The Rapunzel (Tangled) Party

On February 15, my oldest daughter turned five years old.  Or, as she likes to say-a whole hand!  When we decided to have children, we thought we’d never have to have a super “big” party, we’d just invite family and close friends over, and on the “big” birthdays (5, 10, 13, 16, etc.), we’d throw the kids parties for their friends. 

We 100% failed to take into account that when you add up our family and close friends, the total tops thirty.  And I adore our home, but a banquet hall it is not.

So we have to be creative and find a different venue for Corinne’s parties, since she was born in the middle of winter.  (For all the details of her birth, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.)  Ashlynn’s parties can be outside in June!

And, of course, there always has to be a theme to the parties!  I adore party planning and organization, so I never really mind.

So far, we’ve had two “My First” parties, puppies and kitties, Minnie Mouse, Tinkerbell, and Cinderella.  Looks like we may be heading toward Scooby Doo for this June.  But for her big #5, Corinne wanted Rapunzel from the new(er) Disney movie Tangled.

That newness was the kicker.  There’s pretty much nothing out there for Rapunzel yet.  A few decorations, no balloons, no cakes.  Crud.

So I got creative!  Using Pinterest, my Cricut, and my own brain, I created virtually all of Corinne’s party decorations.  It was SO much fun!!

Decorations:

Sun Banners

First, we needed sun banners.  I used paper placemats from Pat Catan’s and cut them into triangles.  I cut a sun stencil from a pattern I downloaded from Google images, and dabbed it on with yellow paint.  Then I simply folded and stapled them over twine.  Total cost: about $5 for ten banners!

Paper Lanterns

I also found simple paper lanterns at Pat Catan’s.  Since lanterns are such a focal point of the movie, I bought five and hung them from the ceiling.  Total cost: $5

Picture Collage

This is something I do at almost every one of my girl’s parties.  I love to take a picture from each one of their birthdays and display them to show how they’ve grown.  It’s always a favorite!  This year I put them on purple cardstock and cut out a yellow sun with my cricut, as well as placing the age inside the sun.  (The “sun” was actually the outline of a flower from my Tinkerbell cartridge, which made perfect sense because of the flower in the movie!) Total cost: $1-2

Balloons

A sure-fire hit for an indoor party is to blow up a few balloons and toss them around.  The kids (and sometimes adults) love playing with them and it’s pretty much zero work! Total cost: $3

The Cake

There are no Rapunzel cakes!!  Since we didn’t have the extra cash for a customized one, we just went with purple and yellow to match the party colors.  Corinne loved it and it tasted yummy! 🙂

Treats and Games

Party Hats

Party hats look just like old-fashioned princess hats!  We bought a pack of plain colored ones, and then I braided lengths of yellow yarn and stapled them to the back of the hat.  Everyone got to be Rapunzel!  These were adorable and a fantastic hit! Total cost: $6

Pascal Blowers

Corinne loves the scene when Pascal wakes up Flynn by sticking his tongue in his ear!  We got regular party blowers and sticky back craft foam.  Cut simple trapezoid shapes and add googly eyes and a sharpie smile and Ta-Dah! Pascal!! Total cost: $5-6

Paper Lantern Craft

I try to always do a craft at Corinne’s parties since they are indoors.  It gives the kiddos something to do while waiting for everyone to arrive.  This year we made paper Chinese lanterns!  Fold construction paper in half horizontally, decorate, then roll vertically and staple!  Just like Rapunzel’s!  We placed out markers, crayons, and stickers to decorate.  Total cost: $4

Pin the Nose on Flynn

Ok, I have to admit this was my favorite.  I found the template on disneyfamily.com, blew it up, and had it laminated.  Then the kiddos were blind-folded, spun and pinned the nose on!  (I found random noses on Google images) So much fun and hilarious!!  Total cost: $12 because I had to go to OfficeMax to get it laminated and they charge WAY too much!

Pinata

We also had just a general cupcake pinata.  I used the pullstring kind because quite frankly I did not want small children swinging sticks. Total cost: $20 (candy and pinata)

It was a fantastic party and everyone had loads of fun!  I hope you grabbed a few ideas, and if you need any more details, don’t hesitate to comment and I’ll get back to you!

 

In Which I Answer an Age-Old Question

There are a lot of big questions in life and not quite so many big answers.  What is the meaning of life?  Why am I here?  Why aren’t I over there?  Where did I leave my sock?  Who stole my pen?  Why does that guy think running me off the road will not result in my kicking his ass?

Deep questions, folks, deep questions.

Yeah.  I’m not answering any of those today.

What I have managed to do is answer one persistent question in our house with the help of my good friend Pinterest and my old friends Glue Gun and Cricut.

And that question is…

What’s for dinner?

The bane of every mother’s existence.  Several things can happen at dinner at my house:

-I do not feel like cooking

-I do not have the ingredients to make what I want

-The children do not want what I am cooking

-We are eating the same thing we ate two days ago.  Again.

But no more!

I have created this menu board, and it has fixed all those problems!

Just an 11×14 frame, all purtied up!
I took an idea I got from Pinterest and adapted it my own way.  It’s an 11×14 frame, and I filled it with two trimmed sheets of 12×12 scrapbook paper that matches our kitchen.  I put the black strip over the seam of the papers.
 
