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Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial

Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial

This Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial creates the perfect gift for Father’s Day for the busy dad in your life!  Happy Monday friends, and welcome to this Rocking Motherhood Monday’s educational project.  I was so incredibly happy to get the opportunity to make this Cactus Rock Garden with my littles, that I just had to share it with my readers.  It was so much fun to make and I just loved how creative and thoughtful my kiddos were while creating this masterpiece for their daddy.

Father’s Day spurred this project, because my husband enjoys plants and gardening.  However, he tends to not have enough hours in the day to do much gardening or caring for plants.  Last Father’s Day, the kiddos and I picked out a cool terrarium for him, but unfortunately it did not survive the busy life of my husband.  While we were at Home Depot he mentioned how he would like to get some succulents and try planting them… and the Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial was born!

Cactus Rock Garden Supplies:

  • Rocks
  • Pebbles
  • Terracotta Planter
  • Mod Podge – Sparkle – If you don’t want sparkle, just pick a different Mod Podge… just be sure to check the drying and curing time
  • Paint Brushes – 1 thin paint brush for the details on the cactus and one thicker one for the larger painting items like the pot and rocks.
  • Paint – I used Apple Barrel Outdoor Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint in the following colors:
    • Cacti Colors:  Clover Fields, Mountain Forest, Evergreen, and white
    • Pot Colors:  Read Red, Spiced Carrot, Dandelion Yellow, Calypso Sky, Perfect Purple, Parisian Pink, and Black
  • Black Sharpie Fine Point
  • Flower – Miss Sassy Pants had a blast selecting the flower
  • Tacky Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil with Eraser

Steps to Make Cactus Rock Garden:

  1. Rinse rocks off with water and dry.
  2. Paint each of the rocks and the inside and outside of the pot then let them dry.
  3. Using the thinner paint brush, decorate each rock and let dry.
  4. Cover each decorated rock with one coat of the Sparkle Mod Podge and let dry completely.
  5. Select your flower and completely remove the stem and any plastic. Using the Tacky Glue secure it to the selected rock.  Let it dry, then add additional glue in any areas that seem like the flower may not be fully secured to the rock and then let dry.
  6. Flip the pot over and on the bottom, write some sentiment that marks the holiday… we wrote “Father’s Day 2017 Love, Miss Sassy Pants and Moose” for an additional personal touch!
  7. Lightly pencil on the side of the pot “Our Dad Rocks”
  8. Then I utilized the kiddos’ pointer fingers covered in paint (aren’t I brave?!) to dot over the words and then I set it aside and let it fully dry.
  9. I let each kiddo pick a color to decorate the top and bottom of the pot with more finger polka dots, but feel free to get creative and do whatever you want, and then let it dry.
  10. Once the paint is fully dry, I used the Sparkle Mod Podge to seal the inside and outside of the pot. I wanted to make sure the kiddos’ beautiful and very thoughtful artwork was protected.

Assembling the Cactus Rock Garden:

  1. Fill the pot with the pebbles and then place your little cactus rocks into the pebbles. You may have to play around a little bit to get them to fit and stay exactly how you want them.
  2. I was not brave enough to wrap the gift, so we will just present the gift to daddy on Father’s Day by having it setup for him to see. Fingers crossed the kiddos don’t spill the beans prior to Father’s Day… they have a hard time keeping gifts secret!

Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial

Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial

Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial

Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial

A Lesson in How to Care for Others

This is the perfect project to discuss the topic of caring for others around us.  I utilized this project to discuss the great things their daddy does to make our life so wonderful.  We talked about him going to work so I get to stay at home with them, and how we have a home to live in because daddy works so hard, and we also touched on the nice things he does daily (reading stories, magic shows, going for bike rides, etc.) for the kiddos.  Then I turned the topic to what we could do to help take care of daddy.  I let them brainstorm and share the things that came to mind… picking up their toys, following directions, giving snuggles, etc.

The next thing I discussed was how we take care of plants.  Miss Sassy Pants is really into gardening and loves talking about it.  I thought this was the perfect time to discuss how plants grow, also the variety of plants that are out there, and how we take care of them in different ways.

The great thing about this lesson is that it is so adaptable.  You can talk about anyone or anything that your life is focusing on currently.  You could also talk about self-care with your kiddos.  I do suggest keeping your child’s age in mind and their abilities.  There is nothing worse than a fun project/lesson being ruined because it overwhelmed the kiddos and then they lost interest in doing it (I wish I could say I have never had this happen).

I hope you give this project and lesson a try with your little ones!  Plus, you get a wonderful handmade gift to give for Father’s Day or to the special person in your kiddos’ lives.  And as always, please feel free to share your experience or pictures of your completed project below.  Happy Monday!

