Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Treats

I can't believe Christmas is only 2 days away! I just delivered some Christmas treats to my neighbors.  Got it to them just in time!  This year I made Rolo Pretzels - very quick and easy. Click here for the recipe.  I wanted to make Cupcake Bites again but I ran out of time.  Click here for the Cupcake Bites recipe.  They are so cute and yummy!

I found some fun candy tins at Hobby Lobby and a huge roll of red tulle.  Here's how they turned out.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Handprint Ornaments

We bought a second Christmas tree during the after Christmas sales last year.  The main reason is that I wanted to preserve my "pretty tree" and let the kids decorate a "fun tree" filled with their homemade ornaments.  So far it's been a great compromise, but the fun tree is a bit bare.  We are using a mini-Santa hat in place of a tree topper! 
The fun tree has potential but needed some help so I thought we I'd make some ornaments. I found a very simple recipe for making handprint ornaments here.

What you need:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
7 Tbsp water
Parchment paper
Round cookie cutter (I used a bowl and cut around it with a knife)
1 drinking straw
Mod Podge (I used a matte finish but glossy would turn out great too)
Red Paint
Glitter (optional)

What you do:
1.  Preheat oven to 300°F. 
2.  Mix together flour, salt, and water. Knead with your hands until combined (~5 minutes).
3.  Roll out the dough to ~1/4-inch thick and press child's hand into dough.  If you’re doing this with really little ones, you may have to go back and make deeper impressions of their hands with your fingers or a kitchen utensil – the deeper the impression, the better your ornaments will turn out.
4.  Use the cookie cutter (or other tool) to cut out the circles around the handprints.
5.  Use a straw to poke a hole in each ornament (this is where the ribbon will go later). 
Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden.

6.  Wait for ornaments to cool, then paint as desired.  I also sprinkled glitter on the handprints while the paint was still wet.  Once dry, I wrote each child's name on the back and the year.  Then I covered both sides of the ornament with Mod Podge.

7.  When dry, thread a ribbon through each straw hole to create ornament hangers.

I was able to make 3 ornaments from the dough and had a bit of dough left over.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

"I Thank God" Crosses

My girls are typical kids who get caught up in the excitement of Santa and Christmas presents this time of year.  So I'm trying to be better about incorporating the true meaning of Christmas into some of our activities.  We have a lot to be thankful for in addition to toys. A little reminder never hurts!  

The girls and I made these crosses to hang on our Christmas tree to help us remember everyday.

To make your own cross, you need:
- Card stock for the cross
- Colored paper for the squares on the cross
- Ribbon

I'll be posting my "Christmas Traditions" list soon!  Then I'll be signing off until 2014 so that I can focus on enjoying the holidays with my family.  Happy Holidays!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Lights in St. Louis Hills: Candy Cane Lane, Angel Avenue and Snowflake Street

Tim and I took the girls to the St. Louis Hills to see the lights.  If you live in St. Louis this is a fun (and FREE) activity to do with your kids.  They really go all out!  Here's the route we took:

Candy Cane Lane: 6300 - 6500 block of Murdoch Avenue
Candy Cane Lane starts at the intersection of Nottingham Avenue and Murdoch Avenue.

Angel Avenue: 4700 block of Prague Avenue
To get to Angel Avenue:
Continue down Murdoch and then turn right on Prague Avenue to see Angel Avenue.  The house in the picture below has a great light show set to music!

Snowflake Street: 6500 - 6600 block of Neosho Street
To get to Snowflake Street:
Continue down Prague and turn right on Nottingham Avenue.  Pass the park and turn left on Donovan Avenue.  The first street on the right is Neosho Street (aka; Snowflake Street).

And a trip to the Hill is never complete without a stop at Ted Drewes!
To get to Ted Drewes:
Continue down Neosho Street and turn right on Jamieson Avenue and then right again on Chippewa Street and Ted Drewes is on your right!  You can even pick out a Christmas tree here!

Merry Christmas!!!

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Traditions for Families

I love the weeks leading up to Christmas.  There are so many fun holiday traditions to create with your family.  Here are my family's favorites:

Elf on the Shelf – Elvis arrives with the Elf on the Shelf book the day after Thanksgiving and stays with us through Christmas Eve.  Tim and I love to come up with new places for Elvis to hide.  Pinterest has tons of great ideas.

