Awesome DIY Shirts – A Gift Idea for the Entire Family

Awesome DIY Tshirts a gift idea for the entire family

Awesome DIY Shirts – a Gift Idea for the Entire Family

It’s that time of year again.  I’m sure we’re all “making a list” and checking it 100 times, trying to come up with great (and affordable) gift ideas for family and friends.  Sometimes the gift ideas come easily, sometimes it’s really really hard.

When the gift giving ideas really aren’t flowing, I try to come up with a theme – like books, movies, cooking, games, etc.  Last year, my husband’s family decided to do funny T-shirts for their sibling exchange and I thought “great!  Let’s do that for the nieces and nephews too!”  So I did.  Since I try not to share any gifts online before said gift is given – that means I get to share them this year.  😉

On my husband’s side of the family, we currently have two nieces and three nephews, ranging in age from early 20s to preschool.  Tough to coordinate something that works for all ages, but that’s the beauty of personalized shirts.  You can buy a plain shirt in any size or color that you need.  And after doing a quick Pinterest search of funny sayings, I quickly found that I could come up with a fun saying for each of them that incorporated the word “awesome.”

Take a look at the Awesome DIY shirts:


For our oldest niece.

Don't Tell me I'm Awesome Tshirt DIY shirt gift idea for teensFor the nephews.

Awesome Runs in my family DIY shirt Christmas gift

Awesome like Batman DIY Tshirt gift idea for boysFor the (Batman obsessed) youngest nephew.

Concentrateed Awesome Tshirt DIY gift idea for kids
And for the youngest niece.

Awesome DIY shirts for the whole family

The instructions:

Cute right?  And easy, I promise.  I don’t have a step-by-step tutorial for you, but I will tell you that I used my handy dandy Silhouette machine to cut out the lettering from iron-on vinyl.  I love how you can cut any font on your computer with the Silhouette, even dingbats.  And you can easily convert clipart you find online – that’s what I did with the Batman symbol.

Since I was on a roll, I also did a onesie for my sister’s daughter.  My sister was pregnant at the time  (obviously).
Only Child Expiring DIY Onesie gift idea for older sibling or baby shower

And finally, a shirt for my father-in-law.
I'll fix that for you DIY Tshirt gift idea for the guy in your life
Probably should have made that one for my husband too.  Any excuse to buy more tools… 😉

It only took an hour or two to put them all together.  Eight gifts in under two hours – one of the easier projects I’ve tackled, for sure! 😉

Well, I have errands and possibly more Christmas shopping on the agenda today.  I’d better get off the computer and shower so I can get everything done.  I’m hoping to devote the rest of the week to working on the remodel (it’s come a long way since the Before Photos of our DIY Remodel I posted the other day!).  Here’s to a busy final week of November.

And, of course, if you do make your own personalized Tshirts I’d love to see them!

A few more easy gift ideas using the Silhouette:
Christmas gifts for Classmates and Teachers
Bunco Water Bottle (White Elephant Gift)

And for more in-the-minute progress on Christmas prep, house remodel progress and all of the upcoming holiday fun, be sure to follow me on Instagram.

 

Life’s Little Celebrations

Life's Little Celebrations Give yourself something to look forward to

Life’s Little Celebrations – Give yourself (and your loved ones) Something to Look Forward To

Isn’t Spring fantastic?  With all the snow melting, the grass starting to get green, flowers popping up, birds singing, and a new baby calf added to the herd every few days…

Well, it’s hard not to feel a little happy boost that Spring has officially begun, isn’t it?

Sure, there is mud to deal with. I made the husband bring home a few bags of mulch last week and we spread them in the rain because I couldn’t stand to clean up mud every time the dog went outside.   (I was really wishing my Spot Bot hadn’t died and I had a new Shop Amazon – Presenting the Bissell Symphony)  And my body is definitely not swimming suit ready.  But, that is vastly outweighed by the overwhelming urge to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the weather.

Enjoy the small things.

Last weekend, my daughter suggested we roll out the fire pit and roast hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner.  That’s one of our favorite things to do as a family during warmer weather.  The kids happily rode their bikes and played wall ball with each other while the husband and I enjoyed sitting by the fire for a couple of hours.

As I sat there staring into the fire, I couldn’t help thinking how glad I was that Kaitlyn has suggested something so simple yet thoroughly enjoyable.  Then I started thinking about all of the many other small things in life we had celebrated the past week or so.  (It had been kind of a crazy one actually)

Making it through my daughter’s back to back swim meet and band concert.  Celebrated that one by letting her pick out ice cream on the way home.  My little guy’s final Utah Citizenship performance (part of months of work and many projects and tests for them) celebrated again by letting him pick out ice cream on the way home.  That one happened to fall on the same day we went before the county for approvals on our building lot (got it!  Just a few more hoops to jump through before it’s official).  In among there, I hosted our monthly Bunco group and that always feels like a party.

