So if you are planning a get together for toddlers, teens or adults balloons are always a VERY easy way to decorate. Fill your family room with them and let the streamers hang low. I suggest picking 2 colors only to coordinate with your theme. I love this picture from Martha Stewart - silver and white - perfect for a New Years Eve celebration or a birthday party! Would also be great in black and gold! Pass out some horns and voila - instant party! (be careful with children under 6 with balloons and popping)
Another neat way to use balloons at a New Years Eve party is to create a balloon drop. You can purchase a balloon net at a Party Store or at Amazon. DIY using a sheet or plastic tarp with balloons and attach to ceiling lights, ceiling fan etc and leave one side available to untie. More specific directions here. Don't forget to add some candy and confetti inside the drop!
While visiting family this past weekend my aunt asked me what we were doing for New Year's Eve. ummm Not much, we don't have a babysitter so we are probably going to dinner with friends and our kids - around 6pm. I hope to stay awake for the ball drop! I love fireworks so maybe if I watch London or Australia that will be good enough.
So now that you are parents what do you do? go out and leave the kids with a babysitter, throw a kid friendly party at home, or nothing????
My children don't really understand the holiday yet but I did some research on things that you could do with your kids to celebrate!!
I love this idea from familyfun.com At midnight (or better yet 7:00pm est as Big Ben strikes midnight in London) do the Bubble Wrap Stomp! Be sure to buy large bubble wrap from you local office supply store, lay it on the ground and countdown to 1 then everyone jump on the sheets of bubble wrap. The sounds are just like fireworks or the popping of champagne!!
Here are some cute FREE printables found over at Catch my Party - if you are doing a party and need some resolution cards, cupcake toppers, banner etc.
You could also get a bunch of bells (left over from Christmas), hand them out and ring away! Here is a cute banner also from Catch My Party. Banner found here
So gone are the days where you leave out carrots for the reindeer now its oatmeal! We put together a little bag of oatmeal and added some glitter (could also use sprinkles) - This is so the Reindeer would see it glimmer in the moon light and find our house!
Christmas Eve we went outside and sprinkled it on the lawn. The kids were having a blast, Vanessa dumped the bag and Gavin took out handfuls. Either way it was cute to see them have so much fun.
On the way home from church Gavin, my 3 year old says to us - 'how do the reindeer get the food on the ground if they land on the roof?' HAHA we said they fly down and eat while Santa fills the stockings they they fly back up and get Santa from the chimney! Smartie!!
Here is a cute saying to add to your little bags of food - great to make for your children's friends or to hand out to the neighbors. For a free printable check out TomKat Studio
After putting on Santa jammies the kids put out chocolate chip cookies and apple juice for Santa.
(side note; one of the Santa's we visited told Gavin he wanted chocolate chip cookies. Gavin also told me Santa gets too much milk and wanted to give him apple juice)
As I was perusing Pinteret this week I came across this cute pic from Kitchen Fun with my 3 Sons and decided I needed to do this for my kids. We all know making fun/cute food makes it much more interesting to eat right?
I wanted to wait till Christmas Eve morning but couldn't resist!
Here is my version of reindeer pancakes, no fruit, cool whip or bacon-I used red M&M, raisins and pretzels!
My son and I just made Peppermint playdoh for the kids in his nursery school class. It was very easy to make, you have all the ingredients in your pantry AND it was so much fun.
I got the idea from Artful Parent. She used adorable ball jars but I decided that in dealing with 3 year olds plastic was the way to go. I found these ball plastic containers right next to the ball jars in the grocery store. They happen to have green lids! Awesome.
I added a candy cane topper and a sticker that said Peppermint Playdoh, Merry Christmas Love G.
Voila - easy gift for friends and also an awesome favor idea at your next birthday party.
Ohhh the possibilities.
Think of the colors, the packaging....:)
If you decide to make this let me know - would love to hear your creative ideas.
Yes you can buy peppermint bark at Homegoods, Target or Whole Foods but you can also make Chocolate Peanut bark that is easy, fun and perfect for little hands to help you break apart and bag up for friends, neighbors, teachers and babysitters!
All you need is Almond bark (vanilla or chocolate), unsalted peanuts, some crushed up candy canes or any other candy pieces you want to add. I found the bark at Giant and Target.
If you have a double boiler that is best. Put 4-5 cubes in the double boiler (after water is boiling), melt then spread out on wax paper. Then sprinkle on top of chocolate peanuts, candy canes, m&m etc. Let set up about an hour then break apart.
You can package them in candy bags, boxes or reusable plastic ware. Add a bow and voila a perfect last minute gift!