Letters to/from Elvis – The girls always have a lot of questions about Elvis (How old is Elvis? Does Elvis miss his Mommy and Daddy when he’s at our house all day?).  So we started writing him letters to get our questions answered.  He always answers back on fun Christmas stationary!

Decorating the House – We bring up the Christmas tree and decorate the house over Thanksgiving weekend.  We bought a second Christmas tree at an after Christmas sale last year.  We wanted the kids to have a fun tree to decorate with all their homemade ornaments and the ornaments they receive as gifts.  So far, the tree only has lights, a tree skirt and a few ornaments, but the kids LOVE it.  The especially love that they can take off the ornaments and play with them all the time.  Needless to say, it's a pretty bare tree!  We're hoping to get some more decorations after Christmas this year!

Mini Christmas Trees  I bought the older girls mini Christmas trees for their rooms this year.  Click here to see how they turned out!

Wrapped Christmas Books each day during Advent – Each child takes a turn opening a Christmas book each night for 24 nights that we read before bedtime.  The first book is The Story of the Nativity.  Each day during Advent, we read a new passage from this book.  The last book we open is The Night Before Christmas.

Good Deed Manger – During Christmas-time, anytime the girls do a good deed we write it down on a piece of paper attached a piece of yarn and the girls can put it in the "manger" (aka; a Christmas basket).  By the time Christmas comes, we have a nice, soft manger for the baby Jesus.

Christmas Music – I absolutely love Christmas music.  I have TONS of Christmas CD’s that I downloaded to my iTunes library so I can play my Christmas music all day long!  Some of my favorite songs are:
- Ave Maria by Chris Cornell
- Baby It's Cold Outside by Dean Martin
- Carol of the Bells from the Christmas Carols for Children album
- Children Go Where I Send Thee by Natalie Merchant
- Please Come Home for Christmas by the Eagles
- I Saw Three Ships by Sting
- It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams
- Jingle Bells by The Brian Setzer Orchestra
- O Holy Night by Josh Groban
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town by The Pointer Sisters
- Silent Night by Stevie Nicks
- Star of Bethlehem by The Judds
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings by Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
- 12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser
- Bells Will Be Ringing by Kelly Clarkson

P.S. - My guilty pleasure is the Jessica Simpson Christmas Album, Rejoyce - don't judge!

Christmas Shows – I love to record all the Christmas shows that come on TV between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Click here for the 2013 programming guide.

Christmas Events around town  There are always fun things to do around town.  Click here for a list of events around St. Louis.

Christmas Cards – I love to send out Christmas cards to our family and friends.  And I love to receive Christmas cards (hint, hint)!  We display all our Christmas cards in the kitchen.

St. Nick’s Day (December 6th) – The kids leave their shoes out before bedtime on December 5th in the hopes that St. Nicholas will come and leave them some money to buy a gift for a child in need (see “Toys For Tots” below).  They may get a special treat too.

Gingerbread Man Cookies – We make gingerbread man cookies and while the cookies cool we read the book The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School.  Sure enough, our gingerbread men cookies escaped while they were cooling just like the gingerbread man in the book.  We searched all over the house looking for our gingerbread men and finally found them on the kitchen table ready to be decorated.  Phew!

Visiting Santa – The kids love to color pictures for Santa so that we have something to give him when we visit him at the mall.  Getting their picture taken with Santa is special too.

Toys For Tots – A couple of years ago we started the tradition of having the girls pick out a toy to donate to Toys for Tots.  This year, the girls have earned money by doing chores around the house that will go toward the purchase of the toy.  They will also contribute their St. Nick's Day money.  There is usually a Toys For Tots donation bin at the mall by Santa.

Letters to/from Santa – Before Christmas, we help the girls write a letter to Santa about how they've been and what they've been up to over the past year.  When the girls wake up on Christmas morning, there is a letter from Santa waiting for them.  Click here for a link to some cute, free Santa stationary.

Portable North Pole Video from Santa – Santa sends video letters to the kids (and sometimes to Mom and Dad) before Christmas.  Click here to make your own video.