And you know what?  Life is so much more enjoyable when you take a minute to appreciate the small things when they happen.  Everything seems better when you purposely give yourself and your loved ones small things to look forward to.  When once in a while we make the everyday special.

So I came up with my own list of Life’s Little Celebrations:

-a warm sunny day
-school or sporting event (ice cream!)
-one of those random “National ____ Day”  Find a long list of holidays by date HERE. (I can’t believe I didn’t do anything for pie/pi day last!  It falls on March 14.  3/14 – get it?)
-accomplishments – a promotion, finishing a big project, the baby took her first step, the 4th grader memorized his multiplication tables
-because it’s been a while since you had a dinner party or lunch out
-because the kids have other plans and you and the husband have some free time to spend together
-because it’s the weekend
-because it’s Monday
-because we’re all tired and need to relax and indulge
-the first ____ of the year  (snowstorm, flower, hot dog/marshmallow roast)
-because it’s Girl Scout Cookie season
-minor holidays (St Pat’s, April Fool’s, Labor Day, etc.)
-change of seasons
-local events (strawberry picking season, hot air balloon festival, etc)
-because you missed someone’s birthday/anniversary
-the divorce is final
-your favorite author just released a new book
-that movie you’ve been dying to see finally hits the theaters

Life's Little Celebrations Take a moment to recognize and enjoy the small events in life

Ways to Celebrate the Little Things

-get outside (walk, hike, ride bikes, roast marshmallows, fly kites, blow bubbles, fire up the grill Shop Amazon – Grilling and Outdoor Cooking Products)
-take a picture
-go out to eat
-try a new restaurant
-ice cream
-wash the car (what? Are you telling me having a nice shiny car after months of snow and salt-covered roads doesn’t count as a celebration?!  Have you SEEN the line at the car wash at the first sunny day in a while?)
-plant flowers (Shop Amazon – Gardening Products)
-rent a movie (or find one on Amazon Prime Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial or Netflix)
-cook something seasonal or extra-yummy
-document it – journal it, scrapbook it, post it on Instagram
-surprise someone (treat, card, gift)
-invite people over
-family game night
-food, food, and more food (funny how so many things revolve around food, isn’t it?)

Well that’s my list.  I hope to keep adding to it, so please feel free to share your own Life’s Little Celebrations, and how you recognize the small moments.

Give yourself something to look forward to AlaynasCreations

Give yourself something to look forward to.

 

*May contain affliliate links for your convenience.*

 

Linking to:  Made By You Monday,

75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas For All Ages

75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas for All Ages75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas for All Ages

How do you like your eggs?  I prefer mine covered in glitter or stuffed with chocolate 😉

The kids, well, they love their eggs filled with all kinds of fun.

I now have 13 years of Easter Egg fun under my belt so I figured it was about time to put together a giant list of non-candy Easter egg filler ideas.  (Trust me – we stuff plenty with candy, but it’s nice to have some variety, right?)

Easter Egg Hunting Fun for Kids of All Ages

For the tiny ones:

Unique ideas to stuff your Easter Eggs this year

Preschool and Elementary Aged kiddos:

  • individually packaged snacks (fruit snacks, Goldfish, etc.)
  • powdered drink mixes (the kind the come individually packaged to use in water bottles)
  • coins
  • arcade tokens
  • stickers
  • temporary tattoos
  • rubber stamps
  • jewelry
  • Silly Bandz (THESE dinosaur ones look pretty cool)
  • glow sticks
  • Play Dough and Play Dough Accessories
  • arts and crafts supplies (googly eyes, pom poms, glitter glue, etc)
  • beads (to make their own jewelry)
  • stretchy bands for the Rainbow Loom
  • Perler beads and maybe print out some pattern ideas like these Disney Princess, Star Wars, or Pokemon perler bead patterns.
  • mini pens, markers or crayons
  • bath crayons
  • jump rope
  • chinese jump rope
  • sidewalk chalk
  • bubbles
  • bouncy balls
  • Hackey Sacks
  • set of jacks
  • sunglasses
  • swim goggles (THESE are a good choice for kids)
  • hair bows, hair elastics
  • Nerf gun darts
  • card games
  • travel games (THIS is a fun one I hadn’t seen before)
  • tiny party favor items (mini yo-yo, slinkies, etc)
  • puzzles (a few pieces in each egg)
  • Lego sets (a few pieces in each egg)
  • Lego figurines (like THESE from the Lego Movie)
  • Barbie/doll accessories
  • bicycle tire lights/decorations
  • army guys (one year I found a variation of these with construction guys at the dollar store – awesome)
  • plastic farm or zoo animals, dinosaurs, bugs
  • any small toy:  I have found cars, Little People, My Little Pony and others already packaged in their own eggs.  They tend to be in larger eggs which is great because then you can save those eggs and use them again next year.  Other ideas for tiny toys include action figures, Littlest Pet Shop, Polly Pocket (they still have those right?), toy trains (one year I found a mini Easter themed Thomas the Train set).  The sky is the limit on this one.
  • trading cards (Pokemon anyone?)
  • funny socks
  • scavenger hunt clues to find a larger item (free printables can be found HERE or HERE)
  • DIY coupons (like THESE fun printables)
  • small pool toys like diving sticks or splash balls
  • dress up accessories (policeman or fireman badge, pirate eye patch, tiara, hats, clown nose, etc)