My kids are getting lots of holiday cards from their friends. When they are not carrying it around I thought they could have their own holder to display. Just for them, in a snowman shape. Following are instructions on how to make it.
embroidery rings - 2 different sizes
Trace your clothes pins on to the scrap book paper and cut out.
Put mod podge on the clothes pin, put paper piece on and let dry 2-5 mins,
then add a coat of mod podge to the top to set the paper.
Paint your rings in what ever color you want, I choose red.
Glue pieces together and hang on wall - voila. I originally thought these were going to be 2 ornaments but when my son saw them he said 'Mommy is this a snowman?' 'why yes yes it is!!'
Salt +Snow!? Well I wanted to create some simple, diy and inexpensive decor for the holiday season! I love to decorate the house, 3 trees, lots of wreaths and lots of Santa's! But I needed something for a window shelf above my kitchen sink. This can actually stay up till February!
Snow filled glass candles -do you have some Ball Jars or baby jars or even some sauce jars laying around? Here is an EASY way to spruce up a mantle or window sill.
Items you need: ball jars, kosher salt, water, ribbon (optional)
sprinkle jars with water and shake excess out (less is better)
pour kosher salt into jars along sides and then excess will fill bottom
We had our family picture take over the weekned at home in front of our Christmas tree! I am so excited to have our tree and stockings in the pictures. Our kids actually did awesome and I think a few smiles were caught.
I was reading up on tips to take pictures (since I am no professional). Thought I would share them with you and hopefully they will be helpful in taking your holiday picture or for Christmas morning.
8-Turn on lights, open curtains - let as much natural light in as possible.
7-Timing - after kids are fed and of course not too tired.
6-Give them something to hold on to or catch them as they are opening a present. Looking at the camera is not necessary. Use wrapped gifts, small chairs, ornaments, stockings etc.
5-Get down on their level (yes that could mean laying on the floor)
4- If they are getting ansy how about giving them a candy cane or lollipop?
3-Put them inside a box and give them tissue paper.
2-Take your flash off and move them 6-10 feet away - the tree lights will be blurry and the childs face will be prominent.
and my #1 advice is to talk to your kids, prep them for what you expect. "Later today we are having our picture taken, Ok - are we ready for some fun smiles with daddy? Lets get close and smile, can you hug your sister now, show mommy the angel on the tree, where is your stocking? do you want the candy cane I promised you"
This will be our first year of 'writing' to Santa. I am not sure how much Gavin understands but he is definitely 'getting' our Elf-Bob so hopefully we can start this tradition of sending Santa a note and receiving one back. We saw a Santa form letter at Macy's today and he got excited.
If you want a special North Pole postmark follow these instructions.
-affix postage to an addressed envelope (this can be letter from Santa or all your holiday cards)
-package in a larger envelope, priority Mail etc
Here is the official address to send Santa a letter, must be received by Dec 10 to be delivered back by Christmas- so mail them out ASAP! There is no charge for this except for your postage.
North Pole Holiday Cancellation
4141 Postmark Drive
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998
How about a video from Santa from Portable North Pole- very clever - you fill in the information (age, city, wish list, naughty or nice and pictures) and they email you a video from Santa. I will play this for my kids a few days before Christmas.
I know we are all getting ready for the holidays but I thought I would share a baby shower that I designed.
The mommy to be didn't know the baby's gender and we wanted the shower to be modern but baby so we did a combo of polka dots and prams but spiced it up with yellow and teal. Martha Stewart Paper flowers hung from the ceiling and a clothesline of onsies hung from the restaurants mantle. Instead of the traditional shower games there were two fun stations. 1-write your advice for new mom and baby 2-decorate with stamps on onsies.
Guests were greeted with a onsie 'flag' and welcomed with Izzy drinks. The menu was a circle tucked into mini felt diapers, and the favor was a pram shaped paper seeds.
I really enjoyed designing this party - hope you enjoyed viewing pictures of it.
So our Elf Bob arrived over the weekend and I was talking to some friends and they didn't know who or what the Elf was about so I thought I would share with your our experiences and encourage you to check it out. Its a great Christmas tradition to start and maybe one day will help your child to believe for just one more year.
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition includes a cute little Elf and Book that explains the story. Basically the Elf arrives (when ever you want, we do it the weekend after Thanksgiving) and you read the story to your child. Your child names the Elf and he watches over and reports back to Santa the children's good or bad behavior.
