Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Neon Silly Monster Birthday Party

We chose the theme "Neon Silly Monster Party" for Trey's birthday.  How's that for adjective overload!?  Our middle man turned three this August and I'm just now getting a chance to tell you about it!  (But the party was super cute, so maybe you'll forgive me for being three months late.)  

I get asked all the time how I plan my parties, so here's a little behind-the-scenes, hopefully this former event planner can pass on a few tips that might be helpful for you...
When I get an idea for a party I jump on Pinterest first to see what other people have done.  I get the best ideas for color schemes and special touches that way, then I put my own spin on it.  In this case, there were plenty of monster parties out there, but I wanted it to be so colorful that my camera would scream for mercy!  (My Silly Monster Pinterest Board)

I always sketch out what I want my focal points to look like.  It helps me because I am so visual.  From there I can write "to do" and "to buy" lists.  I usually shop my own house first after I decide on a color scheme and that's when I found some neon pipe cleaners and glow sticks... it went crazy from there!

One pack of neon poster board became place mats and thank you notes.  

My sister-in-law owns a cookie business and they make the most amazing sugar cookies.  Usually sugar cookies look pretty but taste gross and are so hard you might just chip a tooth... not so with Southern Sugar Bakery!  These cookies taste even more amazing than they look!

She has a tiny projector and can project any image on to the cookie... custom logos, monograms, even Lilly Pulitzer fabric!  You've got to check out their Facebook page for more pictures.  (They ship anywhere in the world!!)  The cookies really took all of my meager decorations up to another level!
On to the table... lots of layering going on here.  It's a yellow table cloth, my poster board monster place mats, and the runner is just some wrapping paper that I liked folded in half, easy peasy!
 See what I mean about those cookies stealing the show!?  I know!
The cake was so much fun to make (and eat)!  It's just a ton of piped orange icing piled up in heaps on top and the eyes are blue dum-dums with peach rings wrapped around them.

There's the party animal right there, our silly monster three year old!  (Looks like my camera finally gave up on all of that neon!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Flowers Four Ways

It may be the end of the summer, but bouquets of flowers have been blooming at my house lately.  
I've been saving up little free minutes here and there to experiment with different mediums... watercolor, chalk, acrylic, pen and ink...
I don't think I have a favorite, it's just nice to be creating again.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Smart Summer: Beach Days and Under the Sea

I decided to combine week nine and ten of our Super Smart Summer Plan because you know, we all needed a break from the usual!  If you're new here, start here to read about our laid back learning plan.

Super Smart Summer... "Beach Days and Under the Sea" Weeks

-Disney's Little Mermaid


-"The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister
-"One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss

-Shell creatures- This is one of our favorite activities to do at the beach!  When I was a little girl, my grandmother introduced me to her beautiful collection of tropical shells from all over the world then handed me a glue gun and let my imagination go to work.  We created all kinds of silly creatures together with those shells.

A couple of years ago I let Owen decorate a treasure box and try his hand at it.  This is what he came up with, and this is Martha Stewart's rendition.

-Sink and float activity- Collect a bunch of little items around the house and test each to see which sink and which float.  

-Paint shells-

-Shell sorting- Sort shells by color, size shape, texture

-Message in a bottle- What a great way to practice handwriting... write a message and send it out to sea or bury it in the sand.  (You can always pick it up during nap time so you're not littering.)

-Shark attack- These were made using paper plates.  Chomp!

-Other activities and ideas for things to make and do at the beach can be found on my DIY at the Beach Pinterest page.

-Goldfish crackers
-Tuna salad on fish-shaped bread
-Blue jello with floating Swedish Fish- "Shark infested waters"
You can find links to more ideas and coloring pages on my "Smart Summer" Pinterest board.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Smart Summer: Fun on the Farm

It's week eight of our Super Smart Summer Plan!  If you're wondering what I'm talking about, start here to read about our laid back learning plan.

This week was really low-key.  We just enjoyed some time together as a family and did a little learning on the side when we could fit it in.  This was our plan of action...

