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?)
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.
A few months ago we tackled our biggest project yet – a DIY Kitchen Remodel for my parents. We completely re-did the entire kitchen from the ground up. New floors, new walls color, new cabinets, new everything (except the stove). It was quite a project.
Last week I posted the first of the series about the kitchen remodel – the demolition. Whew – that part of the project was a lot of work!
The next step is the walls. But first a quick recap.
And at the end of the first blog post the kitchen looked like this:
The demolition portion of the DIY Kitchen Remodel took the better part of three days. In that time we cleared out all the furniture, appliances and old cabinetry and removed the wallpaper from the walls.
Those walls had held wallpaper for over 30 years, the latest edition being at least 20 years old. Once the wallpaper was removed the walls behind it weren’t exactly in great shape. In fact, in some places the walls were in rough enough shape I was very glad we planned to put up a tile backsplash so I didn’t have to waste a lot of time patching them up.
Thankfully, the walls in the dining section of the room were in decent shape but had never been textured. We borrowed a texturing machine from a friend for that step.
In preparation for the walls we filled any holes, caulked along any cracks in the corners (there were quite a few of those along the ceiling), and added a couple of outlets (for the dishwasher and microwave).
*When caulking anything you intend to paint double check that the caulk DOES NOT have any silicone in the ingredients even if it is labelled as paintable. Learned that one that hard way and had to do a lot of touching up later as the tape pulled off the paint over the caulk. Urgh.
Texturing a wall isn’t hard. In fact for small patches you can buy a spray can like THIS. (I have used that in other rooms – works great!)
For larger jobs, first fill any nail holes and patch any dents and sand smooth. Then take the time to cover anything that you don’t want textured (that stuff gets everywhere!). We taped plastic over all of the light fixtures, trim, heaters, and openings for doors and windows. We didn’t worry about the floor because we knew we were going to remove the first layer of subfloor and replace it before tiling the floor. That’s why we chose to do the texturing at this point – fewer things to cover up and protect from overspray than at any other point in the install.
As I said, we borrowed a texture spray gun from a friend. It looked similar to THIS ONE, which really isn’t a bad price. (I may just have to look into getting one when we build the new house. Something to think about…) Or if you don’t have an air compressor you could use a texture spray gun like THIS.
Once you’re all set up, simply mix the texture to the right consistency (roughly pancake batter in our case – it will depend on the texture you desire) and experiment a little bit on a scrap piece of cardboard or something.
There are a number of different texturing techniques. We went for the simple “orange peel” look.
-move quickly as you don’t want it to build up on the walls. You can always go back and apply another thin coat if needed but it’s not so easy to remove something that was put on too thickly.
-apply using a more circular motion (as much as possible – the sprayer is kind of awkward) instead of straight lines.
-try not to be a perfectionist. Remember – no one looks at the finished project as closely as you do when you are putting it together.
Let dry completely before removing the tape and protective plastic. In our case we applied the texture as the last thing we did on Day 3, at 8:30 PM. *sigh*
There you can see the walls with the texture applied. Sorry I forgot to get a close-up at that stage. Most of the photos were snapped quickly with the cell phone while everything was in process.
As you may notice from the photo, after texturing the walls we started painting. If you’re smart about this step you can save some time by not having to tape everything for each step.
We started by painting the ceiling and trim white. I suggest satin or flat paint for the ceiling, semi-gloss or high gloss for the trim. The glossier the trim is, the easier it is to clean later.
Then I taped off the ceiling and trim and started on the wall color.
I love how productive painting the walls feels. Suddenly the mess of a kitchen starts to look like it’s coming together. Amazing how a little bit of color can do that.
Well, that a good place to stop for today. Next up – installing the tile! (and yes we did it all ourselves – it’s easier than you think!) Check back soon!
*Post may contain affiliate links.
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 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.
In under an hour and with less than $20 invested in materials…
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!
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,
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?
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.
