Friday, August 31, 2012

2nd Annual Back-to-School Brunch!

So, this morning was our 2nd annual "Back-to-School Brunch!"  What fun we had!  I made a bigger deal out of it this year (Why not?) and thought you might enjoy seeing some of the preparations we made so you can put together your own brunch!  Here ya' go ...

Of course, we had to put a sign on our little buffet to welcome everyone!  (I buy cheap frames when I see them and use them for things like this throughout the year.)
Our little buffet!  (Thank you, Anna and Hannah, for such delicious contributions!)
Our dining table, covered with brown paper, with little buckets of crayons waiting to be used ...
I set up Maggie's chalkboard easel, too!
Anna's DEE-LISH quiche!  (Just waiting on that recipe, my friend!)
Here are Hannah's cinnamon rolls worth fighting over!  (SOOOO good!)
 Fruit kabobs!  (Who doesn't love food on a stick?)  :)
 The kids dug in and got right to work decorating the table while we talked about the school year!
The "Back-to-School Brunch" Crew!  :)
 Three cute girls!  :)
The aftermath!  (Everyone left the table full and happy!)  :)
 After brunch, we did a few activities, one of which was dropping the pencils in the bucket (we later switched to a taller jar) to see who could get the most in.
 Lucy won with 4 pencils!  :)
Years ago, I bought these little crayon note cards in the dollar bins at Michael's and decided to use them today to make a time capsule for each child to open at next year's brunch.  Each child got one of each color and each card had a question on it to answer.  
I had made these little "crayon boxes" out of paper to put their crayons in when they were done answering their questions.
 Once filled, they would look like this!  (Cute!)
Here, they are divvying up their crayons to start!  
Olivia, packing her box!  :)
Once our time capsules were complete, we sealed them in bags and put them away until next year's brunch!  
For the last activity, I used my decor (these crayon cut-outs) to make a game.  I yelled out a clue (for example, "This is the color of Elmo!") and they would run to the right crayon.  The first person to the right color would win a small prize.  I yelled out clues until everyone had a prize.
 Finally, they took these little goody bags to go (filled with pencils, stickers, erasers, candy, and a special surprise you'll see below).
 In each person's apple note (I picked up a pack of 8 of these note cards for $1 at Dollar Tree), I wrote a sweet message.
And, finally, the surprise in their bags that I referred to earlier were these super cool candy pencils I made!  I got the idea from, but as with most things, I did it a bit differently to be a bit more economical (I don't have a crimper and didn't want to purchase one, so I went without).  They turned out so cute!
For your candy pencils, you need rolls of Rolo candies (1 roll per pencil), Hershey's kisses (1 kiss per pencil), yellow paper, pink paper, aluminum foil, scissors, and adhesive (I used several as you will see below).  
On the yellow paper, I had printed "No. 2" and "Happy New School Year!" on my computer to fit each Rolo roll.  Then, I cut the paper to fit.
Once wrapped, I adhered the paper at the back (farthest from the printed words) with a piece of Scotch tape.
Then, it was time to attach the kiss to our pencil.  I didn't want to use glue since the paper is so thin between each candy, so I used Zots dots to adhere the pencil's tip (the Hershey's kiss).
Looking good!  Then, it was time for the eraser!
I simply cut a small strip from the pink paper and adhered it to the top of the yellow paper with a glue stick!  So easy!
I followed that with a sliver of the aluminum foil, also adhered with the glue stick, to match the metal clasp you see on real pencils.  All done!  They looked great and they were a hit!  :)
And finally, for the moms (my two wonderful friends!), I put some highlighters in a cellophane bag, closed it with some curling ribbon and added this cute note!
The day was a blast!  We can't wait to do it again next year!  Until then, there will be so much to peek in on and see!  Be sure to come back after our first day of Kindergarten next Tuesday!  HAPPY LABOR DAY!

Party in the Tub!

So, I finally snatched my first idea from Pinterest and here it is ...

Glow sticks in the bathtub!  SOOO much fun!
What will you be doing tonight?  

Lots more to come later today!  In just two hours, we have our annual Back-to-School Brunch and there are so many ideas from the same that I'll be sharing with you later!  Check back in with us!  Until then, TGIF!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Maggie's 5th Birthday Bug Party!

My baby is five.  I cannot believe it.  She has been asking me since last year's party (a robot party) to throw her a bug party for her fifth birthday.  She never changed her tune.  So, here it is!  Maggie's 5th Birthday Party!  Hope you are able to grab a few ideas from it!  Enjoy!