Make your Easter egg hunt extra fun this year with these easy and unique non-candy egg filler ideas

Tweens and Teens

  • powdered drink mixes (the kind the come individually packaged to use in water bottles)
  • sunglasses
  • swim goggles (my swim obessed girl prefers these Speedo Vanquisher goggles)
  • headphones
  • fingernail stuff:  small bottle nail polish, gel nails, stickers, decals
  • gift cards
  • Lego sets (a few pieces in each egg)
  • puzzles (a few pieces in each egg.  Can you imagine how many eggs you could fill with a 1000 piece puzzle?!)
  • money
  • arcade tokens
  • Nerf gun darts
  • water balloons
  • flash drive
  • keychain
  • jewelry
  • wrist watch
  • funny socks
  • travel size items:  lotion, soap, shaving cream, shampoo, hand sanitizer
  • perfume/cologne
  • lip gloss/chapstick
  • make up
  • bath bombs
  • scavenger hunt clues to find a larger item (you can find cute printables like THESE or THESE)
  • DIY coupons like THESE fun printables
  • card games
  • travel games
  • miniature flashlight
  • small sports items (golf balls, ping pong balls, mouth guards, etc)

 

So there you have it – a giant list of non-candy Easter Egg filler ideas.  If you think of any I missed please feel free to share!

 

*Post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

 

 

Linking to: Home Matters Party, Creativity Unleashed Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Remodelaholics Anonymous, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make,  Saturday Sharefest, DIY Party,

How to Make Your Own Spring Tulip Wreath

Make Your Own Spring Tulip Wreath

How to Make Your Own Spring Tulip Wreath

Spring is on its way (I hope, I hope, I hope) and what better way to get in the mood than by making your very own Spring Tulip Wreath?

I posted this tutorial last year right after I make this quick and easy wreath for my Mom, but the post seems to have been lost when switching blog hosts.  Just in case it looks familiar too anyone 😉

Tutorial for Spring Tulip Wreath

Making decorative items for spring is one of my favorite things to do.  There are just so many options and color combinations and ideas.   I have a soft spot for wreaths, so when my Mom asked me to put together a wreath for her similar to one she has spotted at Pier One, I was happy to accept the challenge.

Materials needed to make your own Tulip Wreath – a wreath base (grapevine in this case) and a while stack of silk flowers.

Want to know my favorite place to buy afforadable silk flowers?  The dollar store.  You can’t guarantee the selection, but often I get lucky and find some great options.

Spring Tulipe Wreath altered dollar store silk flowers

In this case, I picked up the flowers shortly after Valentines Day so they still had a selection of roses as well as other spring flowers.  I noticed that a lot of the roses were kind of tulip-looking and when I was only able to find a few bunches of tulips I decided to improvise.

It is a pretty simple to turn a silk rose into a pretty good imitation of a tulip.  I just remove a few of the petals, dicard the leaves, and cut the plastic around the base of the flower into a more compact rounded shape.

Tutorial How to Make a Spring Tulip Wreath like Pier One for Under $20

Once I had a nice stack of flowers with their stems trimmed to only a few inches long, out came the trusty glue gun.  I started glueing the flowers onto the grapevine wreath base, all facing the same direction and alternating colors and styles of flowers as I went.  I also added a few sprigs of silk grass here and there to give the wreath a little more texture.

How to Make your Own Spring Tulip Wreath AlaynasCreations

In under an hour and with less than $20 invested in materials…

Making your own Spring Tulip Wreath is easy and inexpensive using this tutorial

Ta-Da!

I’ve said it before (and will probably say it a hundred times again):  making something pretty does not have to be hard or expensive.  A little time, a little creativity, and a few tips along the way and you can make something beautiful.

I would love to hear about your favorite wreaths or other ideas for spring decorations.  Please feel free to share!

Or maybe you would like to check out some of my other DIY home decor projects like my 5 Minute Floral Arrangements, or Window Box Wall Decor.

 

Let’s go create something great, shall we?

 

*Posts may contain affiliate links.

 

Linking to:  Creativity Unleashed Party, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party, Homemade and Handcrafted Party, Saturday Sharefest, Merry Monday, Made By You Monday,

Spring Care Package – For St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and April Fool’s Day

Spring Care Package includes mini packages for Easter St Patrick's and April Fool's Day

Spring Care Package:
includes Mini Care Packages for Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, and April Fool’s Day

Hello Spring!  Well, close enough, right?  I told myself to wait until the end of February before I could think about Spring but now that it’s March… 😉

We may not see flowers popping up anytime soon (at least not here in Northern Utah) but all of the Spring holidays are certainly on their way.  I often like to get the ideas flowing by looking at some of my past holiday ideas for Spring.  And since I have yet to share the Spring Care Package I put together for my husband while he was deployed last year, let’s start there, shall we?