Cheers to a Rocking Monday!


Cactus Rock Garden Tutorial
I will be sharing my tutorial on how to create Story Rocks. Story Rocks are a great way to encourage literacy all while having fun.

Story Rocks Tutorial

Good morning and Happy Monday!  Today I will be sharing my tutorial on how to create Story Rocks.  This Story Rocks Tutorial will be the first installment of my new series I’m calling Rocking Motherhood Mondays (great name, right?!).  Every Monday, I will post an activity, craft, or insight on various teaching methods to help engage and encourage you and your child through the journey of development and education.  My goal is to help you better prepare your child for their future all while having fun!  Now back to my current post about my tutorial on Story Rocks…

This idea for the Story Rocks came about a few weeks ago when my mother-in-law brought over a little gift for Miss Sassy Pants: Create A Story Cards (check them out on Amazon… they are amazing and great for long car rides), which my kiddo just loved.  The idea is that you draw cards from the deck and then you create a story using the pictures on the five cards you drew.  It is a lot of fun and allows the imagination to run wild.  Some of the stories my kiddo has come up with so far just blow me away.

Since the cards were such a hit, I decided that we could create our own using rocks.  Originally, I had planned to utilize an outside activity that would encourage us to go exploring to find rocks, but we were having such bad weather that I scrapped that idea and purchased crafting rocks instead (don’t judge).  Then we just decorated them however we wanted.  I did try to encourage a variety of decorations so each rock would be different, but other than that, I just let her do whatever.  To say this Story Rocks Tutorial is a blast is a complete understatement.  My daughter and I are both crafty and love anything that can include glue, glitter, and the color pink, but this activity doesn’t stop there.  There are endless possibilities, which makes it great for anybody… even those that don’t like glitter or for those who are NOT crafty!

Story Rocks Supplies:

  • Rocks
  • Stickers – do not use puffy stickers (as seen below) or stickers that do not fully fit on the rock! No matter how many tears are shed… those stickers won’t stay on the rocks!  Story Rocks Tutorial - Puffy Stickers that DON'T work!
  • Googly Eyes – Use the Tacky Glue to attach
  • Paint – I recommend a satin finish
  • 2 Paint Brushes – one for the Mod Podge and one for the paint
  • Mod Podge – sparkle
  • Sequins – I used the Tacky Glue to secure them to the rocks
  • Tacky Glue
  • Any other decorations that you can think of or already have on hand.

Tutorial Steps for Story Rocks:

Step 1:  Rinse the rocks with water then dry them off

Step 2:  Decorate… feel free to decorate all sides of the rock!

Step 3:  Mod Podge… I used the glitter Mod Podge and as you can tell they look awesome!

Step 4:  Let them COMPLETELY dry

Step 5:  Start creating fun stories together!

Here are some of our Story Rocks:

Story Rocks - Dreams and Caffeine

Story Rocks - Dreams and Caffeine

Meet Roxy the Rock… seriously, how adorable is she?!  And then there is our buried treasure rock that is covered in “diamonds.”

Story Rocks - Dreams and Caffeine


This project is ideal for any age… all you must do is adjust the difficulty for the age you are working with.  Remember that you’re dealing with heavy rocks, so if your little one likes throw things – beware!  Also, don’t choose supplies that could be choking hazards if that is an issue for your kids’ ages.  Since my focus was for a toddler, I utilized stickers, and crafting supplies that were easier for her to manipulate independently.  I also encouraged her to do the work so that she was practicing her small motor control.  And lastly, it taught her patience to wait to play with the rocks after they completely dried (this was a challenging task even for me)!

Story Rocks are a great way to encourage literacy.  Literacy is how we communicate with each other in our society.  The ability to read, write, speak, and understand are all parts that make up literacy.  Through storytelling, your child will build on their literacy skills.  Learning and understanding word order, comprehension, and narration through telling stories… all while having fun!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial for creating Story Rocks!  Stop back by next Monday for the next installment of Rocking Motherhood Mondays.

Cheers to Education!


I will be sharing my tutorial on how to create Story Rocks. Story Rocks are a great way to encourage literacy all while having fun.
Book Club Meet #3 - The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Book Club Meet #3 – The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Welcome to Dreams and Caffeine’s third book club meeting!  Below are a list of discussion points regarding The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.  Feel free to jump in and hit all of the discussion points or only the ones you like in the comment section below.  The next book selection will be posted on Friday, November 25th, since Thanksgiving is on Thursday.