Super Smart Summer... "Fun on the Farm" Week

-Charlotte's Web

-Well, the obvious outing for farm week would be a farm, right!?  Is there a place near you where you can pick produce or pet the animals?
-Dairy farm
-Farmer's Market
-Make your own buttermilk-  I put heavy cream in baby food jars and let the boys shake until it turned into whipped cream.  Shake more and it turns into buttermilk and butter!  Here's a recipe and more details.
-Farmer's Market Treasure Hunt- Have your little ones keep their eyes peeled for specific things on their trip to the Farmer's Market.  You can read my full post about this activity here.  If you'd like to print a copy of the treasure hunt page, you may do so here.

-Haystacks- These are a Southern favorite!  Crunchy Chow Mein noodles covered in butterscotch.

You can find links to more ideas and coloring pages on my "Smart Summer" Pinterest board.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Smart Summer: Weather

It's week seven of our Super Smart Summer Plan!  If you're wondering what in the world I'm talking about, start here to read about our laid back learning plan and to find links to each of our past themed weeks.

Before I start with our weather week, this might be a good chance to talk about our nature journals.  Each week the kids and I have done worksheets and activities related to our themes.  We have collected our papers into our "Nature Journals."  The journals are getting filled with all kinds of great work and my hope is to have a big party at the end of the summer when the boys can show off their work to their grandparents.  There are a lot more nature journaling ideas and links on my Smart Summer Pinterest Board.

Super Smart Summer... "Weather" Week

-Climate and weather video for kids This video is fantastic!  It explains difficult concepts in an easy to understand way and even I learned something new!

-See if your local news station allows tours.  Wouldn't it be fun to watch the weather being filmed live or see the meteorological equipment!

-Read Job chapter 38 about God's control of the weather.

-Four season trees- we used Q-tips and finger paints to make trees that looked like the four seasons.

-Record the weather each day.  Here's a great printable for this.
-Seasonal Dress Up.  Write each of the seasons or weather conditions on a different notecard (sunny, windy, rainy, summer, winter, etc..) then turn them over.  Have the child choose the notecard and dress according to that season or condition using their real clothes.
-Sun spots. To study the effects of the sun, put objects on dark construction paper.  Leave it out for a day and then remove the objects to see the way the sun has bleached out the paper.  This is a great visual encouragement for the kids to wear their sunscreen!

-Marshmallow "clouds"

You can find links to more ideas and coloring pages on my "Smart Summer" Pinterest board.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Smart Summer: Planes, Trains and Cars

It's week six of our Super Smart Summer Plan!  If you're wondering what in the world I'm talking about, start here to read about the laid back learning plan I created for my boys this summer and to see a list of our past learning activities.

Beep Beep... it's all about transportation this week.

Super Smart Summer... "Planes, Trains and Cars" Week

-Disney's Cars

-The airport  Our airport has an observation deck where you can watch the commercial planes land.  There is also a private jet terminal that is open to the public.  Do some research to see if something like that is available in your area.  We were surprised to find out that the private jet terminal is actually paid for with tax payers' dollars so anyone can come and go.  My boys love watching the jets land!
-Train station


-Marble Run- To learn about highways and roads we made a marble run two different ways:
Out of paper plates... (Idea came from Frugal Fun For Boys)
...and out of a pool noodle.  The pool noodle race track ended up being our favorite.  To make sure you cut the noodle evenly I'd recommend putting one of the ends on the floor and use a serrated knife to slice away from you and towards the floor while looking down the middle of the noodle.
-Kids Drivers License Test- The House of Hendrix has a great post and some free printables that we used for this activity.  We talked about the importance of a drivers license and the fact that mommy and daddy had to pass a two part test to get ours.  We did a driving test outside with an obstacle course.
Daddy taught the boys about red and green lights.
Then Owen took the written portion of his driving test.  It included questions about safety and making good choices.
In the end we had two new licensed drivers on the road!  (Check out The House of Hendricks blog for the written driver's test and a license that you can personalize for your kids!)
-Trader Joe's Cheddar Rockets or fruit gummies in the shape of cars
-Make "roads" out of pretzel rods or fruit roll ups.

You can find links to more ideas and coloring pages on my "Smart Summer" Pinterest board.