toss well.
  4. Add your sauces (oyster, soy, fish), then the white pepper and sugar to taste.
  5. Finally, add in basil, mix until basil is wilted, and turn off heat.

You can find a video of this recipe being made on my Instagram! Enjoy!

*recipe adapted from "It Rains Fishes" by Kasma Loha-Unchit

Thai Coconut Rice Pancakes

Thai Coconut Pancakes / Kanom Krok / Oh Joy!

One of my favorite street vendor treats I've had in Thailand (and also here in the States) is called Kanom Krok—Thai Coconut Rice Pancakes. It reminds me of my childhood growing up as a Thai-American kid. We'd have them at our local Temple when there were celebrations or festive events. So today, I'm sharing the recipe I use with you! This recipe is from the now out-of-print book, "It Rains Fishes" by Kasma Loha-Unchit and is my go-to for authentic Thai recipes.

Makes:
50-60 mini pancakes

You'll need:
-(3) 14 oz. cans of coconut milk
-1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. sugar
-2-1/2 Tbs. tapioca flour
-3 Tbs. uncooked white rice, ground with a food processor
-1/4 cup of dried unsweetened coconut flakes, ground with a food processor
-2 cups of rice flour
-2 tsp. sea salt
-2-3 Tbs. peanut oil (to oil the pan)
-Takoyaki or Ebelskiver pan

Bonus:
-1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
-1/4 cup cut scallions

Here's how:

  1. In a small saucepan, add 1-3/4 cup of the thickest part of the coconut milk from each can. Heat on low and add 1/4 cup sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat. Once cool, add the tapioca flour. Set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining coconut milk with the finely ground uncooked rice, the finely ground coconut flakes, rice flour, salt, and 1 Tbs. sugar. Stir and mix well until combined.
  3. Heat the pan on the stove to medium heat (this will vary based on your stove but you'll get a feel for the best heat level after the first batch). Brush the peanut oil onto each little opening of the pan. 
  4. Pour the salty coconut mixture into each indentation about 2/3-3/4 full. The batter should sizzle. Use something with a spout for easy pouring.
  5. Add a small spoonful of the sweet coconut mixture on top, then add any bonus toppings if choose.
  6. Cover with the lid from another pan and let cook for a few minutes until the bottom is golden and crispy and the top is still a tad moist.
  7. Remove gently with a spoon and rest on a cooling rack for a couple minutes before serving and eating.

* This recipe can be modified to your liking on the sweetness level. The base layer is savory, while the top layer is sweet! I have tried others where they make the base layer sweeter than I did, so it's up to you. I love this version because the two layers mix together for a perfect balance!

Thai Coconut Pancakes / Kanom Krok / Oh Joy!

Enjoy! They should be eaten while still warm. They mix crunchy, soft, sweet, salty, and creamy all in one amazing bite! Kids LOVE these, too. You can find a video of this recipe being made on my Instagram!

a few jewelry-organizing projects!

Oh Joy! Jewelry Organizing

I've been spending my at-home weekends organizing a plenty! We spend so much time at home these days, that it's been satisfying to sort through and finally organize all those piles, bins, or random things that always got pushed to the side. Today, we're giving you a few fun ways to organize your jewelry with these fun projects! 

This Toolbox turned Jewelry Box (above) offers a nice and moveable spot to store pieces of all sizes and shapes!

Oh Joy! Jewelry Organizing

Our DIY Pin Organizer has been my go-to for keeping all my pins in one place. It's super cute to hang on the wall to be able to easily see and find pins when you're ready to decorate a jacket, too!

Oh Joy! Jewelry Organizing

For smaller jewelry, this Stacked Jewelry Organizer makes it easy to keep everything contained all together.

(Photos by Lily Glass, Concept/Production/Styling by Julia Wester, Production Assistance by Jess Hong.)

at home birthday party backdrops!

Oh Joy Heart Fringe Backdrop

Birthday parties have certainly been different this year. We've been doing lots of drive by birthday parades for my kids' friends. Everyone is celebrating at home with their immediate at-home family and creating special moments regardless of our limitations right now. If you are looking for fun things to do that involve some crafting together and celebrating a special occasion, photo backdrops are a great craft for getting the whole family involved...