The Legend of the Candy Cane & Candy Cane Cocoa - One of the books that the girls open during Advent is The Legend of the Candy Cane.  We drink Candy Cane Cocoa while we read the book.  Click here for a yummy Candy Cane Cocoa recipe.  Click here for a free printable PDF that tells the Legend of the Candy Cane story.  Also, if you need a dairy-free hot chocolate, Target sells Archer Farms Dark Chocolate hot cocoa mix that is dairy free!

Baking Christmas Treats for Family, Neighbors and Public Servants – I love to bake Christmas treats but I can’t (or rather, I shouldn't) eat them all by myself.  So we give plates of treats to our neighbors or bring them to our families’ houses that we visit over the holidays.

Neighborhood Lights – We are so lucky that there are many families in our neighborhood that decorate the outsides of their houses for Christmas.  We love to drive around at night and admire all their hard work!

Public Light Displays – We love to drive through Tilles Park to see the Winter Wonderland lights display.  Santa’s Magical Kingdom is a bit more expensive, but still lots of fun!

Gardenland Express – The Missouri Botanical Gardens has a great indoor holiday train display that the girls love to see each year.

Magic Reindeer Food – We sprinkle reindeer food and glitter in our lawn the night before Christmas so that Santa’s reindeer will spot our house from the sky and stop to drop off the girls' gifts.  Click here for a recipe for magic reindeer food.  You can also print out a free poem and tag for your bag here.  Also, Ava made this cute container for our magic reindeer food when she was in preschool.

Milk and Cookies for Santa/Carrots for Reindeer – We put milk and cookies out for Santa the night before Christmas on our “Cookies for Santa” plate.  We also put out carrots for Santa’s reindeer.

A Christmas Story – After Tim and I put the girls to bed on Christmas Eve, we start watching A Christmas Story while we wait for the girls to fall asleep so that Santa can come.

Stocking Stuffers – Kids love those little junkie toys that make great stocking stuffers.  I go to Dollar Tree or the dollar section at Target before the holidays to find our stocking stuffers.

I also found some more fun traditions that other families do to celebrate Christmas:
- Write out a Christ-centered goal to start early for the New Year
- Bake a cake for Jesus’ birthday
Advent Calendar – Do a special family activity each day during Advent
- Adopt a Child / Adopt a Family
- Special Christmas morning breakfast
- Christmas crafts and Christmas coloring pages
- Take the whole family ice skating
- Host a White Elephant gift exchange
- Hang Mistletoe around your house
- Go see The Nutcracker or another Christmas-y production
- Make Thick Hot Chocolate and watch a family Christmas movie
- Host a Christmas Sweater Party
- Donate canned goods to a food pantry
- Make a Christmas wreath
- Make a Gingerbread house
- Open one gift on Christmas Eve (i.e.; Christmas pajamas)
- Decorate Christmas sugar cookies
- Attend City tree lighting event
- Have breakfast with Santa

What is your family's favorite Christmas traditions?

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Mini Christmas Trees

I wasn't sure if we would be able to put up our Christmas tree this year.  Clara is going through the phase where she tears everything apart - my desk drawers, the kitchen cabinets and drawers, bathroom cabinets, the pantry.  Anything that is not child-proofed is fair game for Clara.  She is her own tiny path of destruction.

So I bought Ava and Sidney these little Christmas trees to decorate and keep in their rooms. They LOVED having a Christmas tree all for themselves!
The trees came from Micheal's.  All of their holiday stuff is marked down 30-40% off and they've had a lot of addition 25% off coupons on sale items lately.

Then the girls got down to decorating.
I found the ornaments in the picture above at Dollar Tree - they came 4 to a pack.

Most of the other decorations came from Hobby Lobby.  All of their Christmas stuff is 50% off! I bought tiny jingle bells and 1/16" red ribbon to use as ornaments.  They also had cute mini tree lights strung together (the lights don't actually work).

I found the tree skirts in the dollar section at Target and the little presents under trees came from Hobby Lobby.  They were meant to be ornaments so we just cut off the strings.

Here's one of the decorated trees!  I think this will become a new, fun Christmas tradition! Check back soon to see my Family Christmas Traditions post.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

2013 St. Louis Holiday Events Guide

* picture courtesy of St. Louis Daily Photo Blog

I scoured the internet and compiled a list of all the fun holiday activities around St. Louis. I broke up the events into 4 categories: Events, Light Displays, Shows & Concerts and Dine with Santa.  Some are free, some are not - click the links for more details.  And feel free to add any other activities that you know of in the comment section.