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.
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.
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…”
and the inside reads “but I don’t have a LICKER license.”
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*post may contain affiliate links*
This past fall we tackled our biggest project yet – a DIY Kitchen Remodel for my parents. And whew! That was a lot of work.
My parents built their house on their own when I was a toddler. (Guess we know where I got the DIY gene!) I’ve heard stories from them about moving in before it was finished. The well running dry when my sister was a baby at the same time everyone had the flu. How my Dad built the cabinets himself, working first on the bottom cabinets and adding the upper ones a year later.
My parents put a lot of work into the home and eventually finished the entire thing. However, life rolls right along and often home improvement projects and updates take a back seat to other things. This had definitely happened for my parents. They wanted to remodel the kitchen. In fact, they had new-to-them cabinets sitting in the garage. And those replacement cabinets sat in that garage for years.
When we moved back home, updating the kitchen quickly became something I wanted to help my parents do. The vinyl countertops were bubbling and lifting up. The kitchen faucet had more than its fair share of hard water build up (and the sprayer hadn’t functioned in a long time). The fan light no longer worked smoothly. And then the dishwasher died.
Weeks of hand-washing dishes soon had me putting the kitchen remodel at the top of the list – as soon as my husband got home from deployment to help. I’m ambitious and not afraid to tackle projects myself, but I knew I was going to need the extra hands, muscles and carpentry skills for this particular project. So in that space of time after deployment but before he went back to his regular job we tackled that kitchen.
Overall the kitchen was still functional. No truly broken cabinets. But drawers were sagging and sticking and the lazy susans in the corner cabinets never seemed to have less than half a dozen items tipping over or fallen off in the back corner. Let’s face it – everything was looking pretty dated.
When the floor looks like this, it’s definitely time to replace it.
The first step of any DIY home improvement project is giving yourself a blank canvas to work with. That means ripping out the old, right?
I know a lot of the DIY shows on TV list “demo day” as one of their favorite times of the project but frankly? I don’t believe them. Emptying cupboards, removing all the old cabinets, pulling up the floor, and ripping down the wallpaper – it’s a LOT of hard, long, tedious work.
Sorry folks but there is NO “easy way” to do this. Yes, I scoured Pinterest and tried a few of the tips and concoctions I saw recommended over and over. When it came right down to it, the best method I found was a steamer and a paint scraper. I didn’t go quickly, but it was effective. Just hold the steamer above a small section of wallpaper for a few seconds to loosen the adhesive then peel the wallpaper from the wall.
I used a small handheld garment steamer (like this PurSteam Next Gen Fabric Steamer, Fast-Heat Aluminum Heating Element With Travel Pouch, 180ml Capacity Perfect for Home and Travel ) but I think a full sized steamer would have been even more effective (like the PurSteam PS-910 Heavy Duty Powerful Fabric Steamer with Fabric Brush and Garment Hanger)
Even worse than wallpaper removal? Taking up the old vinyl flooring. Yuck, yuck, yuck. That stuff did not want to come off.
I’m told there are machines you can rent to aid in removing the old floor. I highly recommend you check into that. We didn’t have one of those nearby so we used the brute force method. Fun, fun. I’m sure the machine would have saved some aching backs and blistered palms.
If you do want to go the low tech method, that little tool pictured above (similar to Warner 790 Tool 4-Inch Strip and Clean Scraper, 12-Inch Steel Soft Grip Handle) turned out to be the best one for the job. (We tried at least 3 other tools, trust me.) The husband could get the upper layer of the flooring off with that tool, then I went back in with a spray bottle of water and soaked the lower layer of the flooring. After a couple of applications of water and letting it soak in for a few minutes after each application, the remnants of the flooring and the glue holding it down lifted up fairly easily. For any of the stubborn pieces my husbands “favorite tool” the mini pry-bar (similar to Titan Tools 17005 Stainless Steel Prybar and Scraper Set – 2 Piece) did the trick.
