Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Family Fun List

Since fall has arrived here in the Midwest we thought we should have a fall family fun list of things to do just as we did for the summer.  We thoroughly enjoyed checking off things this summer we decided to make a fall one as well.  I can see a seasonal tradition being made...  Hope you enjoy your fall as much as we have.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Summer Fun 2013

So to make our summer vacation more fun we made our own family version of the ever popular bucket list.  Every member of our family weighed in and this is what we came up with. 

Hope your summer was filled with fun.  Looking forward to making a fall list.

Teacher Gifts

The end of the school year can be a very busy time, however I love to make gifts for my kid's teachers.  Unfortunately, this can be a very daunting task even with the best of intentions.  I had seen these cute little tags on Pinterest which said "Thanks for helping me bloom"  which were perfect for my 3 year old's preschool teachers.  I found these cute little Gerbera Daisy's (which are my absolute favorite) and wrapped them with left over black and white polka dot fabric I had.

Then I attached little homemade tags which he had signed. 

I loved how these turned out.  Simple, sweet and inexpensive...absolutely perfect.  These would be perfect for many occasions such as Mother's Day, housewarming gifts or a simple get well gift.

Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you here again soon.

A First Communion Celebration

Phew...finally I am able to make time for blogging.  Time slips away so quickly when the kids are home for the summer.  Enough with the excuses and on with the post.  In the spring our oldest son made his First Communion and of course after the ceremony we celebrated with family back at our home.  I was looking for decorations and everything I found was very feminine and this just would not do.  So off to the craft store I went in search of inspiration.  I loved how fresh and simple the colors gray and white were.  So I made a banner with a variety of gray scrapbook paper and free printable letters I found here at this wonderful site.

My apologies for the crummy picture.  I often forget how much the sunlight can effect a photo.  For simple party favors I purchased water bottles and printed labesl with our son's initials and the date of his Communion then attached a tag with a poem by Shel Silverstein (a favorite in our home).

Here is a close up of the tags that were attached.
Thanks for stopping in to see what is new. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter Gift Basket

So today we were lucky enough to have warm enough temps to be outside with the kids, which was quite welcome after the recent blast of cold air and snow in our forecast for tomorrow.  Easter is only a week away and I wanted to share with you a fun and easy and also inexpensive gift idea.  I made these flower pot gift baskets for the kid's cousins filled with some fun Easter treats.  First, I used chalkboard paint to paint a shape on the front of the pot with a homemade stencil.  Since the stencil was not perfect I choose to outline the shape with some simple acylic paint using only the end of a Q-tip, which actually was great for this purpose.  Then I filled the basket with some paper shreds and added the goodies.  I used Cracker Jacks, little bags of Craisins, fruit leather, sidewalk chalk, bubbles and of course a package of seeds to go with the little clay pots.

I had  purchased little wooden shapes from Michael's and painted them with chalkboard paint and hot glued a popsicle stick to the back to use as a plant marker.  Wrapped the whole kit and kaboodle in cellophane wrap and tied it with a bow.  Super easy gift basket for all of the little ones.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pizza Garden Pot

If you are anything like me you are always looking for cute and thoughtful gift ideas.  A couple of years ago I decided to make Pizza Garden Pots for Father's Day gifts.  This was incredibly simple and super inexpensive, two of my favorite things.  All of our kids were able to help out with this gift.  We purchased a fairly large clay pot from the garden center at our local hardware store and filled it with potting soil.  We chose to plant a tomato plant, bell pepper plant,  basil and oregano; obviously this is where you can be as creative as you like.  Then we wrote on the pot with chalk, tied it with a big bow and attached a card with our favorite pizza dough recipe.  My only advice is don't choose too big of a container as it would be hard to move, however the choice is yours.

This gift could be made for anyone and altered to suit their tastes.  Another easy idea would be a salsa garden or pico de gallo garden.  I cannot wait for spring to get back out in our garden.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Cookies & Milk Baby Shower

I am so excited to share this baby shower with you.  I cannot begin to tell you how much fun my mom and I had planning this baby shower for my wonderful sister-in-law.  We were looking for a sweet and simple gender neutral theme.  So naturally we started our search on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea of cookies and milk.  Who doesn't love cookies?  We found the most adorable invitations on Etsy by Libby Lane Press.  We couldn't have been any happier with the service or the invitations.  Aren't they just the cutest?