The book says you can't touch the Elf and the Elf can't talk to you but you can certainly talk to the Elf and tell him what you want and he will go tell Santa. You can get the Elf with blue or brown eyes and even with a cute little skirt. You can officially adopt him on their official website and stay tuned for another CBS viewing of the movie.
Parents move him around and even have him play fun games on the kids. Get creative - I have seen awesome ideas on Pinterest like have him hang from the ceiling fan, make snow angels in flour, ride a toy truck and TP the Christmas tree.
It's important to remember what we are thankful for on Thanksgiving - to encourage kids to express their thankfulness have them write a single word on a cut out paper leaf, have the entire family do this then hang them on a tree (a tree branch stuck down in a flower pot as seen on familyfun.com or BHG)
With little ones - you can talk to them about being thankful, even if its for mommy and daddy or his toy truck.
There are free leaf printables available at BHG (also seen on the Today Show).
Do you discuss what you are thankful for on Turkey Day?
Snack Trap Meets Fun - I came aross these over the weekend at Gourmet Mom on the Go - and just had to share them with you. They seem easy to whip up and not only will it look great on the kids table but it will be perfect for snacking while the bird cooks! I even think my toddler can hold these.
Click on over for directions on how to make the 'cone' and snacks.
Growing up I always had to sit at the kids table for holiday meals while the adults sat at the big long nice dining table. I remember being younger and really not liking it. Thinking back it was the best - So I got to thinking - how can we spruce up the 'kids table' to make it special and memorable?!
Enjoy the outside one more time and go on a nature hunt and look for pretty leaves and acorns to fill a bowl, let that be your centerpiece.
Use the kids crafting table or a card table - cover it with brown craft paper (found at any craft store), Put a few small containers full of crayons on the table along with this fun turkey coloring sheet.
Before the meal set up station - the kids can create their own Turkey Hats. I cut out my own turkey feathers using scrapbook paper but I used the turkey body pattern found here from Skip to My Lou.
My kids and I created these cute Turkey handprints to send to grandparents. My 3 year old wouldn't stay out of the paint and my 18 month old wanted nothing to do with it. I found out the trick is a little paint goes a LONG way and there was no way I could do each finger in a different paint! These can also be laminated and made into place mats, perfect to bring out next year.
Happy Thanksgiving - would love to hear your comments on what you remember from your kids table or what you plan to do this year!
When you are planning your party you need to also think a little about presentation. There are so many neat ways to serve food and drink. What do you have around your house? What can you change or adapt to work for your party? Try to think beyond a cooler full of beer.
Since we are mostly talking children's parties you need to think about the little ones but also the adults that are coming with their kids.
Here I used my punch bowl (finally able to use a wedding present) and wine glasses for an extra touch. Think about what you are serving, I chose orange cream soda and root beer because it went with my color scheme.
I also picked up this great glass dispenser at Homegoods (yes I have a small obsession with that place). I know they are also at Bed Bath and Beyond. Just pay attention to how much liquid it holds.
I like a clear glass container because you can use the color of the drink to go with your party theme. Great way to add a little detail. Bed Bath and Beyond also has this great red bucket dispenser. Picture this with a barnyard theme or a BBQ.
I have two kids and an awesome husband so there are many things I want to remember. I am always thinking of ways to document memories, not just pictures but words, sayings, activities, anniversaries, trips and of course birthdays. I am determined to make my kids baby books complete but as I write this I have a stack of pictures, a calendar and their books on my dining room table.
I also keep an anniversary photo album that my husband and I fill out every year on our anniversary; basically a picture of us and 3-5 sentences about the past year and maybe the cost of milk and gas at that time.
When I came across a book just for birthday's I jumped on it and purchased two from Amazon. Your Birthday Book is set up to be fun, quick and very casual. The early years you do most of the filling in, then it evolves to work on together then finally your teenager might want to fill it out themselves.
There is a place for pictures of your child on their birthday, a questionnaire about the party, gifts and funny things they are doing and a place to put the invitation. This time capsule section is also great for hand tracings, a sock, artwork or a newspaper headline.
I think I will go add this to our dining room table - I have to add my son's 3rd birthday party info.
Do you do anything besides a traditional baby book?
So whenever I am planning a party, I try to come up with lots of little details that you might not notice each individually but all put together it makes a huge impact. I hope to share these with you on my blog.
I really like dessert tables, neat containers or risers, fun ways to serve food or drink etc.
A few months ago I came across Shop Sweet Lulu - they have the most adorable unique party items.
As you can see I sort of went with a polka dot theme in showing you these things but they have many choices. Shop Sweet Lulu
treat bags, paper straws, washi tape, 36in balloons, candy tubes