By the beginning of Day 3 on the DIY Kitchen Remodel, the kitchen looked like this. No more demolition, time to start the actual work on the remodel. Can you guess what we tackled next?
Stay tuned for the next stage in the big DIY Kitchen Remodel – on a budget! Until then, check out more home decor inspiration like my Master Bedroom Update, Laundry Room Redo, or quick and easy 5 Minute Floral Arrangements.
Add a little life to your home decor quickly, easily, and inexpensively by making your own 5 minute floral arrangements.
When we can’t find any signs of spring outside yet, it’s ok to fake it right?
Besides, I’m not the best at keeping house plants alive. (Tell me I’m not the only one!) I can force a bulb or two (check out my current amaryllis “race” on Instagram) but if someone gives me a ficus, that poor thing is bound to die of neglect a few months down the road. In fact, I’ve been known to purposely kill a plant or two when I got sick of watering them. Give me automatic sprinklers any day.
When I want to add a little color or greenery to my home decor, I almost always go for the stuff I can buy at the craft store.
Aren’t those containers cute?
It’s my turn to host to host Bunco in March and my mom has been itching to have some girl time out shopping together so last weekend we headed out to find some Bunco prizes at a couple of my favorite places for home decor inspiration. Not only did we come home with a few things for the Bunco ladies, I couldn’t help but get inspired to make some quick floral arrangements for myself.
I particularly fell in love with this tiny teacup with the ruffled saucer.
And these succulents. Super realistic looking right?
Succulents in home decor are everywhere the last couple of years and I have yet to hop on the band wagon. Figured this was as good a chance as any.
Tiny teacup + succulent = perfection.
And so simple too!
Need a tutorial? Naw, probably not, but I was in the mood to put together a quick infographic for you anyway. 😉
See? Cute and easy (my Big Two when it comes to crafting!) In less than 5 mintues I had this adorable floral arrangement.
I had plenty of the succulent left to work with, so I used it again in a second container. Same process as the teacup.
Foam and moss.
Succulent floral stem.
Less than 5 minutes people – have I mentioned that?!?
And to change it up. I added flowers to the little blue flower pot.
In under half an hour I had almost half a dozen floral arrangements (that’s right – I haven’t shown a couple of them to you yet. Stay tuned!). It seriously took me longer to photograph everything than to put together the 5 minute floral arrangements. Probably spent less than $20 on all of them too.
Do I have you convinced? You totally need to make one too, right?!
Well, go do that and report back. I’d love to see your takes on this simple and inexpensive project.
Let’s go create something great.
Looking for more DIY inspiration for you Home Decor? Why not try your hand at this Farmhouse Barnwood Sign for the kitchen, update your Master Bedroom or Laundry Room, or get really ambitious and Reupholster a Chair.
I picked up this lovely chair on a shopping trip with a friend at a Habitat for Humanity Resale Store. We completely filled the back of the SUV on that trip – hehe!
This chair in particular cost a whopping $5. Yup. FIVE DOLLARS! I figured at that price even if I messed it up I wouldn’t feel too bad. And it obviously needed a little TLC.
Then I started pricing upholstery fabric – yikes! I mean, the cost wasn’t exactly a surprise because back when I was doing interior design it wasn’t unusual to order $125/yard fabrics for custom chairs. But that doesn’t work for my budget. I eventually found a small discount fabric place not far from my home, but after a couple trips I still hadn’t found anything I loved and most were still upwards of $12/yd. Luckily I stumbled onto a link to fabrics.com and found some great deals.
Eventually the fabric arrived and it was finally time to tackle the chair. I did a quick review of a blog tutorial for reupholstering a chair, then grabbed the pliers and dove in.
My trusty sidekick helpfully had her nose in on the fun most of the time.
Look! It even looks good close up! And yes, I painted the base black before attaching the fabric. I almost forgot to do that part LOL.