Oh Joy! Paper Chain Backdrop

We've all made these paper chains back in the day at school, so use the same idea to make a Rainbow Paper Chain Backdrop for your next at-home celebration! If you want to make something that's extra special and can be moved around to different parts of your home (inside or out), we also love this Heart Fringe version (shown up top).

Oh Joy! Silver and Gold Glitter Backdrop

Using garland you might have stored with your holiday decorations, you can make this Gold and Silver Stars Backdrop!

Oh Joy! Rainbow Backdrop

You can use a similar hanging method with Rainbow Streamers and add festive honeycombs you might have saved from last year's birthday party.

Oh Joy! Honeycomb Backdrop

While these Sparkly Honeycombs were made for a holiday celebration, change up the colors and they can turn into a festive graduation, birthday, or at-home baby or wedding shower, too!

However you make your backdrop, the fun doesn't end there. Now it's time for photoshoots and fashion shows. Everyone dress in their finest clothes, in one solid color, or in their wackiest costumes. Prop up your phone up and do a self-timer so everyone can get in frame. And remember, while celebrations right now are not what they used to be, they can still be full of amazing memories!

{Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Wilmarose Orlanes and Julia Wester, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong. Thanks to our models, Jess, Julia, and Joy!} 

craftopia!

Craftopia - HBO Max

When it comes to TV time, my kids have started to break outside of the kids' cartoons and watch shows with real people. They now love creative competition shows which have been so fun to watch as a family. So I'm excited to tell you about this amazing new show that launched a couple weeks ago on HBO Max called Craftopia. Hosted by Lauren Riihimaki of LaurDIY with judges James Worsham and Toya Moore-Broyles, it's a crafting competition show for kids ages 9-15.

Craftopia - HBO Max

Craftopia - HBO Max

Not only is it completely family-friendly and SO MUCH FUN (my kids are obsessed!), but I'm a guest judge on the 5th episode ("It's Lit!")! The challenges are so fun, the set design is RIDICULOUSLY GOOD, and I'm so thrilled to have played a small part in it. We filmed this back in November—and to see it now in our current times—I'm so proud of the diversity of the cast and the contestants. It's an amazing sign of our times and the evolution of TV. I am so happy that all kinds of kids can see themselves represented in this show and feel inspired to explore their creativity. Thanks so much to the team at Craftopia for having me...I truly had the best time filming this!

(Top photo by Oh Joy, others are screen shots from the show)

simple and inexpensive ways to spruce up your home decor...

Oh Joy Styling with Large Branches

Extra time at home means we're craving joy wherever we can add it! Today, we're bringing you three fun and easy projects to add a little pop of color and newness to your already existing decor. These are inexpensive projects that can give your space (and yourself!) a little refresh it needs to bring out the sunshine!

Oh Joy Mirror Decal

1) Try adding a decal to your mirror. A cute and short inspirational thought that makes you happy to look in the mirror and reminds you of your strength and determination. Try "You Got This" or "Find Joy Here" or "Keep Going".  Let us know what phrase you choose to give yourself some positivity every time you look in the mirror.

Oh Joy Wrapping Paper Mat Frames

2) Use wrapping paper to make a mat for your existing wall prints to freshen them up! Or, if you're ready for a new print, so many of our friends are offering amazing and inspirational prints during this time. Check out Everyday is OK, The House that Lars Built, and All She Wrote Notes

Oh Joy Large Branch DIY

3) Add branches to your vases. This option is fun because it involves a trek outside (don't forget to get sunshine and fresh air everyday)! Find some branches that will dry up nicely, then paint some (or ALL) of the leaves for a fun touch of color.

Let me know how you're sprucing up your house or if you need more fun ideas of low-lift things to do to bring a quick smile everyday.

(Photos by Lily Glass. Styling by Wilmarose Orlanes and Julia Wester, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong.) 

you deserve dessert...

Oh Joy Mini Bundt Cakes

You, yes YOU, deserve dessert today! You are surviving an unprecedented time full of worry, stress, angst, anger, annoyance, scary feelings, and everything in between. You are doing it! No matter if that looks like Pinterest-worthy crafts with your kids or your third time watching Tiger King. Maybe you have a living room covered with every toy or craft you own, or the cleanest and most organized house your've ever lived in. Because this is hard on all of us, and and we are all doing our best right now, we all deserve a treat (or two)! If you feel like treating yourself today, here are a few of our favorite recipes just for you!