  1. Did you enjoy the book and why, and would you recommend it to a friend?
  2. It is clear from the opening chapter of the book that Devlin and Lou have divergent plans for the future.  What do you think drew them together in the first place?  Did you find Devlin, with his good looks and promise of financial stability, alluring or stifling?
  3. Both Al and Lou have fond memories of their grandmothers’ cooking, from Luella’s famous coconut cake to the rusty cast-iron skillet that Al holds dear.  What are some of your favorite culinary memories or traditions?  How have they evolved -or not- over the years?
  4. As Lou plays tour guide to Al and opens him up to a wealth of new experiences, she gradually smooths over his gruff exterior.  How does your perception of Al change throughout the book?  Was there a specific moment where you started to find him more likable?
  5. Devlin says to Lou, “I may shape and bend the facts in my favor or make tactful omissions, but I don’t lie.”  Were you surprised to hear Devlin’s explanation for the scantily clad intern in his apartment?  Do you think he was telling the whole truth?
  6. What do you think about Al’s decision to keep his identity a secret from Lou, particularly after he learns that Luella’s is her restaurant?  Are his lies more forgivable than Devlin’s behavior?  How would you have handled the situation if you were in Al’s shoes?
  7. Gertrude emphasizes the importance of second changes to Lou.  “Don’t let your heart get too hard,” she says.  “[Al] made you happy.  That was not an act.  Try to forgive him- promise me.”  Do you agree with Gertrude’s beliefs that a person deserves forgiveness as long as his or her intentions are good?  What personal experiences have shaped your own attitude toward second chances?
  8. While the story of Luella’s is fictional, its not uncommon for a new restaurant to fail because of negative press – particularly in the age of crowd-sourced online reviews.  Did the book make you more sympathetic to the plight of struggling business owners and the impact of online reviews?

I hope you join me for next month’s book club… I will announce the new title on Friday this week, since Thursday is Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving!


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Fall Bucket List for Toddlers - Dreams and Caffeine

Fall Bucket List for Toddlers


Fall is my favorite season and so I thought I would share our family’s Fall Bucket List for Toddlers.  I hope you can read this and try some of these ideas as well as think of many others!

Fall Bucket List for Toddlers

  1. Go for a walk and collect leaves of various colors.  While on your walk discuss the different colors and why the leaves are falling off the trees.  You can also touch on the month, season, and holidays that will be coming up.  This is a great opportunity to turn a simple activity educational.
  1. Create a fall-themed sensory tub.
  1. Go to a local farm and pick fall harvest items (apples, pumpkins, squash, etc.)  You can then go home and wash it together and prepare it for a snack or a meal for the whole family to enjoy.
  1. Go to a pumpkin patch.
  1. Catch a hay ride with the whole family.
  1. Paint faces on pumpkins.  While painting faces on the pumpkins discuss feelings.  You can have your toddler show you different faces and how they feel when they make that face.  Remember to keep it simple.
  1. Decorate your porch for fall.  My kiddo loves decorating, so this is a ton of fun for our family!
  1. Bundle up and play in the rain.
  1. Make cookies together… or your child’s favorite treat.
  1. Cozy up on the couch with the treats you made and together watch Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest.
  1. Read Little Blue Truck’s Halloween by Alice Schertle.
  1. Create a “Thankful Plate.”  Pick up a glass plate and using paint or Sharpies write or draw things that your kiddo is thankful for… then bake it in the oven and put it out on display for everyone to see.
  1. Put together treat bags and deliver them to your local servicemen (fire fighters, police officers, doctors, etc.).  Explain what these people do to help others and that it is important to thank them for their hard work and dedication.
  1. Fill the bath tub and have a finger painting bubble bath.
  1. Make applesauce together with fresh apples.
  1. Rake leaves and clean up the yard together.
  1. Help your little one put on a little song and dance recital in your living room.
  1. Have art time and create pictures of the four seasons.  Discuss the weather and how we dress for each season.  The possibilities are endless.
  1. Create puppets and put on a puppet show.
  1. Make fall flavored Playdoh then play with fall themed cookie cutters.
  1. Create an ABC coloring that is fall-themed.  If you’re not super artsy, just google or Pinterest the idea and lots of things will pop up that should help you with this one.
  1. Create a fall squishy bag.  To add extra fun, tape it to a window to let light in it.
  1. Go bobbing for apples.
  1. Craft a musical instrument.  Take an empty bottle (water bottle, etc.) and fill with corn kernels and then hot glue the lid on and have a great time.
  1. Carve a pumpkin.
  1. Bake pumpkin seeds then enjoy them together.
  1. Save pumpkin seeds to plant a pumpkin for next year.
  1. Do some Halloween Yoga for kids.  Great way to unwind.
  1. Go for a drive in the car and enjoy the fall scenery.
  1. Plant a tree.

I hope you enjoyed my list.  I had a blast creating the list and my whole family is super excited about it.  Be sure to leave a comment with any other ideas to be added to the Fall Bucket List for Toddlers.