Gardenland Express
MO Botanical Garden
Saturday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 5

Holidays at Eckert's
Saturday, Nov. 23 - Sunday, Dec. 22
Eckerts Belleville Farm

Holiday Magic 2013
America’s Center
Friday, Nov. 29 at 11 am to 6 pm
Saturday, Nov. 30 at 10 am to 6 pm 
Sunday, Dec. 1 at 12 pm to 5 pm

St. Charles Christmas Traditions
Nov. 29 - Dec. 24

Big Joel's Winter Wonderland
Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 29 through Dec. 15

Museum of Transportation - Visit Santa and see the 'Macy's Train' on display
Opens at 9 am on Friday, Nov. 29

Christmas Wonderland of Alton, IL
Nov. 29 - Dec. 29
Rock Springs Park in Alton, IL

Light Up the Loop
Nov. 30th at 11am - 7pm

Snapshots with Santa @ The Boathouse
Sunday, Dec. 1 at 11 am to 2 pm

Photos with Santa
Thursday, Dec. 5 and 12 at 5 pm - 7 pm
Friday, Dec. 13 at 11 am - 1 pm
Kirkwood Train Station

All That Glitters
Downtown Clayton
Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 pm - 10 pm

Christmas in Kimmswick
Friday, Dec. 6 - Sunday, Dec. 8

Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 pm - 8 pm
Wildwood Town Center Plaza

Candy Cane Hunt
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 9:50 am SHARP!
Faust Park

Ginchmas on South Grand: Grinch Spread Holiday Cheer
Saturday, Dec. 7

CWE 4th Annual Window Walk Festival
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1 pm to 7 pm

Skate with Santa at Steinberg Skating Rink
Saturday Dec. 7 at 1 pm to 3 pm

Holiday Boutique and Elves Workshop
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 9 am - 2 pm 
The Pointe in Ballwin

Ballwin's 4th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 5 pm - 6 pm
Olde Towne Plaza (14810 Manchester & Ries Rd. across from Vlasis Park)

21st Annual Kristkindl Markt at Stone Hill Winery
Saturday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 8

Cookies with Mrs. Claus
Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8 at 11 am to 3 pm
Museum of Transportation

Santa Arrives on a Fire Truck
Sunday, Dec. 8 at 5 pm - 6 pm
Affton Community Center

Family Holiday Evening
Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Foundry Art Center

Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, Dec. 14 - Sunday, Dec. 15: 11 am - 4 pm daily
Purina Farms

Holiday Express Train
Saturday, Dec. 14: 1:30 pm  - 7:30 pm
Union Station

Pint Size Christmas Party
Tuesday, Dec. 17: 10 am - 11:30 am
Crestwood, MO

Lighting up the Winter Sky
Saturday, Dec. 28 at 5 pm
Downtown Kirkwood Station Plaza


Santa's Magical Kingdom
Jellystone Park Resort, Eureka
Open daily at 5:30 pm through Jan. 5

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Christmas Lights Display
Opens Friday, Nov. 16 through Friday, Jan. 4, visitors may view the lights from their cars at 6 p.m. until midnight.

Macy's Festival of Lights
Kiener Plaza, Downtown St. Louis
Opens Friday, Nov. 22

Way of Lights
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville
Opens Friday, Nov. 22 through Jan. 3 from 5 pm - 9 pm every night except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas

Garden Glow
Missouri Botanical Garden
Opens Saturday, Nov. 23 to Jan. 4

Winter Wonderland
Tilles Park, Ladue
Opens Wednesday, Nov. 27 through Jan. 1 from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Wild Lights
Saint Louis Zoo, Forest Park
Opens Friday, Nov. 29 through Monday, Dec. 30

O'Fallon's Celebration of Lights
Fort Zumwalt Park, O'Fallon
Opens Friday, Nov. 29 through Monday, Dec. 30

Candy Cane Lane
6500 block of Murdoch


Santa vs. The Snowman
Friday, Nov. 22 through Tuesday, Dec. 31. Closed on Thanksgiving and  Christmas.
St. Louis Science Center

