This year’s party request was not only her first big slumber party, but a dance party with a rainbow color scheme. That gave me tons to work with and we’ve both been pretty excited for the big day to finally arrive. Friday night found us with a house full of crazy, loud, sugar crazed 3rd graders 🙂
I’ll walk you through the highlights:
The invitation. I went all digital again this year – it’s just so much faster than scrapbook style. And makes it easier to use all or part of the design for adding in smaller details like the cupcake tags I sent to school.
I always try to make sure there is at least some nod to the party theme outside, especially since we usually end up with one or two new friends that may need a little help finding our house. A bunch of balloons on the mailbox and another bunch on the porch did the trick this year.
I worked up a birthday theme set of beadboard pennant banners. They’re so easy to change up to fit any theme.
Rainbow ruffled table skirt made entirely from plastic tablecloths. I think this is my favorite piece of the whole party. (I posted a tutorial here)
And a personalized banner with her name on it for the table.
Balloon topiaries – these were a last minute addition as I had kept forgetting about working up anything decorative for the folding table. I literally threw these together out of scrap dowel pieces from the burn box and a couple scrap 2×4 sections, drilled a hole in the 2×4 to hold the dowel, then tied on a few balloons. I didn’t even bother to paint the stands. I don’t think the girls noticed or cared 🙂
Ta-da! Not my most spectacular cake, but sometimes that’s ok.
For dinner we had nachos, rainbow style:
red – tomatoes and salsa
orange – cheese sauce (in the mini crockpot)
yellow – shredded cheese
green – bell peppers
blue – blue tortilla chips
purple – red onion
plus some taco meat to fill it out
I was a bit worried about what kids dishing cheese and salsa onto their plates so I placed the messy stuff on a baking sheet. Turns out they didn’t spill after all, but better safe than sorry.
And rainbow fruit kebabs with fruit dip. These were an absolute hit. That whole stack disappeared in minutes.
The drink was also rainbow – I made a few colors of punch and froze it in ice cube trays. Then the girls could pick their colors and we poured lemon-lime soda over the colored cubes. (the girls were also very impressed that the paper around the soda bottle matched the paper on the tiny cake pennant banner. I repeat – it’s all about the details 🙂 ) They thought this was a fantastic idea.
As you can see, I also had a couple of nice friends that stayed for the main part of the party with their daughters. The extra set of hands came in handy a few times, for sure (Thanks for the help ladies!).
With the theme being a dance party, well of course we all danced. For hours. It was quite loud and crazy for a very long time 🙂 I had put together a playlist on the Ipod (a lot of Kidz Bop music) and set up the doc and speakers in the party room and the girls had a blast. Most of the time they didn’t need any direction from me. I did however, have a few games and ideas up my sleeve for when some of the girls started to lose interest.
Then at 9:00 I declared it time to settle down so everyone got in pjs, spread out their sleeping bags, and I popped popcorn and brought out the rainbow snacks for movie time.
Yes, I did separate all the M&Ms by color. What can I say? It was a random OCD moment lol. But doesn’t it look pretty that way?
I wish I could say it was all easy after that, but the girls were too wound up and couldn’t settle down. With one thing or another, I pretty much didn’t get any sleep *sigh* The only down side to have a wildly successful party for incredibly hyper and excited little girls.
Breakfast was HAD to be rainbow waffles!
I used pretty much the same technique as the cake. Put the batter into different cups and color them all different colors then pour it into the waffle iron in sections. It worked great!
Add in OJ, milk, bacon (which was eaten so quickly I didn’t even get a piece!), syrup and whipped cream and breakfast was all set. By 9:00 AM the girls were all fed, dressed, and had packed up their sleeping bags and did some more dancing and free play until the parents arrived.
My kids are about to start their final week of school for the year – yay! Have I mentioned how excited I am to not have to get them up and out the door quite so early? That’s certainly something to be celebrated! 😉 As a Mom, I have tried to institute quite a few fun little traditions for my kids for various holidays and events and the Last Day of School is no exception.
