Monday, November 22, 2010

Do you want to CREATE YOUR SPARK???

I have missed posting about parties, but a friend and I have been working on a super secret project and now we're finished!

Check out our new planner/organizer:

This is an undated weekly planner, so you can start it anytime- even NOW!

Each week has two pages.

The left page has a weekly spark, which is an activity designed to keep you on track for reaching your goals and keep you focused on what you REALLY WANT:

Each week, there is a different weekly spark that will inspire you to create the life you really want!  On each left page, there is a space for you to journal about your weekly spark, as well as extra space to use however you want.  It's unlined, so you can sketch (I'll be sketching my party plans), make separate boxes for family members, keep a food log- the possibilities are endless.

The right side is an undated, weekly calendar:

For each day, there is a place to keep track of daily activities on the left.  On the right, there is a place for listing up to 3 daily focuses.  These could be your most important tasks, current projects, or Quadrant 2 (I love Steven Covey) activities for the day.

Check it out here:

We are really excited about this and hope you will be too.  Let us know what you think!

Friday, November 5, 2010

I mean, who doesn't want to KEEP CALM and GOBBLE ON??

Craftily Ever After
Ohhhhhh my.  How cute are these.  First I found the picture frame DIY project at Tatertots and Jello, which sent me to WhipperBerry, where I found these FREE printables at Craftily Ever After.

No idea whatsoever how our parents amused themselves during naptimes without the internet.

So many crafts I want to do, so little time!  But these are easy, FREE, and can be easily stored and used year to year.  That's a WIN/WIN/WIN in my book!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New twist on a Thanksgiving tradition

I love this idea.  I see so many cool ideas for using old frames.  I love this one, mainly because I could actually make it myself without any help.   You can find step by step instructions at Tatertots and Jello.

I can see using this for lots of other things, too.  Like chore charts for kids.  Monthly menus in the kitchen.  For a birthday party, you could display a picture of the guest of honor at each age...

Yes, I must make one of these...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Girls Night OWLS

Owls are all the rage this season.  I know, because my closet guru put this on my wish list recently.  I bought it and love it- as I do everything she suggests- but I digress.

Owls can symbolize wisdom, foresight, and the ability to see things that are hidden.  Moreover, they are clearly masters of the night.

So, next week I am hosting an impromptu Moms Night Out for my MOMS club and today I was shopping for my girls and got these adorable owl barrettes.  Naturally, on my way home, my musings of Girls' Night Out melded with my thoughts about owl accessories and resulted in:


Oh, how I amuse my self on that trek back to the burbs....

Here's what I think would make an owl party a real HOOT:


For a little girls party, or for a group of fun ladies, I am loving these charms.  I like to have something that reminds me of a fun evening, and these could be put on simple cords and turned into necklaces, put on a key chain, or used as a zipper pull for your favorite hoodie.  Since owls are so this season you'd be able to wear it with style.


For treats, owl pops are easy to make using moon pies or Oreos.  Of course, I would suggest using Newman's Own cookies because they have ingredients that more closely resemble real food- ones I can pronounce...but that's just me. ;)

For drinks, I think Nolita Night Owl Punch and Night Owl Pumpkin Ale sound super fun.  For a non-alcoholic drink, I would make your favorite punch and name it owl punch or owl coolers.


These are cute and free to download here.  Of course, I really prefer online invites these days.  If you want help keeping track of RSVPs, you can use evite or punch bowl.  Unless I want to use the invite as a keepsake for the guest of honor, I like to simply create my own fun invitation on my desktop using picasa or even Microsoft word, save it as a pdf, and email it out to my guests.  You can also use punch bowl to create your invite using their graphics and save it to your desktop to email or print.  I haven't had a chance to use the site yet.  If anyone else has, I'd love to hear about it!

This could be thrown together so easily and would be a great fall party.  Happy partying!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wondering what to do with all that CANDY???

In the name of Science, get your kids to give up some of their candy for some really cool experiments!

Check out this article on  

Of course, you could also stick some in the freezer to dig out for stuffing stockings...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

THIS may be my next party favor!

Ok, maybe not this exact one...because it's a bit pricey for a party favor, but HOW COOL IS THIS??

I found this on eventlucky. I love reading about Sara's party planning- right now she's planning a camping theme party for her husband.  Fun!

Here's the site that created this super cool, super green idea: furoshiki

Love, love, love it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween Party Recipe: MUMMY MEATLOAF

This is just too cute!  Read the recipe at Gourmet Mom On The Go.