Spring Care Package includes mini packages for St Patricks, Easter, and April Fool's Day

Getting the timing right for sending care packages can be a tricky thing, especially if they are being sent overseas.  I found that I had to think ahead at least 3 weeks when sending packages for the last deployment.

After a look at the calendar last year, I decided to hit all three of the big Spring holidays in one box.  Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and April Fool’s Day all got their own mini care package.

*Care Package Tip:  Use Flat Rate Boxes.

My favorite are the Regional Rate A b0xes (the catch with those is that you have to order them in sets of 10 online – but they’re free!) whose rates are based on how far away the box is being sent but still not tied to a specific weight.  The Regional Rate A boxes are only slightly smaller than Medium Flat Rate boxes, but can save up to half the cost of the Medium Flat Rate shipping costs.  The added bonus of the Flat Rate boxes of any kind is that they ship quickly, only 2-3 days in transit if shipping within the USA.

St Patrick's Day Care Package

First step for putting together a care package is decorating the box.  I always try to use patterned scrapbook paper from my stash on the flaps and something fun/funny for the bottom of the box.  In this case I had my daughter draw a picture for St Patrick’s Day with the stipulation that part of it should look like a pot of gold.  Then we added chocolate gold coins (glue dots work great for keeping them in place), placing some beneath a slit in the paper along the upper edge of the “pot” so it looked like the coins were being held inside it.

Funny St Patrick's Day Card with Golden Retriever

Isn’t she cute?
Another integral part of the care package is the card.  In this case I wanted to create a unique card for St Patrick’s Day.  I took a photo of our dog for the front of the card and added the quote “I wanted to give you a big kiss for St Patrick’s Day…”

Make Your Own Saint Patrick's Day Card

and the inside reads “but I don’t have a LICKER license.”

Contents for Saint Patrick's Day Mini Care Package

Inside the box:

Items for the St. Patrick’s Day portion of the care package included beer-flavored Jelly Bellys, a couple of pin on buttons (in case the husband needed a touch of green), Lucky Charms cereal (printable tag found HERE), and a few more chocolate gold coins (of course!).

Easter Mini Care Package

Easter Mini Care Package

I wanted the Easter portion of the care package to have it’s own container so I cut down one of the Flat Rate boxes.  Some more patterned scrapbook paper, some Easter basket “grass,”  and the quote “Some Bunny Loves You” completed the decorations for the box.

Easter Care Package or Gift Basket

Inside:  Easter candy!  Some stuffed in plastic eggs, some left in it’s own packaging.  His favorites include Robin’s Eggs, Reece’s Eggs, and Peeps.  My husband also loves chocolate-covered gummies so I was happy to run across the bunnies at World Market. (Which is also where I got the Jelly Bellys).  And of course, the kids and I each wrote a note inside some Easter themed cards I had in my stash.

Some Bunny Loves You Mini Care Package

Perfect fit!

April Fool's Day Open When Envelope for Deployment Care Package

April Fool’s Day “Open When” Envelope

April Fool’s deserves a nod, doesn’t it?  I decided to keep it simple and just put together a small “open when” envelope.  A fun meme and a box of Bean Boozled jelly beans are just the right size for the envelope.  The jelly beans are the kind where you have to guess if you’re eating a good flavor or something crazy like ear wax.

Happy Spring Care Package for Deployment

And there you have it all together in the box – a fun Spring Care Package for all the holidays.  As you can see, I added a few other things either as requests from the husband (the poster tack for hanging photos on his wall) or something I thought he could use (the coffee mug and a dish wand and soap so he could wash the mug himself as needed).  Round it out with letters from the kids and myself and the package was ready to go.

PS – I had a hard time finding stationary sets for the kids until I ran across these great Seal and Send sets (similar to THIS and THIS).

 

I hope this gave you a few new ideas for sending a little something to your loved one.  We all deserve a little happy mail…or a gift basket?  Something to think about… 😉

Searching for more Care Package/Gift Basket Ideas?  I’m developing quite the collection.  Like the Beat the Heat Care Package, Half-Way There Care Package, or Deployment Survival Kit (for the spouse at home).

 

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.

 

Linking to:  Creativity Unleashed, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House,

Valentine’s Care Package or Gift Basket Idea

Valentines Care Package and Gift Basket Idea

Valentine’s Care Package or Gift Basket Idea

With just over a week until Valentine’s Day, if you don’t have your Valentine’s Care Package in the mail you’d better copy this idea, quick! 😉  (And in case you didn’t know, Flat Rate boxes only take a couple of days to reach their destination.)