A Christmas Carol
Thursday, Dec. 5 - Sunday, Dec. 8
Fox Theater

UMSL Classic Holiday Concert
Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 pm -- FREE
Touhill Performing Arts Center

The Story Hour
Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 pm
Family Arena

St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday “Pops” Spectacular
Friday, Dec. 6 at 8 pm
Purser Auditorium, Logan College

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Sunday, Dec. 8 at 5pm
Peabody Opera House

The Nutcracker presented by Carol Bowman Academy of Dance
Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm
Chesterfield YMCA Theater

Silhouettes of Christmas
Wednesday, Dec. 11 - Sunday, Dec. 15
St. John Church

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7 pm & Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2 pm
Powell Hall

The Nutcracker
Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7 pm & Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2 pm
The Purser Center at Logan College

Straight No Chaser 
Sunday, Dec. 15 at 7 pm
Fox Theater

The Nutcracker 
Sunday, Dec. 15: Francis Howell Central 
Friday, Dec. 20 - Sunday, Dec. 22: Edison Theater at Wash U.

Tuesday, Dec. 17 - Sunday, Dec. 29
Fox Theater

The Nutcracker
Friday, Dec. 20 - Sunday, Dec. 29
Touhill Performing Arts Center

White Christmas presented by SCC Young People's Theatre
Friday, Dec. 20 - Sunday, Dec. 22
Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building

Holiday Celebration at Powell Hall
Saturday, Dec. 21 - Monday, Dec. 23

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Monday, Dec. 23 at 3 pm and 7:30 pm
Scottrade Center


Supper with Santa at the Butterfly House
November 30, December 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15 from 4:30 pm to 7 pm

American Girl Brunch with Santa
December 1, 8, and 15 at 9:30 am

Milk and Cookies with Santa
Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 6 pm - 8 pm at the Chesterfield DoubleTree Hotel
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1 pm - 3 pm at the Sheraton St. Louis City Center

Saturdays and Sundays at 9 am and 11 am from Dec. 7 to Dec. 22

Brunch with Santa at The Ritz-Carlton
Dec. 7, 14 and 21 from 9 am to 1 pm

America’s Incredible Pizza Company
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 9 am - 11 am

The Magic House
Sunday, Dec. 8 at 8 am, 9:45 am, 5 pm; 
Sunday, Dec. 15 at 8 am, 9:45 am, 11 am

Breakfast & Craft Workshop with Santa at Purina Farms
Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 15 starting at 9:30 am 

Dinner with Santa at the St. Louis Zoo
Friday, Dec. 20 – Monday, Dec. 23 at 5 pm and 7 pm 

And in case you haven't seen the Holiday TV programming guide circulated on Facebook, click here.

Happy Holidays!!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Leaf Placemats

Ava and Sidney love collecting fall leaves.  And they insist on saving all of their nature "treasures".  Normally, I wouldn't mind a rock or pine cone or a leaf or two.  But the way Clara has been eating all of our art projects (and anything she can get her hands on)...I have to restrict what comes in our house these days.

As a compromise, I found this fun project to do with the girls and all their fall leaves:

The girls made all of our placemats for Thanksgiving dinner!  All it required was a bunch of colorful fall leaves, 12" x 18" construction paper and a roll of contact paper.

To make the placemats, we first cut the stem off of the leaves and pressed them between books.

 I also cut the contact paper and flattened it under books to make it easier to work with.  While we waited for the leaves and contact paper to flatten out (a few days), I cut the centers out of fall-colored construction paper to make frames for the placemats.

To assemble the placemats, remove the backing from one piece of contact paper and place it sticky side up on a flat surface.  Lay the construction paper frame on the contact paper and then begin placing leaves inside the frame.

The tricky part is applying the top piece of contact paper.  After two failed attempts, I figured out the's my best attempt at explaining it.
1. Remove the backing from a piece of contact paper.
2. Fold the contact paper in half with the sticky sides facing out.
3. Carefully place the rounded sticky side of the contact paper on the middle of the leaf placemat.
4. Smooth the contact paper as you press it onto the leaf placemat.