Oh Joy Neapolitan Cookies

A Neapolitan Cookie dipped in white chocolate and coconut.  Fresh from the oven - just for you!

Oh Joy Funfetti Mille Cake

This Funfetti Crepe Cake may look super fancy and hard to make but it doesn't even require baking! Plus, everything needed is available at the grocery store.

Oh Joy and Molly Yeh Rainbow Icebox Cake

Here's a super fun Rainbow Icebox Cake we made with Molly Yeh 5 years ago! This one also requires no baking, and I love that you could make this in any size you want!

Oh Joy Pastel Mini Bundt Cakes

If you feel like sharing, you can make an entire platter of Mini Bundt Cakes with a delicious pastel icing coating that borders on perfection.

I love and appreciate each one of you and want you to be safe, healthy and happy...and your sweet tooth satiated!

{Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, styling assistance and baking by Jess Hong.}

store and display your kids' masterpieces...

Oh Joy Tips - Kids Art Storage Rubys Masterpiece

I've suddenly found myself with more masterpieces created during my family's morning live drawing sessions than I know what to do with. Luckily, we have some great ideas about how to store, scan, or display all that artwork your kids are making right now! Check out some of my favorite tips...

Oh Joy Tips - Kids Art Storage Mixbook

1) Make a Photo Book!  Scan all your kids' artwork (taking a clear photo on your iPhone works!), and put everything into a bound book. You can put them into all of our fun and bright Mixbook designs. This offers a way to remember all the art without having to physically keep it all and bound perfectly together to enjoy for years to come!

Or, for a low-tech version, glue/tape them into a notebook! This is fun for dimensional art or if you truly can't part with the original.

Oh Joy Tips - Kids Art Storage Containers

2) Storage Containers. DIY some fun containers to store everything neatly (try a container per child) and have an easy place to store everything when it's complete. Check out all our tips for keeping your containers organized and curated here!

Oh Joy Tips - Kids Art Storage Display

3) Make A Colorful Display!  Everyone needs a little color in their lives, especially now! So make fun colorful displays and hang up those masterpieces as if they belonged in a museum. You can have rotating "guest artists" if you've got multiple kids in the house, or use all the blank walls to feature everyone. You can use the dowel rods in this tutorial, or simply use bright and fun washi tape

Oh Joy Tips - Kids Art Storage Hangers

...if you don't have dowel rods lying around, try this fun alternative with "fancying up" some hangers for displaying your art.

I hope everyone is hanging in there and doing okay safe at home!  Let me know what you're filling the non-working portion of your days with...arts and crafts projects? Music or outdoor fun? Snacks and Netflix? I want to hear all the ideas you have to stay healthy and happy.  

(Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, production assistance by Jess Hong.)

give your wardrobe an at-home refresh!

Emroider Clothes - Oh Joy!

Right now, everyone seems to be focused in the craft and creativity space for kids, but no one is focused on adult crafting and creativity as a way to relieve stress and to do something fun and engaging with your hands during quarantine. So today we wanted to round up a few of our favorite Oh Joy! projects to get you crafting and finding joy with an activity that's just for you! Plus, you might just come out of it with a fun wardrobe refresh...

Emboridered Shirt Edges - Oh Joy!

A Little Embroidered Detail - For collars, cuffs, or edges, we did this DIY is on shirts, but can be used on any piece of clothing (even socks and scarves!) or on your home decor as well (think napkins and table runners).  See the full tutorial here!

Or if you're looking to add a fun phrase or symbol (see first photo), check out that tutorial here!

Popcorn Knit How To - Oh Joy!

Add Popcorn Knots - This works best on chunky weave clothing like sweaters and cardigans (or maybe your favorite blanket). Check our the blog post for the full how-to...

Splatter Paint Clothing - Oh Joy!

Splatter Paint Clothing - Oh Joy!

Splatter Paint - Take your denim jacket (or backpack) or anything that needs a literal splatter of color and add paint, and go wild!

Let us know if you end up making any of these projects..we would love to see them!

(Photos by Lily Glass, Concept and styling by Julia WesterProduction and Styling Assistance by Jess Hong.)