The year my daughter completed Kindergarten we were living in a fantastic little neighborhood. On the last day of school some of the moms set up a table by the bus stop and gave all the kids ice cream as they arrived home off the bus. I thought that was such a fun little tradition to have so when we moved to North Carolina I began a similar tradition there. We had a fun neighborhood with lots of elementary-age children that liked to play together all the time and a neighborhood pool, so it was easy to set up a casual Last Day of School Party for the kiddos. All I had to do was send out a few Facebook/Text Messages mentioning we would be meeting at the pool shortly after the kids got home from school, and that I would bring popsicles if anyone else wanted to contribute anything to share and viola – instant party.
Ok, so yeah I put a little bit of effort into making it feel like a party by setting up a table for the drinks and snacks and decorating it. It took me all of 10 minutes to whip up a cute Summer pennant banner, grab a plastic tablecloth from my party stash, and find one of our striped beach towels to provide a fun pop of color. As I always say – it doesn’t take a lot of money, just a little bit of planning and attention to detail to make something special.
One year it was a really rainy day so we didn’t go the party route. Instead, I bought a couple of boxes of ice cream sandwiches, printed out some fun tags and met my daughter at the bus stop where she hurriedly handed them out before everyone got soaked. (You can find the printable over on the Eighteen25 blog.)
This year we no longer live in a neighborhood so I’m thinking we will do our own ice cream sundaes or rootbeer floats when the kids get home from school. Or go out for shakes or snow cones. Or…ok so I haven’t decided yet.
Another thing I started doing on the Last Day of School is putting together a little suprise of some sort for the kids. Sometimes it’s something simple, like the cups and treats I put together for them last year.
As you can see, I look for things that the kids can use in the summer. You could include food items like freezer pops, drink mixes, snowcone flavorings, Jello mix, snacks and treats of any kind. Items related to keeping the kids busy in the summer could include bubbles, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, jacks, beach balls, pool noodles or toys, splash balls, water balloons, arts and craft supplies (I see googly eyes, colored pencils and brightly colored pipe cleaners in this bucket), snow cone cups and straws, etc. That Chinese jump rope kept the kids and their friends occupied for hours that summer. More personal things to include might be summer-weight pajamas, new swimming suits or towels, water bottles, and books.
Oh – and before they go jump in the pool don’t forget those Last Day of School photos!
It really doesn’t matter what I do for the kids on the last day of school, my intention is just to do a little something to make it memorable.
Do you have any Last Day of School traditions you do every year or are wanting to try?
Related blog posts:
-2016 Bucket of Summer Fun for teachers and kids.
It’s Friday and another week has just raced by. We are down to just two weeks before the kids are out of school for the summer and I’m getting pretty excited for the change in routine. Being able to make it to the gym without having to wake up at 4:45AM to do so would be awesome.
It has become our tradition over the last few years that as summer approaches we sit down as a family and talk about what we are looking forward to and what we would like to make sure we do during the summer. It’s always a fun way to spend an evening and I’m often surprised by a few of the suggestions from the kids. Once we have a pretty good list compiled I sit down and type it all up, cutesy it up a little bit, then put it on display so we can cross things off when we do them and it’s there to refer to if we have a little down time we want to fill and are in need of ideas.
Included in our list this year:
-lots and lots of swimming
-hike Timpanogos (we almost made it to the top last year and are determined to go all the way this time around)
-swim goal (Kaitlyn – summer swim team)
-family 5K (We are signed up for the Great Inflatible Race at the end of this month!)
-Tyler wants the 4 wheeler fixed
-Collect Brag Tags – 100 of them! (This is through the Heber Valley Unplugged Program, which was initiated in a neighorboring county a few years ago. The kids have participated in it in previous years while we were here on vacation and it was a huge hit. More info available HERE.)