-Take lots and lots of photos as you pull the old fabric off. It really helps to be able to go back and see the process in reverse, or look at a few details on how to attach the tricky pieces.
-Carefully label (number it when removed, where it went, and which side is the top!) and set aside each piece of old fabric as you remove it. Not only will you be able to use them as patterns to cut out the new fabric, but you can also refer back to them when you are assembling the chair.
-Take your time! This is a labor-intensive process and it takes its toll on your hands and your patience. When my hands were cramping up or I found myself annoyed or ready to rush through a step I would stop for a few hours or the rest of the day. The last thing I wanted was to “mess it up” and then have to see my blunder every time I looked at the chair. So take your time and do it right (or fix it right then) as you go.
-Best paint for quick and easy refinishing? Buy something with primer in the paint and a semi-gloss or gloss finish.
The chair happily took up residence in our master bedroom. Looks pretty good there doesn’t it?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 😉
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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,
Raise of hands – how many of us have been putting off that master bedroom update?
Maybe it’s because we don’t have the time. Or the money. Or the motivation. (Valentine’s Day is coming up – that might be motivation enough, eh?)
I too am needing a little reminder that projects don’t need to feel intimidating or expensive so I thought I would revisit update on my master bedroom in our NC house. (Won’t stop missing that house until I get a new on built. *sigh*)
The experts say so, the novices say so, and I say so. A gallon of paint and a roller go a long way.
This blue took us a couple of tries to hit on a shade that was relaxing and not too bright. That’s what paint testers are for, right?
Even before we all fell in love with Fixer Upper I was a fan of personalizing spaces with lettering. So when I ran across these giant wooden letters at a craft store for 50% off I grabbed them.
I love that they are already embellished and the colors went great with the room.
Those unfinished (and super cheap!) scrolled wooden frames always catch my eye at the craft store and I finally figured out what to do with one of them! The wooden “&” came unfinished from the craft store as well.
It felt like the perfect way to tie the monogram letters together.
The bedding – all made by yours truly. I rarely sew but sometimes I get a vision stuck in my head. When that happens I know it’s useless to try to find a match in stores (hours and hours of searching, people. Exhausting.) and out comes the sewing machine.
I knew I wanted a mostly white bed with accents of black and a tiny bit of blue to pull in the blue from the walls so I just grabbed a few fabrics that worked with that idea and ran with it. The duvet cover is actually made from flat sheets that I cut into strips, gathered half of them, then sewed them back together.
On the other side of the room is a console table the husband built and a chair I reupholstered. A $4 chair from Goodwill, 7 yards of fabric, a little paint and a million staples – that one is worth its own blog post. I’ll try to write about that soon.
Now, I know not everyone is a fan of having a TV in the bedroom. I, however, am a horrible sleeper and have found it’s better to just let the TV get my brain to turn off instead of spending hours laying there with thoughts swirling in my head. So the TV stays.
I don’t like a lot of “visual clutter” so I keep the accessories down to just a few photos, lamps, and that silver vase (that I’m pretty sure we bought with a gift card from our wedding). Simple. Zen?
The shelves on the console need a couple more knick knacks but I still haven’t run across any that feel right.
That’s pretty much it. Simple, inexpensive, but effective – don’t you think?
Feel free to laugh at the Before. That photo was taken the weekend we moved into the house. Our closing was delayed a day, which meant the furniture delivery was delayed about a week so we were basically camping out in the house. Air mattress for the husband and I, blankets on the floor for the kids. They elected to sleep in the big storage closet in the playroom, so I’m sure it felt like an adventure to them. As for the grown ups – we were very happy when the furniture arrived.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts or your own projects that may have been inspired by this (or any other) post. Or check out my Laundry Room/Mud Room, or Farmhouse Barnwood Sign for more design ideas.
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 😉
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At this point we paused for pizza, opened gifts, and had cake and ice cream. Then on to the main event!
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.
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.
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