The Decorations

We had so much fun making our own decorations.  We choose to go with the black and white polka dots to match our invitations.  We made a banner which read "Udderly in Love" from black and white scrapbook papers, twine and black clothes pins.  We found a site with a free printable to print the banner letters.  We were quite pleased with how it turned out.

We found black and white polka dot bandanas at Hobby Lobby and used these on the tables.  We used one to make a slip cover for the chair for our guest of honor.  To make this I cut 4 strips of ribbon in 24" lengths and sewed them on to the bandana edges.  My mom also made a cute little bow and pinned that in the center.  Just place over the back of the chair and tie the ribbons...voila...super cute slipcover.

The table was set with a variety of different serving dishes (courtesy of my mom) to display all of the cookies.   I couldn't help, but snap a few pictures while we were getting ready...

Here is the table all set and ready for our guests.  We choose to make some cookies and purchased others.   We found the adorable little chalkboard at Michael's in the wedding aisle.

Of course when having cookies, one must have milk and coffee.   My mom found these darling little milk bottles and paper straws which were used to serve the milk.  Drinking milk was never so much fun. 

The Games

We thought it would be fun to have a couple of games.  The first of which was a Baby Guessing game.  We asked all of our guests to email a baby picture of themselves around age one, or bring a picture with them.  Once I had received the pictures, I would edit them to black and white which made the game more challenging.  We made the frames from photo cards found at the craft store.  Using a black stamp pad and a pencil eraser we added the polka dots, which we saw here.  The bulletin board was covered in black and white wrapping paper to match.  To number each photo I used a 1" circle punch to cut out black polka dots from scrapbook paper and used white number stickers, sadly I didn't get a photo with each of the pictures numbered.  We made a master list of all of the guests who had their picture included and then had blank number slips for each guest to enter their best guesses.  This game proved challenging, but a lot of fun.  The winner of this game was awarded the Smart Cookie cupcake.

At the end of the party all of the guests were to take home their framed baby picture.  Our other game was a simple game of guess how many cookies in the cookie jar.  We filled a glass jar with mini Oreo cookies.  The lucky winner of course took home the cookie jar.  Found this idea on Pinterest as well.


As a gift for the parents-to-be, we had a copy of If You Give A Mouse a Cookie for all of the guests to sign and offer their best wishes to the new baby.  So many cute wishes were written to the baby to be.

Thank You

As a thank you to all of our guests, we made what else, but jumbo chocolate chip cookies.  The tags were purchased from the same Etsy shop as the invitations.  We packaged the cookies in a paper CD envelope.  Found the idea for this here.


A huge thank you to all of our guests who braved a horrible ice storm that day so they could join us to celebrate with the parents-to-be.  Thank goodness my brother and father were here to escort each guest safely to their cars and keep the walkways salted.  Such a fun party to plan, and could easily be altered to suit any party.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Homemade Marshmallows

So I thought to celebrate our snow day this week that we could attempt to make homemade marshmallows.  I wasn't all that confident (I rarely am when using a candy thermometer), however I was pleasantly surprised.  They were super easy and really good.  I used the following recipe from Betty Crocker Easy Peppermint Marshmallows.  I only made a couple of changes.  I used Vanilla extract in place of the Peppermint extract and did not use the food coloring.  They were met with rave reviews. 

Enjoy with hot cocoa or all by themselves.  Such a great treat for our snow day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ninjago Birthday Party

Well, I thought that I would start out with a birthday party we did for our oldest son.  Last summer our soon to be 7 year old asked for a Ninjago themed birthday party.  My first reaction was great, seeing as at that time there were no party decorations available at stores.  So I had to think outside of the box and be creative, thank goodness for Pinterest.  I thought, "I can do this" and this is the party that came from many hours spent looking for ideas on Pinterest, talking over with my very creative friend and much brainstorming.  Hope you enjoy and I do apologize as it is a long post.