-sell house in North Carolina (fingers crossed! It is now officially on the market)
-make homemade ice cream
-rodeo/parade (4th of July)
-ride horses/trail ride
-BBW with friends
-Kaitlyn wants to babysit
-random hikes (to explore and to get in shape for the big one)
-clear out clutter/junk on farm
-kids learn to cook a few things (Kate realized I put this on one there twice. I guess I’m really sick of the daily “what’s for dinner?” grind. I’ve been too lazy to reprint the list lol)
-spend time at the lake
-try out a new restaurant
-playdates/time with friends
-set reading goals
-Pass of All Passes
So, what’s on your Summer Bucket List??
I love photos. Love, love, love photos. I’d love to be a great photographer – someday maybe. So periodically I like to participate in challenges or concepts that get me out taking photos or looking at things in a different way. This week I decided to join in on the Day in the Life photo/memory keeping project, which “officially” took place yesterday (but can be done at any time). Basically, the concept is to take a day and pay particular attention to documenting all the little things throughout the day – the normal and mundane that make up daily life.
I have taken photos for Day in the Life a few times before and have enjoyed the process – and caused my kids to continually ask “why are you taking a photo of THAT?!” 😉 So this time around I remembered to warn the kids and the husband the night before that I was doing a photo project all day and that please just humor me 😉 No complaining, no hiding from the camera, no photo bombing. If the camera comes out and they are doing something, just keep doing it unless I ask them to look at me and smile. And thank goodness – that little bit of prepping them worked wonders this time around.
So here we go – a glimpse into a day in my life right now.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Photos are taken with a combination of my phone and my “big camera.”
Photos taken: 52 on my phone, 193 with the camera. (wow, I hadn’t realized I took that many!) I shared a few of the photos on Instagram throughout the day.
4:45 AM Wake up (yes with the alarm clock – the only time I set the alarm is when I have to wake up this early to go to the gym)
5:00 AM Pick up my friend and head to the gym. Forgot to charge my phone the night before so no gym selfies. I know – disappointing, isn’t it? 😉
6:30 AM Admiring the sunrise on the way home from the gym.
I snuck outside (barefoot!) to grab a few photos before waking up Kaitlyn. Bambi obviously thought she was missing out on the fun.
6:40 AM Prepping kids’ lunchboxes while Kaitlyn grabbed breakfast
7:40 AM Tyler is always ready for school well ahead of time and gets to enjoy a little down time before getting on the bus.
10:00 AM Painting laundry drying racks
1:30 PM Home for lunch. My brother let the horses into the pasture behind the house and I was able to take a few photos of the mini-stampede. (that happens every day. Living back at home on the ranch can be pretty cool.)
2:15 PM Walked the dog
3:00 PM Finally managed to shower and do my hair. Yup, this happens most days. I prefer to get up, get showered and get going with my day but so often lately I have to spend the morning sanding or painting or doing yard work or something.
8:00 PM Yoga before bedtime. We started this a few weeks ago because Kaitlyn kept complaining she was having a hard time sleeping. The yoga really does seem to help.
8:30 PM Family selfie before putting the kids to bed.
9:00 PM Finally time to relax with the husband. Friday Night Lights on Netflix.
10:00 PM Bedtime
Summer is coming FAST! I’m kind of excited about it actually. We have a lot of fun things planned and *bonus* we get a break from having to get up and out the door early every morning. What’s not to be excited about?
I’ve been on a roll this week – knocking things off the list, getting ahead of things when I get the chance. Not only did I get the teacher’s End of the School Year gifts put together, but I even got them posted on the blog the other day! As I was doing so, I occured to me that it wasn’t the first time I’d put together a gift like that for the teachers so I did a little back-tracking. Yup. This is my third year in a row using a similar idea for the teacher gifts – Summer Kit in a Cup. When you find a good thing it’s ok to just keep doing it, right? And there are oh-so-many ways to take a single idea and change it up.