Naw, you’re probably all on top of things like that already, right?  Goodness knows I was last year.  At the time, my husband had just left on a six month deployment and one of the things that made all of us feel better was putting together care packages.

What I wasn’t great at during deployment – blogging regularly.  Most of the care package ideas never made it onto the blog and we all get to have some fun revisiting them this year.

Valentine Care Package Filled with goodies for your l oved one

The husband left on deployment two days before his birthday in January.  This may have been the very first care package the kids and I put together last year.  Getting input from the kiddos and having them shop for things to go in the box – fun, fun!

Valentines Care Package Decorate the inside of the box with wrapping paper

Decorating the inside of the box is a great way to make the package look festive – and to introduce the theme.

I have to admit, I purposely kicked up my Care Package Game with this last deployment.  Sure, I’ve sent care packages before, but this time around I was determined the husband would get at least a couple of envious glances from the other guys when he opened them.   I wanted that wow factor as soon as the box was opened, so I made sure to decorate the inside of each box.

According to Pinterest one of the easiest ways to decorate the box is using wrapping paper.  (And yes, I have an entire board devoted to Care Packages if you want more ideas.)  I used THIS tutorial for that, which basically instructs you to diassemble the box, glue the wrapping paper on to the flattened box, trim the paper, and reassemble.  It worked pretty well (don’t judge that one crazy edge on the bottom) though my personal preference for the *easiest* way to decorate the inside of the box is to use patterned scrapbook paper and double stick tape.

What to send in a Valentines Care Package

Inside the box

As soon as the husband reached his destination he was requesting flavorings for water.  Those were a constant for every care package.  For everything else, I went for sentimental or fun.

One of the big trends in care packages for deployment or other long distance relationships seems to be Open When envelopes.  I thought these were a great idea, especially since it would help spread out the fun of the care package a while past the initial opening of the box.  (More details on those in another post soon!)

Did you notice the envelope marked Date Night?  My goal was to send a care package every couple of weeks.  I also wanted to send a specific Date Night envelope at least once a month.  Inside each one was a different idea for a faux long distance date night – movies, a TV show we followed together, hiking.  (I’ll give this one its own post as well.  Check back soon!)

No Valentine’s Care Package is complete without something sweet so we included a few treats.

Giant Kiss was in Every Care Package

These oversized Kisses became a constant in each care package as well.  I thought it would be a nice touch to have something the husband knew he could look forward to in every box.  Plus, well they’re kisses.  Read into that any way you like 😉

Open When Envelopes for Valentine's Care Package

Valentine’s Open When Envelope

One of the Open When Envelopes was, of course, dedicated to Valentine’s Day.  The kids each made their Dad a card and I found funny printable cards and sent a few of those.  (Sorry, I’ll include the link for the printable when I find it.  It was a year ago, after all.)  Plus, a box of chocolates tiny enough to fit in the envelope.

Valentine's Care Package Send them a custom balloon bouquet

The kids also helped me write messages on balloons.  We blew them up, wrote on them, and deflated them for easy shipping.  That way, the husband got his own little DIY balloon bouquet.

Valentines Care Package Love Notes on Balloons

I love those Sharpie Fine Point pens, don’t you?  I used them for everything lately.  (You can purchase some HERE).

Anyway, back to the package.

Every deployment needs at least one stuffed animal, right?  (preferably covered in perfume.  Trust me on this one.)

Every deployment needs at least one stuffed animal in the care package Valentine's Care Package

Kaitlyn picked this cute little guy out and wrote the tag.  I’m sure her dad loved it, and everything else in his Valentine’s Care Package.

Valentine's Care Package or Gift Basket Idea

As much fun as it was to put together this Valentine’s Care Package, I’m much happier to have him home with us this year.  For those of you celebrating Valentine’s Day apart from your loved one, I wish you a good one.

 

In search of more Care Package Ideas?  I have more great themes like Beat the Heat and Half-Way There care packages.  (I still got compliments on that last one at the squadron Christmas party!)  Or for that spouse that is holding down the fort at home during deployment, a Deployment Survival Kit care package.
Linking to:  Home Matters Party, BFF Open House, Pretty Pintastic Party, Pin Me Party, What to Do Weekends, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make,  Saturday Sharefest, Creativity Unleashed,

Nerf Gun Party – Top Shot Style 2.0

Nerf Gun Party – Top Shot Style

Nerf Gun Top Shot Birthday Party

 

I’m trying not to dwell on the Monday-ness of today, so why don’t we do something fun and explore Tyler’s Nerf Gun Party?  I was a little too busy to post it in December.  (You can’t blame me, right?)

My kids’ birthdays aren’t exactly back to back with one in October and one in December.  However, there is always a lot going on both months, and this year in particular I wanted to keep things as easy as possible on the birthday party front.

Tyler is in 4th grade, and at that age all of the boys seem interested in three things.  Video games.  Legos.  And Nerf guns.  So it was easy enough to convince Ty to revisit the Top Shot/Nerf Gun party we did for his birthday a few years back.