I plan to make this for my MOMS Club fall party for the kiddos.  I will use ground turkey, flax seed instead of the Wheaties cereal, and will leave out the grape jelly.  I'm sure it adds to the taste as the author says, but we don't have jelly on hand because of sugar content, so I will just omit.

We don't do cheese, so I will either use rice cheese or gluten free crackers.

If you want this to be completely gluten free, you can use brown rice lasagna noodles.

So fun!  Enjoy.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


My friend Julie has been there and done that, as you can see above.  But her youngest wants a train party, about 5 months after his older brother's train party.  But she did trains!  She had a stellar train affair, with a train cake (pictured above), train cookies, train ticket invites, and even a train crossing sign.

What's a girl to do?  I talked about this here.  It seems to be a common problem.  My youngest always wants the same party her older sister just had.  With my girls, it's princesses.  .  With Julie's boys, it's trains.  There's nothing wrong with doing the exact same thing...but for gals like us, we like to challenge our creativity and shake it up a bit.

So...we have been brainstorming new and inventive ways to make her second train party just as exciting as the first.

With Halloween right around the corner, Julie thought up having her kiddos dress as trains.  And then we thought- "How fun would it be to let the party guests make their own train costumes at the party, using re-useable/found objects?"  I've said it a million times before, but I'll say it again- kids love to dress up.  They love to pretend.  And Julie and I love to recycle- thus the idea for making train costumes out of boxes.  Turns out, lots of people have done it and there are tons of links for how to do it.  This one seems to be the easiest.

The idea is to have the cardboard boxes ready for the kids to personalize with stickers, markers, etc. and then to let them chug a chug a choo choo around the house in their costumes.  She already has the train crossing sign and sound effects, so these costumes will fit in perfectly and make for adorable photo ops.  Also, the kiddos can take them home as their favor.

SUGAR TRAIN Kids Candy Mold Chocolate
Speaking of favors, another idea I love is to use these molds to make recycled train crayons.  Julie and her boys can do this together beforehand.  All you have to do is take crayon remnants (if you don't have enough, ask your child's teacher- I guarantee she has a box in a closet of what I call crayon nibs), melt them down, and pour them into the molds.  The molds can be re-used- even to make chocolate candies!

You can also buy them here on etsy

If you want to take it one step further, I think these conductor hats are  A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!

This party is for a 3 year old, so I think one activity is enough.  But for older kids, I think using die-cuts like these to do another craft would be fun.  They could also be used to make a cute tablecloth for the cake table. Then, afterward, you could use them to decorate plain card stock for thank you notes.

If you have any other train ideas, let us know!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Make a ONE OF A KIND centerpiece for your next party

My neighbor has started the coolest new biz.  Which, of course, got me to thinking about how I could apply it to my next party.

How cool would this be for a centerpiece?  It could be theme related or say something generic that could be used year to year.  I think the word CELEBRATE would be super fun and would make any food table festive.  And, of course, I love things that can be re-used and enjoyed after the party.

I also think it would be lots of fun to have the guests sign the back.  Several of my friends love unpacking their Christmas ornaments because each one holds a special memory.  This sign could serve the same purpose in helping you remember past celebrations.

Ooohh...a friend recently asked me for some new Thanksgiving tradition about a sign by Brit with BE THANKFUL on it?  

Each year, the guests around your table could write the date, their name, and one thing they are thankful for.  I love how my girls' gratitude matures each year.  Last year, Kate was thankful for Mommy's coffee- not because she drinks it, but because Mommy does and it makes her happy.  Too cute!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Combine Science and Fun this Halloween!

Looking for ideas to do with your kiddos this Halloween?  Maybe you are the room mother for your child's class and you would like to do something different for the fall party?  Perhaps you are homeschooling and are looking for something fun to do with your pumpkins this year.  Here's an idea I brainstormed with a friend the other day.

Join us for a PUMPKIN PICNIC

We would set this up in stations, so you could have 3-4 kids at each one and rotate them around for an entire group or class.

STATION 1:  Inside a Pumpkin

Have a the top cut off a pumkin to show the kiddos what the inside looks like.  Briefly show them how you would clean it out, by pulling out the stringy goop (yes, that's the scientific term) and seeds.  Let the kids handle the slimy mess- why should the grown ups have all the fun??  Show them how you would remove the seeds from the sticky mess.  

STATION 2:  Pumpkin Seed Roasting

Show the kiddos how to season and roast the seeds.  Let them toss the seeds in a little olive oil and salt.  Then, as if by magic, pull out a bowl of already roasted seeds for them to taste.  Here's how to roast the seeds if you need a tutorial.  It calls for butter, which works too.  But for mixing purposes in class, I suggest olive oil over melted butter.