This year’s Summer fun trinkets were contained in a double wall cup that I monogrammed. Inside you can find sunscreen, Chapstick with SPF, lemonade mixes, and Italian Ice freezer pops.
Last year I used really cute daiquiri glasses, filled them with goodies (drink mixes, sunscreen, chocolates, and freezer pops), and topped them with adorable little paper umbrellas and paper straws. (printable for the tags can be found here)
Double wall cups with flip-top lids filled with (betcha can’t guess what!) sunscreen, Chapstick with SPF and some After-Sun lotion. Tag printable were originally found here.
So I’m thinking next year I’m going to use some of those cute mason jar cups or maybe those cool glass milk jugs I saw at the craft store the other day…
Searching for other Teacher Appreciation or End of the School Year ideas? I have plenty! Like:
–Bucket of Summer Fun Teacher Gift and Last Day of School gift for the kids
–Super Powered Teacher Gift Basket
–More Teacher Appreciation Ideas
May is crazy isn’t it? There are so many things all jammed into one little month – testing and final projects, sports, field trips, recitals, graduations, weddings, parties, Mother’s Day. Plus my anniversary! It can be a little intense. I’ve been trying to grab some time to get ahead when I can find it and one of the things I really want to get a jump on is all the gifts for this month. I had the kids with me out shopping on Saturday and with Teacher Appreciation week about to start and teachers on the brain, we went ahead and picked up supplies for a simple gift for the last day of school for their teachers.
Teachers are a big part of our kids’ lives for an entire year and while I never have a lot of money to spend on them, I do like to give them a little parting gift. I figure teachers are looking forward to summer just as much as the rest of us are – maybe even more so! 😉 So we put together a little Summer Kit in a Cup, inspired by this tag
Wish I could give credit for the saying on the tag, but frankly I’ve seen it in quite a few different forms on Pinterest lately and I’m not sure which is the original. To whomever came up with it – great job! 😉
I wanted to dress the cup up a bit so I added a vinyl monogram.
Then we filled it with goodies related to summer
Inside the cup: lemonade drink mixes, sunscreen, Chapstick with SPF, and Italian Ices.
They are now ready and waiting for the last day of school. When the time comes, I just have to remember to send them! 😉
Mother’s Day is just a few days away! Hopefully we all have our gifts figured out, plans made for dinners and brunches, and cards all bought and signed (I don’t! Aaaaa!).
In the spirit of the day I thought I would go ahead and follow up on the SuperMom Gift box I put together a couple of weeks ago. I made the gift box for a friend that just found it she is pregnant, but it would work great for a last minute Mother’s Day gift as well. Or maybe a fun Halloween costume? So here we go – a quick tutorial for making the SuperMom logo shirt.
I was wandering around the craft store the other day and spotted this sun-activated dye that looked like fun. They had these small packages and they seemed like the perfect size for experimenting. And as it turned out, it wasn’t too hard to work with.
The dye is sun activated – whatever the sun hits takes on the color of the dye. Any parts that are covered up are washed out and remain the original color of the fabric. So the first thing I needed was a template. I used Superman logo clipart, added the “mom” in the center, then cut it all out of vinyl. It would work just as well to use cardstock or paper or something. The instructions said you can use just about anything to create the image, but if I can use my trusty vinyl I usually choose that option 😉
Figuring the stability wouldn’t hurt and not wanting the chance of the dye leaking through to the back, I stretched the shirt over a piece of cardboard and taped it down on the back. Then I used packing tape to make a rectangle to contain the dye, added the decal and spread the ink over everything. The fabric still streched and moved a bit as I applied the dye. Next time I would probably stretch the fabric even more before applying the dye. And I forgot to “blot” it after spreading the dye. The instructions said you would get more even coverage if you blotted it.
That’s was the hard part. The shirt spent 15 minutes in the sun and you cold see the color of the ink deepen as time went on. Once it was finished I peeled off the tape and the decal and tossed it in the washing machine. Easy as that!