See how smart I’m getting?!  Not only is that an easy party to pull off with his already large collection of Nerf Guns, I had already done most of the research for it a long time ago.  Hehe.  (You can check out my Nerf Pinterest Board for ideas.)

Plus!  I was able to use all the printables I created for the last party.  Here is the invitation:

Top Shot Nerf Gun Party Invitation
*Alayna’s Party Tip:  Create a simple graphic and repeat it throughout the party.  Invitations, party favors, signs, water bottle labels, etc.   Not only does it make the party feel cohesive, but it ups the “wow factor” because people really do notice small details like that.

 

For the invites, I simply searched Google for images of the Nerf Logo and the Top Shot logo (tell me I’m not the only one that remembers that show?  My husband used to watch it all the time).  Then I added the wording for Tyler’s Birthday Party and it was done.

I printed out signs with the party logo and used them on the door, in a frame on the cake table, on the favor bags, etc.

Nerf Gun Birthday Party Tablescape and Decorations

Just a few things I wanted to point out about the party decorations.  I kept it really simple by using the colors orange and blue for everything (those are the colors on some of the Nerf Gun darts).  These also served as the team colors for the kids throughout all of the activities during the party.

And if you have followed my blog for a while you probably recognize that Happy Birthday banner.  My beadboard pennant banner is one of my favorite Go To items for parties.  It’s durable and versatile.  The only thing I have to do to make it match any party theme is change out the ribbon or fabric  ties.  In this case I simply used scraps of fabric left over from the bandanas.

Nerf Gun Birthday Party Favors

Party Favors:

Speaking of bandanas – there they are, along with the rest of the favors for the party.  I purchased a couple yards of inexpensive blue and orange fabric and cut them into squares (approx 22″ x 22″).  Once we designated teams, the kids put on the bandana in the color of their team.  Some used them on their heads, some as arm bands, but most followed Tyler and wore them on their faces like bandits.

We didn’t want to deal with anyone “shooting their eye out” so the safety goggles were a must.  (Purchased in a set of 12 HERE).

Top Shot Nerf Gun party Gear Bag Party Favors

The bandanas and the safety goggles worked as party favors, along with some Nerf Gun darts and candies in blue and orange packaging (we were kicking ourselves for not buying these on clearance after Halloween).  The kids carried everything home in their “gear bags” which were just paper bags in a color that matched the party theme.

The food:

Typically I like to go with a few snacks and cake/cupcakes for kids’ parties.  Let’s face it – the kids are always more interested in playing than eating.  However, for this particular party we knew we wanted the extra space so we rented one of the town halls.  Since it was December, our options on dates were limited and we ended up with a Friday night reservation and I felt like we needed to serve them dinner.

We decided to go with pizza and breadsticks, since they are Tyler’s favorite.  And the pizza is round like a target 😉
Orange punch.
And a simple 3 layer cake with ice cream.  Kaitlyn was pretty annoyed that I wouldn’t let her decorate the cake, but I had a vision.  And I had left it ’til the last minute and wanted it done quickly.
Aren’t the candles cute?  Tyler picked those out.

The birthday boy had wanted a two-level cake but my small pans are in storage so I convinced him that three layers in different colors would look good.  He was happy with that.  Phew.

Nerf Gun Party Table Decorations

As you can see, I used a couple of the leftover paper bags for the centerpiece on the table.  Orange bags, blue tissue paper, party logo – done!

The Activities/Games:

Station 1:  DIY blow dart guns and tissue paper targets

Kids are so excited to get the party started as soon as they arrive so I always plan an activity to keep them busy as soon as they walk in the door.  For the Nerf Gun Party, that meant they got to make their own blow dart guns and tissue paper targets.

I provided 12″ lenths of PVC pipe (I believe it was 1/2″ diameter – just large enough for the darts to fit inside), along with colored duct tape and markers to decorate them with.

I also precut holes in the center of super-cheap paper plates and slightly larger circles of patterned tissue paper.  The kids were able to decorate the plates then glue the tissue paper in the center.

Nerf Gun DIY Tissue Paper Targets

Then they were able to hang their tissue paper targets on a length of rope and test out their blow dart guns.  If they were good shots and the darts tore through the paper they could glue on another piece of tissue paper and try again.

Destruction – lots of fun for 10 year old boys!

 

Station 2: Plastic Cup Pyramid

From this point on we divided up the teams and each team at a different target station.  First up, simple plastic cup pyramids.  We gave them one of Tyler’s larger Nerf guns with 10 shots to see how many cups they could knock over.

PS – don’t forget to put tape on the floor to mark where they should stand to shoot.

Nerf Gun Party DIY cardboard target

Station 3:  Cardboard Cut-out Target

This one was recycled from last year’s Avenger’s Birthday Party.  (Bonus!)  The target is just a large piece of cardboard with different sized circle cut-outs.  A couple coats of spray paint makes it look great.  Avenger red was just fine with me for this.  I simply covered up the Avengers logo with our Nerf Gun party logo.