So if you have a boy around this age I am sure you have heard of the Lego Ninjago theme.  I choose to go with an Amazing Race type game with the Ninjago theme.  We divided the boys up into 4 teams of 2 which worked out perfectly as there are four ninja.  We had Team Cole, Team Kai, Team Jay and Team Zane.  Each team was given their envelope which contained each of the seven challenges (7 challenges for a 7th bithday).  To help prevent any downtime at each game, I had listed each of their challenges in a different order.

The Challenges were as follows:

The Bubble Challenge
For this challenge one teammate blew a bubble while the other sat across from them at the table holding a plastic cup and tried to catch the bubble without popping it.  They did enjoy this challenge and would switch so each of them got to try to catch the bubbles.


The Temple of Fire Challenge
For this challenge the kids were given two stones each, which were  stone shapes cut out of black craft foam from the craft store.  They had to lay them down and step on them and pick them up as they went moving themselves toward the finish line.

Beware of the Snake Pit

This challenge proved to be a favorite.  We placed a balance beam on top of plastic crates I found at Target.  This was then positioned over a small pool filled with water and of course snakes found at the Dollar Tree.  Both teammates had to cross over successfully before advancing to the next challenge.  I do believe many of them fell into the pit on purpose, but who can tell these things.

The Ninjago Buckets Challenge
This was the classic game of tossing the bean bag into the buckets.  Their scores had to add up to 7 to move on.

Tea Time with Sensei Wu
This challenge proved much easier for the boys than I had thought, but was funny nonetheless.  They were to drink a cup of tea with out using their hands. For Sensei's tea I used Arizona ice tea, for the cups we used Dixie cups.

The Skeleton Battle
For this challenge the boys had to use their golden swords and work as a team to move the skeletons to the finish line.  The swords were made out of foam pool noodles, found at the Dollar Tree, that I had cut in half and doctored up with some black duct tape.  Here is where I found the idea.  My husband got creative and drew skeletons on the white balloons.

Shurikens of Ice Freeze Tag
This by far was the most popular of all of the challenges.  This was saved until the end and all of the teams competed against one another.  Each player was given a spray bottle filled with ice cold water that I had found at the Dollar Tree (sorry I did not get a picture of these).  The object of the game was to not be sprayed with the water and become frozen.  However, if you were frozen you were still able to freeze other players still in the game.  Needless to say, everyone was throughly enjoying getting very wet.  It turned into a super fun water game on a really warm summer day.

As I previously mentioned there were no store bought options available for any Ninjago decorations.  So I was left to come up with some homemade options and was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out.  First, I wanted a Happy Birthday Banner, as no party is complete without a banner announcing the celebration.  I crafted mine from 4x6 sheets of scrapbook paper, grosgrain ribbon and some stencils I found at the craft store.  I then used some clipart found online of the characters and voila...a Ninjago Birthday banner.

There were some great balloon ideas on Pinterest, like this one here which was my inspiration.  I purchased some punch balls from the Dollar Tree and made sure to get the ninja colors.  I made faces from paper,  which I cannot claim as my own, my good friend Cheri made these for her sons birthday party and shared her crafty secrets with me.  First, I made a template of the shape of the face for the ninjas and cut these out of yellow wrapping paper.  Then I used a circle punch and hole punch for the eyes, made the eyebrows  and then glued them on.  I used clear contact paper to laminate them to protect them from all of the water games.  This same method was used to create all of the ninja faces on the buckets and favor bags, I just changed the size of the faces to fit the surface they were being used for.

While the kids took a break for lunch and for cake we played the Guess how many Legos are in the jar, which I had seen here.  In keeping with the Ninjago theme, all of the Legos were the ninja colors.

As all good parties have to end, this one did too.  To say thanks to all of his guests, we made little Ninjago favor bags using red lunch bag style favor bags from the party store using the same ninja faces.  Just folded over the top edge, punch a couple of holes, added a thank you tag and put some ribbon to tie it all together.

We also made Ninjago water bottles using a free printable bottle wrap that I found here.  We attached a Kool-Aid packet and it was another cute little thank you for his guests.

Our son had a wonderful time celebrating with his friends and for this we felt we were successful in hosting his Ninjago themed birthday party.  Thanks for reading, as I know this was a long post.  Hope you have fun planning your next party.  If you have any questions with regards to anything I may have not throughly explained please feel free to ask.