I can see a lot of possibilites using this method. It was easy and didn’t take a lot of time, and unlike iron-ons, the dye simply changes the color of the fabric and the shirt stays as flexible and comfortable to wear as when you first bought it. (It’s not just my kids that complain of “scratchy” iron-ons or appliques on their Tshirts and sweatshirts, is it?) I don’t make many personalized shirts, but I would probably consider doing this again.
Do you have a favorite method for personalizing clothing?
*Nope, this is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share my little experiment.
Time for another blast from the past! According to the stats on my old blog, my most popular post of all time is the Dump Truck Construction Party I did for my son’s 2nd birthday. That was over 6 years ago and it’s still ranking top 5 in hits every week. Crazy. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted that, though I do have a “thing” for parties. And Tyler’s Dump Truck Party was certainly a fun one. And easy. And inexpensive. That’s got to be the key requirements for a busy mom with young children – lots of wow factor for very little investment. And if those aren’t the reasons for the post’s popularity, maybe it’s those adorable chubby cheeks of his!
From December 2008:
My little guy turned 2 years old yesterday (!) and for his little party with his neighborhood friends I whipped up a fun, very EASY dump truck party. If I had to list Tyler’s favorite things, a dump truck would top the list. In fact, it was one of the first words he learned to say. I think he’s drawn to them because his grandpa has one, and he is a BIG fan of grandpa! 🙂 So anyway – I picked dump trucks as the theme for Tyler’s birthday party.
The whole things is paper pieced (yep I did the pattern myself!) and the back “dumps” to reveal the party info below it The wheels are on Pop Dots for a bit of added dimension. The front reads: “Tyler is 2! Dump everything and truck on over for a party!” And along with the party info inside I made sure to say it was being held “at the Caldwell Construction site.”
Decorations: I chose yellow as my primary color, with black and red accents.
I placed some construction “candles” (borrowed from my Dad) along the driveway and used a few balloons and streamers to make it feel festive.
The table was covered with a black plastic tablecloth, with pieces of masking tape running down the center to make it look like a road. The centerpiece was a few of Ty’s toys and a grouping of helium balloons. I also pinned up some streamers and balloons around the room.
The kids started off “painting” sugar cookies. I made a “palette” using a paper plate and piped little circles of frosting and let them dry overnight. Then I put a bit of “paint” (corn syrup with food coloring) in each little circle, placed a cookie (shaped like a fire truck because I couldn’t find any dump trucks) on the plate and let them have at it. This is a perfect activity for the little ones and the older kids too. And when done this way there is very little mess involved.
We put the cookies aside and had lunch and cake. Opened presents. Then I let them have free time with a couple play zones I had set up – one with blocks for building and the other with a road rug and toy cars. It was a small party with well-behaved kids (and all the mothers there to help out) so we opened up the toys he had been given and added them into the mix.
Favors: I decorated some plain white lunch bags with the child’s name and some dump truck clipart. I had found some really tiny sets of crayons on an after Halloween sale so I used the same clipart to cover up the spiderwebs on the boxes. I also included some dump truck fuit snacks and a toy truck.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… !!
Ok, not sure where I was going with that 😉 Actually, I’ve got pregnancy on the brain. No, no, I’m NOT pregnant. But it sure does seem like I am hearing about more than the usual number of friends and acquaintances announcing they are expecting or showing up with new babies. It feels like it goes in cycles – have you noticed that? Most of the time it’s not on your radar (unless you yourself are pregnant then baby and pregnancy cues are EVERYWHERE) then all of a sudden it feels like everyone is pregnant all at once? I call it Baby Season and it is in full strength lately.