STATION 3:  Pumpkin Flesh

Let the kiddos practice scooping out the flesh of an already baked pumpkin.  Then have them scoop theirs into a small cup and let them sprinkle some cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar into the cup.  I would put the spices and sugar into salt/sugar dispensers for less mess.  Let them mix and try it.  Explain to them that this is what is used to make pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, etc.

STATION 4:  Writing about Pumpkins

Have these words written in large letters at this station:
  • pumpkin
  • cleaning
  • seeds
  • roasting
  • flesh
  • baking
Let the students write about and illustrate their favorite pumpkin station.  

STATION 5:  Graphing Pumpkins

Have a bar graph on chart paper with some pumpkin stickers.  Label the bottom of the graph (along the y axis, for you graphy types) with: Cleaning a Pumpkin, Roasting the Seeds, Baked Pumpkin, and Writing about Pumpkins.  Pre-write each child's name (Sharpies work best) on a pumpkin sticker.  Help them locate their sticker and use it to vote on their favorite part of the pumpkin process by placing their sticker above their favorite station name.  

This could be done at home with a group of friends for an easy and educational Halloween project.  It could be done over several days, one station a day, or as one long activity.

Here's a list of supplies you will need (based on a group of 20 kiddos):

  • 3-4 pumpkins with tops cut off (you could "borrow" these from friends or neighbors and return them after the kids have cleaned them out in station 1)
  • 3 cups raw pumpkin seeds
  • small dixie cups (2 for each child, for stations 2 and 3)
  • salt
  • expeller pressed safflower oil or olive oil
  • 3 cups previously roasted pumpkin seeds 
  • 3-4 baked pumpkins 
  • salt/sugar dispenser filled with brown sugar
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin pie spice
  • sentence strips with pumpkin words written in big, clear letters (your student's teacher probably has some you can ask to use)
  • pencils and paper for writing stations (or the students could use their science journals)
  • chart paper with a bar graph (again, you could probably get a piece from the teacher)
  • Pumpkin stickers, with student's names pre-written on them 
  • At least 5 adults (one for each station)

Have a great time and don't forget to bring home the extra pumpkin flesh for pumpkin bread!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Grow Your Own Halloween Tree

The Halloween tree is sweeping the net again.  And why not?  It's versatile, earthy, cheap, and good, clean FUN!

Here are some recent, and not so recent, takes on it:

Read more about this here
And read about this old school version at this super cool site
Pottery Barn
Martha Stewart's
Martha Stewart: Take Two

My take?  I plan to print out, trim and laminate all the Halloween pics I have from years past and use them to decorate my tree.  Each year I will be able to look at Halloweens past and look forward to the future costume pics.  I'm so cute, I can hardly stand it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Teach Your Child the Spirit of Giving

What a great way to help instill the idea of giving back to others.  Basically, you log onto ECHOage and create an Eco friendly invitation for your child's birthday.  They can choose from several options.  Your child is also able to choose a charity they would like to sponsor.

Inside the invitation, it will read:

My ECHOage birthday party is a giving celebration for everyone! Instead of bringing a wrapped and packaged present, we invite you to RSVP and give a secure online gift. Half of your contribution will go toward the purchase of a gift I've been dreaming of, and the other half will go toward the charity I have chosen…

This is an amazing idea.  It is quick, easy, and almost effortless for the host and guests.  Your child will feel the spirit of giving, AND be able to choose their own special gift- reducing clutter and unwanted gifts.

Read more about the idea at Whole Living.

LOVE it!  Thanks for sharing, Julie!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Get Your Plan On! Make a party inspiration board

I can't believe I am just now stumbling onto party inspiration boards!  I found this one on birthday girl's blog.

I have life inspiration boards, wardrobe boards, why not ones for parties- a.k.a. my obsession?  

I love the idea of creating an inspiration board for upcoming parties for several reasons:

1.  Lots of my ideas come from the internet.  I am constantly linking photos or ideas and would love to have one place to drag and drop my favorites.

2. I currently keep my ideas in a party sketch book, but it's bulky and not practical to carry around with me.  I could easily keep a photo with me at all times for when inspiration strikes...or when I find a killer deal!

3. I am totally a visual person, but my sketching skills leave something to be desired.  This would be a much easier way for me to explain to people (namely, my sis) what I want them to create.  

So now all I have to do is figure out the easiest way to make one of these photo collages.  I've done it tons of times on sites like, but I'd like to be able to make my own.  Off to stalk my tech gurus for the answer...

What about you?  Could an inspiration board for your next party spark your creativity?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Have you decided how you will celebrate Halloween yet?

How cute are these labels???