My intention with this one was to change it up a bit and get the kids to shoot from the prone position, but few of them remembered to do so.  Not a problem.

Nerf Gun Party Army Men and Plastic Cup Target

Station 4:  Army Men and Plastic Cup Pyramid

Once they had warmed up their shooting skills, we made it a little harder with this one.  The goal was to knock the Army men off the cups without knocking the cups down.

Nerf Gun DIY Spinning Target

Station 5:  Spinning Targets

This one was probably my personal favorite – targets that actually spin when you hit them!

The base is a white cardboard tri-fold display.  I cut squares out of the cardboard and used the discarded cardboard to cut circles for the targets themselves.  The design for the targets were found on Google, printed and attached to the cardboard circles.

To make the edges look finished (and more durable), I duct-taped the edges of the square cut out.  Then all that was left was to tape a portion of a plastic straw to the back of the targets, thread a wooden skewer through the straw and tape the edges of the skewer to the back of the cardboard.

Adhering a penny to the bottom of each target helps them return to their proper position after getting hit.  (Glue dots work great for this!)  The original idea for this target (found HERE) said to experiment with the placement of the straw and the penny but I found that keeping the straw centered in the middle worked best.

Nerf Gun Top Shot Birthday Cake

 

At this point we paused for pizza, opened gifts, and had cake and ice cream.  Then on to the main event!

Nerf Gun Party Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag/Nerf Gun Battle

Two teams, each hid a flag on their base then attempted to steal the flag from the other team.

Rules were simple.  If you got hit (on your honor!) you had to return to your base and touch it before returning to the game.  No hitting above the chest.  If you hit someone above the chest you had to return to your base and touch it before returning to the game.

Chairs and buffet tables provided perfect “cover” for the game.  Extra bullets were provided in containers (flower pots recycled from Kaitlyn’s Cupcake Wars party) throughout the room.

The kids didn’t seem to care if they all had the same guns, though we did provide enough guns similar to THIS ONE for everyone to have one.  Those that brought their own guns used them for the battle.
We found a great deal on extra Nerf darts HERE.

At times we would call a halt to the action and get everyone to pick up all the extra bullets.  Other than that, I just had fun watching the action and taking photos.  It was fun to see how the teams handled strategy and teamwork differently and how the different personalities came out during the game.

Nerf Gun Top Shot Party

All in all it was an energetic, chaotic, and fun party – which was exactly what my little guy wanted.

Think I can convince him to do the same theme again next year?  I saved all the targets! 😉
Looking for more party inspiration?  Stay tuned for a post about Kaitlyn’s 13th birthday party (right, I was too busy to post that one too).  Or check out the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Monster Truck Party,  or Farm Birthday Party.

 

*Post may contain affiliate links.

 

Linking to:  Snickerdoodle Sunday, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party,

DIY Quote Clipboard for Teacher Valentine’s Gift Plus Non-Candy Classmate Gift Idea

DIY Quote Clipboard gift idea for teachers

DIY Quote Clipboard for Teacher Valentine’s Gift Plus Non-Candy Classmate Gift Idea

 

(May contain affiliate links)

It has been a snow-filled couple of weeks here and we’re almost to the end of January.  That must mean Valentine’s Day is on the horizon.

Has anyone come up with good gift ideas yet?

The husband and I decided to forego gifts this year and spend the money on something to do together.  I ran across this great cooking class for couples on the 14th – five courses of fancy food, plus chocolates and flowers.  It sounded great.  Sadly, it was sold out.

I may have thrown a little temper tantrum because I really wanted to go.  And because now I have to come up with Plan B.

But.  At least the kids’ gifts were easy.  The little guy’s teacher and classmate Valentine’s gifts came together no problem as well.  Want to see?

Valentine's Teacher Gift Clipboard to Display fun Qotes

DIY Quote Clipboard for Teacher – a quick tutorial

 

My little guy has a planner that he brings home every day in which his teacher has him write anything he needs to do for homework, reminders, and so on.  Every day they also have a motivational quote.

I thought it would be fun to give her a way to display some of those quotes thus  – the Quote Clipboard.

The base for the quote clipboard is just a 12″ x 12″ piece of wood that I stained and coated with poly.  (Link to my favorite poly)

To make it stand up, I drilled a hole on the back and inserted a 3″ dowel.  Silly me left the stain down at the shop, so I ended up painting the dowel black.  In a perfect world, the dowel gets its own coat of stain too.

You could glue the dowel in, but I left it loose and just taped it to the back of the board so it would be easier to gift wrap.

Adding a clip to the front completes the assembly process.
See?  Totally easy.

Simply add a clip to a piece of wood for your own DIY Quote Clipboard or Recipe holder

I have a whole box of clips but I know that they can be hard to find.  So (nice person that I am!) I’ll save you the trouble of hunting them down – the clips are generally referred to as Bulldog Clips and can be purchased HERE.