They turned out so cute!  And the girls love having placemats with all their meals!  So fancy!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Fondue Dip

I love holiday get-togethers!  It gives me a chance to try out some new dessert recipes without feeling like I have to eat it all myself ;)

I haven't used my Little Dippers in years so I knew this recipe was THE ONE.  It combined two great things: the Little Dipper and pumpkin!  Anyone who followed my blog last year knows my obsession with pumpkin treats.  I was worried about trying out a new recipe on people other than my family, but not to worry - this little gem did not disappoint!

If you don't have a Little Dipper, don't worry.  There are other ways of making this tasty treat.  See the Notes below the recipe.

1 cup canned pumpkin pie mix (NOT 100% pumpkin)
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
Walnuts (optional)

Things to dip:
Apple slices
Graham crackers
Ginger cookies
Vanilla wafers

1. Add the cream cheese to the Little Dipper then top with sour cream.
2. Pour in the pumpkin pie mix.
3. Cover and cook for an hour, then stir well.  If the cream cheese isn't fully melted, cook a bit longer.
4. Garnish with chopped walnuts if desired.

If you don't have a Little Dipper, you can put an oven safe dish in a crock pot and cook on high for an hour or cook on low for two hours.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kindergarten Halloween Party

Ava's Kindergarten party was a success!  Take a look below if you need party ideas!

The party was broken into three parts.

Part 1
To start the party off, one parent read the book, "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything" by Linda Williams while the other parents set up and decorated the room.

We set up 4 tables: two tables for the craft, one table that held the snacks and drinks and one table for eating / drinking.  We decorated the tables with orange plastic table cloths and paper pumpkins.

Part 2
After the story, we split the kids up into 3 groups: Ghosts, Vampires and Witches.  One group went to the snack table, one group went to do the craft and one group went to play the game.  Every 10 minutes, the groups rotated to a different table.

For the snack, we had 5 Halloween bowls with:
- Skittles (Cat Eyes)
- Mini Marshmallows (Ghost Guts)
- Raisins (Bat Brains)
- Pretzel sticks (Witches Broom Sticks)
- Candy Corn (Chicken Toes)

We labeled each of the bowls with their Halloween name on a paper skeleton bone.  The kids scooped out their snacks into Halloween baggies labeled with their name.  Click here for more Halloween snack food ideas.

For our craft, the kids made spider hats.  We also added googly eyes on the spider.

For the game, we played Mister Bones Relay Race.  
We split the kids into two teams and the first team to correctly assemble Mister Bones won. Click here to download the printable skeleton template.  I cut out all the pieces and then laminated them.  I also put together and example for the kids to follow.  Some of the leg and arm pieces are tricky!

We played the game twice and everyone won a prize (from the Dollar Store) at the end. While the kids waited to move on to the next station, they did a Pumpkin Connect-the-Dots and a Pumpkin Maze and then colored them in.

Part 3
For the last activity, we brought all the kids back together for a game of "Hot Pumpkin".  
To play "Hot Pumpkin" the kids sit in a circle and pass a small pumpkin as Halloween music plays.  When the music stops, the child holding the pumpkin is "out".  When they are "out" they get to come pick a Ghost Lollipop from the pumpkin.  The kid that wins gets to keep the "hot pumpkin" and pick a ghost lollipop. Click here to see how to make the Ghost Lollipop pumpkin.

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Dollar Crafts: Kid Halloween Decorations

Sidney can hardly wait for Halloween to get here.  Everyday she asks to do a Halloween art project.  I've been so consumed with planning Ava's Kindergarten Halloween party that I didn't have anything planned.  Sidney really wanted to make a ghost and a witch.  Here's what we came up with using supplies found around the house:

To make the ghost, we used:
- white card stock
- black card stock
- cotton balls
- black and orange ribbon (left over from the Ghost Lollipop project)
- Elmers glue

To make the witch and broom, we used:
- black card stock
- green card stock
- brown card stock
- googly eyes
- paper towel roll
- Elmers glue

Happy Halloween!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ghost Lollipops

Clara's pumpkin birthday party may be over but I am not finished with the pumpkin-y crafts yet!  Ava's Kindergarten Halloween party is coming up and I am helping plan it.  

These cute little Ghost Lollipops stuffed in a pumpkin are going to be used for a game of "Pass the Pumpkin".  It's played just like "Hot Potato".  The kids sit in a circle and pass a small pumpkin while Halloween music plays.  When the music stops the person holding the pumpkin is "out".  But don't be sad...the consolation prize is a Ghost Lollipop!  The winner gets a Ghost Lollipop and gets to keep the little pumpkin.