I hope you have decided to succumb to the fun that is HALLOWEEN!  I mentioned it here, but I will recap for those who weren't listening- you should have a Halloween bash of some type!  

First, I love, love, love FALL.  Aaahhh....I can breathe again.  I can go outside without melting.  I CAN WEAR MY BOOTS!!!

And second, to me, Halloween is the beginning of fall.  Here in Texas, it's still HOT.  But it's getting cooler.  And by Halloween, it will be almost bearable.  So I bide my time and distract myself with Halloween preparations.

This year, I am having a kiddie carnival like I have for the past several years.  We have little games, a potluck, photo op stations, and tons of fun.

But after seeing Kim's new Halloween Glam collection, I am thinking I need to have at least one more.  I am loving all her labels and catch phrases.  Check out these cupcakes:

She has her printable collection on sale at 50% off until September 22nd.  Usually I like to make my own, but for $9.50, these are a steal.

These are super fun and could be used in so many ways to celebrate Halloween.  I'm thinking a Halloween bunco, wine and whine playdate, or a  Couples Happy Hour at home....what to do, what to do...

I want to know- how are you going to celebrate??

Monday, September 20, 2010


Legos and Star Wars.  What else could a first grade boy want for his birthday??

I am totally living vicariously here, since I don't have little boys.  Legos are super cool.  Period.  Legos I get.  But I must admit, I have not understood little boys' fascination with Star Wars until I started looking online for party ideas.  I mean, Star Wars has a lot to offer kids.  Good vs Evil.  Other planets.  Awesome space age technology- complete with ridiculously powerful ships and droids.  I totally want a droid to follow me around.

LIGHT SABERS!!!!!  Enough said.

So, let's stick with light sabers for a sec.  In my opinion, no Star Wars party can be complete without light sabers.  This is a perfect favor idea, and it also doubles as entertainment during the party.  And look at these, made with pool noodles (which are probably on clearance right now!):

I got this pic from Aimee Austin Deisgns.  She has some great ideas one there.  She also sells the invites, so if invitation creations are not your thing, you should check her site out.

Speaking of invitations, I do like to make my own.  If I were going to make these, I would probably head to Hobby Lobby or Michael's and pick up some of this lego scrapbook paper.  I would use that for a mat around the actual invitation.  If you have Star Wars Lego pieces, I think it would be super fun to have your little one design a scene for you to snap a picture of and use for the border or the top of the invite.  I think this would be a great way to give your child ownership.  If that's too time consuming, you could just find an unlicensed photo online by searching "Star Wars Lego" images.  You can easily make this in MS Word.  Just paste the picture at the top.  If you want a starry background, similar to Aimee Austin's, you could print the invite onto black starry paper, but be sure to use white lettering.

**One benefit of giving yourself several weeks to work on the invitations, other than the obvious time management plus, is that you can wait for Hobby Lobby to put their scrapbook paper on half price- which seems to happen every few weeks.

On to the cake....I love serving cupcakes because you don't have to take time to cut the cake, no extra plates and forks are needed, and they are easy to make ahead of time and freeze.  You can also spread them out on a table to maximize their use as decor, similar to the penguin scene we did here:

I would probably ice the cupcakes in primary colors (preferably using natural dyes).  You could use Lego candies to top them and intersperse them on a table with Star Wars Lego figures to create a fun scene.  In the picture below, we used a white tablecloth with small boxes underneath in some spots to provide depth.  For Legos, I would probably use a red tablecloth or black.  If you don't have one, I would send an email to friends before buying one.

For favors, I like the light sabers mentioned above.  But if you also like to hand the kids something as they walk out the door, you could easily fill a baggie with a handful or two of bulk Lego pieces with a printed label that says, "May the Force Be With You.  Thanks for sharing Ryan's 7th birthday with him!"  If you decide to do a pinata, you could fill it with the bulk Lego pieces and some candy.

Entertainment for this party is simple enough.  I would use those bulk Lego pieces and put them on a building table.  You can throw your kid's Legos there, too, as they will all stay with you when the kids leave.  The light sabers above will also keep the kids having fun.

For decor, you could cover the walls of the party room with black bulletin board paper, similar to the graffiti wall I mentioned in a previous post.  If you have a disco ball, or can borrow one, and some strobe lights, you could make the room dark (the black paper with help with that) to lend itself to the inter-galactic world feel.  Glow in the dark stars would make this effect even cooler, and could be bought in bulk and used in favor bags or the pinata also.  A soundtrack would be great as background music for the party.  Again, I would think about borrowing the music from the library or a friend if possible.

Have I left anything out?  If you have any ideas for Star Wars Lego parties, please share them here!