Teacher motivational quotes

Tyler helped me select three of his teacher’s most-used quotes from his planner and we found a few new ones for her as well.  The top row of quotes in the photo came from HERE.

I loved the rainbow colors on the printables, so I used a similar style on our quotes (bottom row).

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Quote Board for Teachers Valentine or Teacher Appreciation Gift

 

On to the Non-Candy Classmate Valentine Idea

 

Classmate Valentines I have a Ball with You Valentine Alayna's Creations

I like my kids to be involved in the process when they give gifts.  So after a quick review of my Pinterest Boards I gave my little guy a short list of ideas he could give to his classmates.  He chose bouncy balls.  Nice.

It was a simple matter to come up with a “punny” saying for the tag.  It reads:  “I have a BALL with you Valentine.”

As luck would have it, we had these bags leftover from some of my husband’s pre-Christmas baking.  Easy peasy.

Tyler stuffed the bouncy balls into the bags and I stapled on the tags.  Teamwork, people.  Teamwork.

Now we’re all set for Valentines – more than two full weeks ahead of schedule!  (I get a high five for that, right?)

I have a Ball with you Valentine Classmate Valentine Idea Alayna's Creations

Now back to figuring out what to do with the husband on Valentine’s Day.  Any suggestions?!  Please?

 

 

If you are still in search of more Valentine’s gift ideas feel free to check out my Pinterest Board or some of my ideas from previous years like my Crazy Cool Valentines last year or Teacher Gifts in a Cup.

And as always, if you make your own DIY Quote Clipboard or anything else you see on the blog – pease share!

 

Linking to:  Home Matters Party, BFF Open House, LouLou Girls, Pretty Pintastic Party, Snickerdoodle Sunday, Valentines Link Party, Creativity Unleashed, Valentines Link Up,

Crazy Cool Valentines for Classmates and Teachers

Crazy Cool Valentines for Classmates and Teachers

Crazy Cool Valentines for Classmates and Teachers

That’s right – it’s time to start thinking about Valentines for classmates and teachers.  At least, it is if the stores have anything to say about it.  I even spotted some bikinis for sale the other day (said as I look out at the new 6″ of snow we got this week, on top of what was already there.  Eesh).  Sometimes it feels like retailers are rushing us a bit, though I’m all for staying ahead of the curve.

Keeping that in mind, why don’t we take a look at the Valentines my kids gave to their classmates and teachers last year?  (One of the few posts that didn’t transfer from the old domain so now is a great time to repost, don’cha think?)

Classmate Valentine Gifts

Silly straw and Koolaid Classmate Valentine
With the kids bringing home dozens of small gifts from classmates every year, my goal is always to do something a bit unique.  I also try to keep it easy and inexpensive because dozens of gifts can add up fast!  So, I was happy to run across these cute printable tags on Pinterest.

I kept the design on the tags just as in the printable and added the “love Tyler” to the bottom (he would do anything to keep from having to write his name 30 times!) then printed them on cardstock.  It was a simple matter to cut a couple of slits in the tag to slide the straw through.  A quick staple attached individual Koolaid packets to the tag.

Great non-candy Valentine

Bonus!  Non-candy Valentines make us happy!

Teacher Valentine Idea

Now the teacher gift is where I truly out-did myself.  😉 Knowing I was going with the “cool” idea for the classmate Valentines I kept my eyes open for something that fit that theme.  So, when I ran across these great containers when I was grabbing a few more lunchbox containers for the kids I was soooo excited. (What?!  You don’t get excited in the container section of TJ Maxx?!)  The containers have mini ice packs in the lids – perfect!

The containers came in a set of four, so I had enough for both kids’ teachers with just one set of containers.  Change the “kool” to “cool” on the tag (that font is called Jokerman) and we were all set.

Fun, right?

I’ve already started working on ideas for this year’s Valentines for my son’s classmates and teacher.  Stay tuned!

 

Want more teacher gift ideas?  Check out my Teacher gifts in a Cup

Teacher Appreciation gifts in a cup

 

 

 

 

 

Or.  While we are on the subject of lunchbox containers, check out some of my Lunchbox tips and tricks (for picky eaters).

School Lunchbox ideas great for picky eaters

 

Until next time.  What should we create next?

 

 

Linking to:  Pretty Pintastic Party, Home Matters Party, Valentines Link Up,

Merry Christmas!

christmas-card-2016-family-photo-with-santa-alaynas-creations

Ah Christmas.  We’ve made it!

Cards are sent, gifts are wrapped and waiting under the tree, the weather is attempting to give us a white Christmas, and everyone is home for the holidays (except for my parents who just left to get that “one last gift”).  Time to relax and enjoy it.

christmas-card-2016-family-photo-with-santa-and-highlights-for-the-year-on-the-back-alaynascreations

From my family to yours – wishing you love, joy and adventure the whole year round.  Merry Christmas!