Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Advent Calendar Fun!!

Well Thanksgiving has come to an end and now it is time for the month long celebration of Christmas in our house.

One of my favorite things as a kid was the countdown to Christmas…….

Over the past few years we have filled our advent calendar with candies for the kids which is pretty much sugar overkill.  With all of the cookies, cakes and candies of the holidays we really don’t need another opportunity to fill the kiddos with sugar daily.

This year I am going to try something a little different and I am hoping it turns into a new tradition for our family.

I decided to fill the advent calendar with family activities.  There were 2 things that I had to take into consideration when coming up with activities:

  1. 95% of the activities could not be too time consuming.  December is crazy busy and I wanted to make sure that it would be easy to fit the activity into our schedule.
  2. The activities had to be something that would keep the kids interested (If the kids are not buying it then it isn’t going to happen)

It took me most of the day to think of 24 different activities but I did it!!  Luckily we had a few things already planned that fit right into this project.

Here is the list that took me all day to create……

  1. Make Hot Chocolate…..LOTS of marshmallows
  2. Play Ball with Sookie (the family dog)
  3. Turn up the music and dance, dance, dance!!!
  4. Sing Christopher (our elf) a Christmas song
  5. Anna (my 6-year-old) reads a book to the family
  6. See mom for a special treat (I have a small toy for the kids)
  7. Play the hot and cold game
  8. Christmas Movie Night, Evan’s choice (my 2-year-old)
  9. Family after dinner walk!!!
  10. Family Hug!!!  Everyone gets hugs even pets!!!
  11. Mommy reads a book to the family
  12. Zoo Lights!!! (this will be our annual trip to the Zoo Christmas lights)
  13. Make Cookies!!! (another already planned activity with my mom and my sister)
  14. Write a letter or draw a picture and give to someone special
  15. Play a game (Anna’s choice)
  16. See dad for a special treat (another small toy)
  17. Make something special for the tree
  18. Daddy reads a book to the family
  19. Christmas Movie Night, Anna’s choice
  20. Pancakes for dinner!!!
  21. Play with Lilo (the family cat)
  22. Christmas Movie Night, Mom and Dad’s choice
  23. Scavenger Hunt!!!  (I have a small scavenger hunt planned in the house with a small prize at the end.)
  24. Leave treats out for Santa

I put all of the activities on scraps of paper:

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I stuffed the papers into the advent calendar.  I was careful to put the planned activities in the right dates and the less time consuming stuff on busy days.

The advent calendar is all ready to be hung on the wall:

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Things get so busy around this time of year and we get so caught up in all of the busy work that we miss out on quality time together.  The kids are growing up so fast and I really want to make sure we treasure this time with them.  I know eventually they are going to be too cool for family hugs and family dance parties so we are going to live it up while we can!!

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I am really excited to start this on Monday!!

Halloween Party Fun

I had the opportunity to organize my very first children’s Halloween Party this year for my daughter’s Daisy Scout troop.

I was a bit nervous and excited……this being the first party I have organized for someone other than my kid’s

First thing I wanted to take care of were the games/entertainment…….I hit up Pinterest first to see what was out there.  The first kid’s activity that caught my eye was the “Poke a Pumpkin” game.  This activity was all over Pinterest and looked super fun and easy to put together.

Poke a Pumpkin Project List:

  • Heavy Cardboard
  • Orange Plastic Cups
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Orange Tissue Paper
  • Rubber Bands
  • Treats to fill the cups
  • Markers
  • Copy Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick

I started by gluing the cups to the cardboard in the shape of a pumpkin.

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Once the glue is dried fill the cups with treats (I filled mine with spider rings and candies) then cover the top of the cup with orange tissue paper secured to the cup with a rubber band.

I then made a stem and leaves on a piece of copy paper, cut them out and glued them to the board.

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The kids take turns poking the pumpkin and they get to keep whatever treats they can find.

For Game #2 I had seen a witch hat ring toss game that I liked when doing research.  But when I started putting it together my daughter had other ideas for a “Find the Frog” game which I thought was even better.

Find the Frog Project List:

  • 2 Poster Board Sheets
  • Black Paint
  • Colored Paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Plastic Frogs
  • Stapler
  • Glue Sticks

I started by cutting rectangles (the size of a comic book) from one of the poster board sheets (5 are needed).  I then folded them into a cone shape and stapled them into place.  Once I had all of my hat tops made I spray painted them with black paint.

While waiting for my hat tops to dry I started working on my game board.  First I made 5 black circles on the board as the hat bottoms.  These circles need to be about an inch or two in diameter bigger than the hat tops.  I then drew a few frogs on some green paper and cut/pasted them to the board as decoration.  once the hat tops were dried I pasted a buckle to each of them.

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To play the game, you place a frog under a couple of the hats.  The kids take turns trying to find the frogs.  If they find a frog they win a prize……or the frog if you have enough.

The third and final game I came up with on my own.  It is called Tricks or Treats.