Here's what you need to make your very own:
Foam pumpkin
Pinking shears
White cotton cloth
Orange and black ribbon
Masking Tape
Awl or Power Drill

Here's how I made the Lollipop Ghosts:
1.  Using pinking shears, cut the white cloth into 6.5 x 6.5 inch squares.
2.  Cut the orange and black ribbon into 14 inch strips.
3.  Cover the lollipops in the white cloth and tie a bow using the orange and black ribbon.
4.  Use a black marker or Sharpie to make ghost eyes.

Here's how I made the pumpkin:
1.  Place strips of masking tape equidistant from each other from top to bottom around the pumpkin.
2.  Use a flexible tape measure and a pencil to make dots on the masking tape.
3.  Use an awl or a power drill to punch holes in the pumpkin.  Be sure to punch holes at a downward angle.
4.  Remove masking tape and insert lollipop sticks.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

1st Birthday Pumpkin Party

My baby turned ONE!  

This picture pretty much sums up how Clara felt about turning one.  The youngest of three girls, all she wanted for her birthday was to be a big girl.  {I assume that's all she wanted because we didn't really get her any gifts...}

But I did throw her a fabulous Pumpkin Party!  Here are some of the pictures from her big day.

I made the invitation myself!  It's not professional quality but for my first attempt it was not bad.  I used PicMonkey and .jpeg images that I found online to create the invitation.  I had it printed at FedEx Office.  Check back to see my PicMonkey tutorial!

This sweet little number came from Xannazoo on Etsy.  I love to shop on Etsy for special occasion outfits and gifts.

I decorated the tables with Lollipop Pumpkins and gourds.  Click here to see how I made the Lollipop Pumpkins.  I also used Deco Mesh Ribbon and burlap for a table runner.  You can buy Deco Mesh ribbon at Hobby Lobby or Michaels and I've even seen it at Walmart.
I filled the little orange and white striped cups with Brach's Autumn Mix Candy Corn. 
The Farmers Market crate came from Walmart!  Seriously, Walmart has stepped up their game in the Arts and Crafts department.  I filled it with gourds that the girls brought home from Rombach's pumpkin patch.
 I put my Fall Mason Jars on the Dessert Table.
This is the tutu that I made for Clara before she was born.  We used it for her newborn photos.
I decorated the house with photos of Clara well before her party.  I tend to leave them up for a while after too.  We all love looking at the photos and reminiscing about the past year. Clara's Number 1 captures photos of Clara with her sisters, parents, grandparents, great grandma and Godparents.
I was amazed at the number of photos that I had of Clara.  I had to edit it down to under 100!  I try to find pictures of Clara with the family members that will be at her party.
Clara woke up from her nap to find the house had been transformed for her pumpkin party. Tim hoisted Clara up on his shoulders so she could get a better look at things.  Did you notice the picture on the cabinet in the background?  I can't believe how much she's grown!

Birthday Cake(s)
I leave the real birthday cake to the professionals to create.  They did a great job and it was delicious!  I highly recommend chocolate mousse filling!
I attempted to make a pumpkin smash cake for Clara.  I have a bad feeling that Clara may be allergic to eggs (bad bagel experience) so I made an egg-free smash cake for her.  I also made it dairy and nut free so that Sidney could have a bite.  Click here for the recipe.
I'm glad I didn't spend a lot of time on the smash cake.  The appearance and taste did not matter at all to Clara.  All she cared about was squishing it between her fingers.  In hindsight, I wish I had spread out a plastic table cloth on the floor (in addition to the seat of her high chair). Clara threw a good amount of the cake on the floor. 

The girls worked on Thankful Pumpkins with their cousins.  Sidney was thankful for "twirly dresses"!!
The kids also decorated pumpkins.  If you need to buy a bunch of pumpkins, ALDI is the place to go.  They sell huge pumpkins for $2.39!!  I bought eight of them for the kids to decorate.  I bought the face stickers online at Oriental Trading Company.

If you're planning a pumpkin party, you're in luck because there are so many great, inexpensive decorations to choose from.  Dollar Tree has a lot of great decorations.  

Happy Halloween!

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