The most recent announcement unexpectedly came from one of my good friends in North Carolina. It was also her birthday last week so I figured I would go a little bigger than the Starbucks gift card I had already picked up and put together a fun pregnancy gift box. I really wanted it to be unique and I was stumped. I think I covered every aisle at Michael’s at least three times trying to come up with something fun and creative, thinking the entire time about what (in my opinion) is uniquely her. And finally – light bulb! See, she has two small boys who are really into Power Rangers and super heroes, and when her husband was deployed last year the tagline on all of her photos was “daddy went away to be a superhero.” Why not go with a SuperMom theme?!
SuperMom double wall drink cup with token “keep calm” saying – check!
I did a quick search for clipart for the crown then used my handy-dandy Silhouette machine to cut out the vinyl. Simple as that. I always use “outdoor” vinyl on projects like these and as long as you wash the cups on the top rack of the dishwasher ONLY, it holds up pretty well.
Funny SuperMom Wall Decor – check!
Quick mini-tutorial for you on this one. Unfinished scrolly wood plaque from Michael’s. (love those things!) Paint it. Superman logo and lettering in vinyl, courtesy of my Silhouette machine, of course. Put it all together and ta-da! Under $5 and probably less than 10 minutes.
It wouldn’t be complete without one of my signature Pregnancy Countdown Blocks, right? (I have decided to retire these in the Etsy shop. If you want one you better order it quick before I run out of stock!)
So there you have it – a Super-fun gift for the SuperMom in your life! I’m thinking this would make a great Mother’s Day gift, don’t you think? (which, by the way, is only a week and a half away – eek!)
According to my calculations, we have only one more week until Teacher Appreciation Day/Week. You know those hard-working teachers need a boost, especially at this point in the school year (anyone starting to get as excited for Summer as I am?!), and it’s kind of fun to put together a little something for the kids to take to school. I made Countdown to Summer blocks for my children’s teachers this year, which is one of my favorite ideas. For those of you that may want something a little more simple/easier to put together (the blocks aren’t hard, but they do take a bit of time and prep) I thought I’d do a quick round-up and recap of the teacher appreciation ideas I have used in the past few years.
In 2011 I put together a little kit of office supplies and candy for the teacher. The PTO at the school had a standard gift idea list – one day was a card, one day candy, and one day was a flower. I went along with those too, but wanted to add a more personal gift as well.Original inspiration (and instructions) for the project found here. I chose a smaller size bead organizer from Walmart and grabbed a few coordinating office supplies, which I divided between the two kits (one for the teacher, one for the assistant), and of course added a little sugar to finish it off. I was shopping with both kids for the candy and couldn’t concentrate, or I would have made sure the wrappers were blue or green to go with my color scheme too. 😉
2012 followed much the same format from the school – cards on one day, chocolate on another, flowers on a third, then I did a little something on my own that wasn’t part of the suggested list.
I picked up a bunch of yummy smelling hand sanitizer (in pocket sizes) and holders at one of Bath and Body Works big sales knowing it would come in handy for something like this. The tag says “you are scent-sational.” The printables for this one and the chocolate came from the Eighteen25 blog and can be found here.
2013 was once again cards, chocolate, flowers and I added in a set of countdown to summer blocks in fun black, white, and red patterns.
I added the option to count down to the beginning of next school year – just for the fun of it. These were an absolute hit with the teachers and I have repeated the idea again this year – see earlier post).
Last year (2014) – chocolate, cards, flowers (tiny pots with seeds this time) and the personal gift was altered clipboards.
I found the owl printable card first (Printable found here) and decided to go with that as the theme.
I modified the printable water bottle labels found here and used that for the tags on the rest of the items. The tag on the flowers reads “Thanks for helping me grow. Love, ___ ”
The chocolate: The tag reads “you deserve chocolate! Love, ___”
And finally, a more personal gift from the kids. I like to get a little creative with these, not only to give the teachers a little variety but hopefully they also get the message that we participate in Teacher Appreciation week not just because we are asked to, but because we really do appreciate their contribution as teachers to the lives of our children.
I took Plain Jane clipboards
and turned them into something fun, pretty, and personal.
The tag reads “You’re just write, teacher. Love, ____”