Tricks or Treats Project List:

  • Poster Board
  • Paper Lunch Bags
  • Glue Stick
  • Markers or Paints
  • Scissors
  • Treats
  • A pebble or something small for the kids to throw into the bag

I started by cutting down the paper lunch bags.  I took about 5 inches off of the top of all of the bags.  I then painted different spooky words on the bags.  once they were dried I glued them to the poster board.  To creep up the board a bit I also made some spiders to glue onto the game board.  I then put treats into some of the bags and tricks in others (a piece of paper that says “TRICK”….however after the fact I later thought about putting a silly joke on the trick papers….maybe next time)

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The kids stand back from the game board and try to toss the pebble into the bags.  If they get the pebble into the bag they get whatever is in it.  It can be a “Trick” or a “Treat”

Once the games were done it was time to work on the decorations.  I found the coolest paper candy corn banner tutorial from “The Pin Junkie” and had to make it.

Candy Corn Banner Project List:

  • Paper Plates
  • Orange and Yellow Paints
  • Paint Brush
  • Yarn
  • Hole Punch

I started by painting orange around the lip of the plate and then a yellow circle next to the orange. (I recommend all white plates to do this project, mine had designs on them because I was using what I had on hand.)

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After drying I cut them into triangles and had a bunch of candy corns……

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After I had my candy corns cut out I punched two holes in the top of each corn and then threaded my yarn through them.

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For my next decoration I made “Little Jacks”

Little Jacks Project List:

  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Black Marker

Take a marker and draw jack o lantern faces on them……super easy to make and the kids can take them home.

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Since the other Moms were bringing the food the only thing I had left to figure out were the drinks.  I thought about putting out a punch bowl and making spooky punch but the thought of how messy that was going to be changed my mind.  I took the easy route and bought some big bottles of Hawaiian Punch and gave them a new label with creepy names.  My daughter named the blue punch all on her own

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The party was a success.  The girls all seemed to have had a good time.  I can’t wait for the opportunity to plan another party for the troop.  We have talked about doing a tea party in the spring……I can’t wait!!

 

 

 

Costumes made with LOVE………

I LOVE fall……and with fall comes Halloween and with Halloween comes trick or treating and costumes!!

When I was young, I remember being so excited to dress up and march up and down the streets of our grandparent’s neighborhood ringing doorbells anticipating who was going to answer (a lot of people in the neighborhood would dress up) and what treats we were going to get (would we get a full sized bar?  Yes, sometimes there were full sized bars…..even in the 80’s).

After a night of trick or treating we would head back to our grandparent’s house and dump all of our loot on the floor (of course Mom would have to sort through it first…….you know, to make sure that no a-hole put needles or razor blades in the candies).  After we got the go ahead, it was time to count our candy and make trades.

My sister and I have trick or treated over the past 30 years in the same neighborhood.  Of course we are no longer the ones trick or treating anymore……it is our kids turn.  Every year we get geared up to head out with our husbands, our mom and our kids in tow.  It is an event!

Homemade costumes are my favorite.  My mom would bust out the make up and whatever props she could find is what we used.  I remember being a hobo or a clown several times over the years.

circa 1980 something clowns (I am the one in the wig)…..

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Well my sister and I have continued the tradition of homemade costumes over the years.  With a trip to the thrift shop and/or craft store you can be just about anything.

Check out my sister and I a decade or so later (I am the cheesing vampire)……

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Now we get to make our kids costumes (at least for now).

Here are a couple of my favorites that my sister came up with for her kids.

My nephew was the cutest Chucky ever!!

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And this one was super cool…..my nephew as Stewie….

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Here are a few that I have made for my kids…….

My daughter was really into Monster High a few years back so we picked up a couple of pairs of green tights and drew some stitches on them, grabbed one of dad’s ties and we had our very own Frankie Stein (luckily she already had a dress similar to Frankie’s in the closet so this one was pretty easy)……

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My son was one year old last Halloween so we were thinking that it was probably going to be the last year he wouldn’t have an opinion about his costume.  We couldn’t resist making him the Key Master from Ghostbusters.  I found a plastic colander, painted it silver and added a bunch of old wires with a pair of glasses we had left over from an old Velma costume…….

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My daughter was obsessed with Bellatrix last year so that is who she wanted to be.  We bought a dress at the thrift shop.  I cut it up in a few places and laced it back together.  I also tried my hand at making a corset.  She picked a stick from the yard as her wand and painted it herself.  We later sprayed her hair black (which was a pain to get out of her blonde hair)

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This year we are going to tackle the Joker and Harley Quinn.  I have not started on the Joker yet but we have Harley Quinn about 75% done.  All that is left to do is work out the make up.

We started my daugher’s costume by making Harley’s mallet out of an oatmeal container and a big stick.

My daughter even helped paint it…….

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I bought a dress from the thrift shop and hot glued a couple of diamonds I cut from some fabric (yes I hot glued them…..I don’t sew….yet).  However I did make an exception and sewed (poorly I might add) some ribbon to a pair of gloves to make them look like jester gloves.

This is our 75% complete Harley costume….

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and one more picture…….

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Please don’t get me wrong I have purchased plenty of costumes.  I couldn’t pass up the cute little pumpkin or ladybug the first couple of Halloweens for my daughter but I have found that I really enjoy making my kids costumes.  It is exciting and fun to have the kids pick what they want to be and then try to figure out how to make it.  They may not be the best quality but they come from the heart.

I am sure the day is going to come very soon when they don’t want mom making their costumes anymore, so I am going to enjoy every minute of them being excited for now about what I can make for them.