I had bought these cardboard bugs from Oriental Trading Company ages ago, had them laminated, and have used them for everything!  They worked great for decorating for the party!
 I even hung  a few of Maggie's plastic bugs with string, like they were mid-flight!
  And stuck bugs in a few other obscure places!  :)
I also hung this "HAPPY [bee]-DAY" sign up over her doorway.
On her door was my notice to keep out of Maggie's room until the very end, when they would hunt for bugs there!  :)
For the birthday girl, I put this beaded design (bought with a 40% off coupon at Joann's for about $2) on a solid T-shirt.
Then, it was on to more decorating!  We bought green and brown balloons (think grass and dirt) and put a natural centerpiece on the table (weeds stuck in a large round vase filled with river rocks and water).
 In this other shot of the same space, you can almost see what we did to the ceiling -- 1-foot strips of crepe paper, hanging from the ceiling to resemble grass!
Here is a better photo of our "grassy" decor.  (I wanted the kids to feel like they were in the grass, like little bugs!  They loved it!)
The only other balloons we got besides our green and brown ones were these red and yellow ones, which I positioned over the bar to resemble a caterpillar!  (The face drawn on the yellow balloon didn't hurt!)
Here's a closer look.  (Cute!)
For her parties, we always make a thematic playlist.  Here's the cover we designed for this year's (a copy of which each family took home).
Then, it was on to the food!  Here, I just put together some green cutlery in green napkins, tied on with a brown ribbon and a spider ring.  (I know, I know, spiders aren't bugs, but it was cute!)  
 Our buffet sign ...
For the plates, we cut out "bug bites" as well.  I had bought this Fiskars large "Seal of Approval" punch to do the job, but with the first squeeze, the arm broke off!  
YIKES!  But don't write off Fiskars just yet!  They very graciously agreed to replace it within the week with the very first call I made!  
So, then, it was time to try out the ol' hole punch and I'm happy to say it worked out great!  (I never needed to make the Fiskars purchase, but I'm sure I will use it plenty in homeschooling.)  We now had bug-bitten plates!  Cute!
So, on to the food!  For our beverage, I (of course!) made "Beetle Juice," but first, I wanted to make gummy worm ice cubes, simply made by adding our worms to an ice cube tray, topping off with water, and freezing!
Once frozen, I popped them in this pretty clear glass pitcher and added apple juice!
Aaah, Beetle Juice!  :)
We also served "Antennae" (pretzel sticks) and the new (delicious!) green mint M&Ms!  (Everybody grabbed more of those!)  I added some of Maggie's plastic bugs to the buffet for more decoration.
And (of course!) butterfly crackers ...
... "Snails' Shells" (turkey wraps) ...
... "Ants on a Log" ...
...and "Ladybug Snacks" (cherry tomatoes, a Ritz cracker, Ranch-flavored cream cheese, olives and chives)!
It all turned out so well!  
We also had "Caterpillar Kabobs" (grapes on a skewer with blackberry heads and sugar eyes)!
It was all fun, but the best was yet to come ... the cake!  Before that though, we did some crafts and played some games.  Before our first game, we made ourselves into bugs using headbands (6 for $1 at Dollar Tree) to make antennae.  Here, Olivia and Lucy are adding pipe cleaners to theirs.
Sweet Leah and her buggy headband!  :)
Buggy Liam!
 Lucy!  :)
The birthday girl!  :)
 Comparing their antennae ...
 Olivia, working hard on hers!
Baby Maria!  :)
 Olivia and her masterpiece antennae!  :)
After the antennae were made and our "bugs" were ready for some bug activities, we started our first game ... "Musical Leaves" (like "Musical Chairs," but with big paper leaves)!
 The last two left were Olivia and Mags, both circling!  Olivia won, but Mags was a great sport!  :)
Olivia won the big prize, the Ladybug Playground, but everyone went home with bug stickers!
For the next game, we used our "Bug Eye" (here, Liam's demonstrating) to guess the number of bugs in a jar.
Here's the jar (also the big prize), with the runners-up prizes surrounding it (glow-in-the-dark critters).
 Lucy, making her guess.  :)
 I see you!
 The winner?  Our birthday girl, with her guess of 20 bugs!  (There were 31.)
Then, it was time for cake!  And what a cake it was!  My husband did it again, this time, with his chocolate grasshopper!  I was so tickled!  Check it out!
 So cute!
 The detail was awesome!
We stuck a candle in him and got ready to sing!
 Daddy, lighting the candle ...
 Happy Birthday, Maggie!
 (She wasn't so keen on being the center of attention, as usual.)
But the cake was delicious!
After cake, it was time for our bug hunt!  I had provided these mini nets with their names attached for the hunt.  Each child had to find 8 little bugs in Maggie's room to get their parting prize.
 And they're off!  (Leah's checking low.)  :)
Their goody bags were actually goody nets that I found for 89 cents at Michael's in their summer clearance sale.  I put these cute tags on them to make them personal.
 In each net, I put the following: a bug viewer with plastic caterpillar and tweezers, a grow-in-water bug, a bug lollipop and chocolate ladybug (Thanks, Mom!), a magnifying glass, a bag of Keebler Bug Bites, a sticky wall-walking bug, bug stickers, and the playlist from the party.  
 What looks more exciting than a net full of goodies?!
 Of course, the nets were a hit!
 It was like Christmas with everyone taking inventory of their piles!  :)
 All in all, the day was a big success and I am so glad to have made these memories for Maggie!  Happy 5th Birthday, my wonderful girl.