 
I bought plain old clothespins and painted them with some regular acrylic paint, then hot glued them to the edge of the frame.
 
The recipe cards are the genius of the whole thing.  We grocery shop two weeks at a time, so we pick out about 12 cards we will be interested in eating over the next two weeks.  (There’s a “Dinner Out” card, too, also known as “Get Out of Dinner Free-ish” card.  But there’s only one!  That keeps us healthier AND saves us money!)

Hey look! It's a Pinterest recipe. Me? Obsessed? Nah.

I made about 50 cards.  I had no clue we had 50 different favorite recipes.  That means we have no excuse to eat the same thing more than once every month or two or so.  I made a two column Word document and typed the recipe name on one side and the ingredients on the other.  Then when I printed them on colored cardstock, I simply folded them in half and used a glue stick to stick them together.  I plan on getting them laminated in the near future.
 
 
Once we choose 12 cards, I turn them over for the ingredients list.  Ta-dah!  Instant grocery list!  No more digging through the recipe box or a million cookbooks!  If it is a cookbook recipe, I put the name of the book and the page # for easy reference.
 
Two recipes get clipped to each pin, and we can look through to see what we’d like for dinner any given night.  We know we’ll always have the ingredients we need, because our grocery list was pretty much made for us.  After we use the recipe, it gets moved to the bottom box as “used.”  Once the top box starts getting low, we just move the bottom box recipes up and start over!

The word "menu" is cut from vinyl cuz I love my Cricut and my new Gypsy, but any sticky letters would work!

The boxes are simply empty 24 packs of crayons.  I cut off one long side and wrapped them in coordinating scrapbook paper, then hot glued the boxes to the frame.
 
 
Just to show how easy this really is, I made one for my parents, too!  For a twist, theirs is more ocean themed to go with their new kitchen remodel, and I used white for their cards instead of colored stock.
 
Honestly, the longest part was the typing of the cards.  But now that it’s done, I know the time and frustration it saves me will be so worth it.
 
I am an organization nut.  And a craft nut.  How could I not try this idea?  I hope this inspires someone to answer the age-old question “What’s for dinner?!”  with “Go check out the menu board!”
 

Make 2012 FULL of Great Memories

2011 has treated my family and I very well.  Sure, there’ve been some rough spots, but as my banner says, I choose happiness, so I choose to focus on the good things!

I ended a fantastic year at my old elementary, watched my oldest turn 4, my youngest turn 2, made fun of my hubby turning 30, started out a new year at my new elementary, which I adore.  Made some new friends, discovered some new things, and visited lots of cool places! 

Wow…could I be any more vague?

Well, here’s the thing.  New Year’s Eve is a great time to look back at the past year and see what you’ve accomplished.  But 12 months, 52 weeks, or 365 days is a very long time to remember.  I mean, honestly, do you really remember anything you did last January? (Barring extraordinary life events like births, deaths, or weddings-yeesh, I hope you remember those!)

So I stumbled upon a way to make those memories a little easier to, well, remember!

Ta-DAH! My latest craft project!

This is a memory jar for the year.  Every time you do something fun, go somewhere neat, or have a fantastic time, grab a paper, use the pen, and jot down the date and the event, fold it and pop it in the jar.  Next New Year’s Eve, have a blast as a family pulling out all your memories and reliving the best parts of the past year.  Also, great for peeking at on a rainy day (or just a day you need a little pick-me-up)!

Materials Needed:  Mason jar (lid optional), 3/8″ ribbon, notepad, pen, hot glue

I used my Cricut Gypsy to cut out some nifty vinyl letters, but you could use any sticky letters, or even a sharpie.  I didn’t add the year because I plan on using it over and over.

Glue the notepad on one side, and hot glue the beginning of the ribbon on the side of the jar, just under the ridge the lid screws onto.  Loop it all the way around, and leave a long dangly piece to tie around the pen.

Tie on the pen and add any decorations you want.  I chose to make a cute little bow with my extra ribbon, but you could add stickers or glitter or whatever you wish!

Total craft cost-about $3…but memories are priceless.

I hope you have a fantastic 2012 and make some great memories…maybe even a few of them here on this blog!

August Fan-dom

I read another blog and that blogger had a good idea.  So I’m taking it.  That’s right.  Just ripping that idea right off.  Because I’m a teacher.  And we beg, borrow and/or steal whatever may work best for our students.  Apparently, that’s now seeping into my blog life.  You never know, it may seep into my real life and they’ll haul me away for five-fingering a Reese cup.  Or toilet paper.

ANYways…

This other blogger recaps every previous month by talking about some things that she loved or discovered or used that month that were particularly great.  So I’m calling mine

 ___(enter month name here)___ Fan-dom

because they happen to be things I was a fan of the past month.

Here goes!  August Fan-dom!

1. Baylor Beach

I love this place.  Cheap.  Gorgeous.  Wonderfully family friendly.  Clean.  And the best part is that there are loads of stuff for my girls to do.  If being a parent of a two- and four-year old has taught me anything, its that most things are designed for ages six and up!  We visited twice this summer, and next summer I’m sure it will be more!

2. Back to Schoooooolllll

HOW could a teacher possibly be a fan of back to school?!  Why, because I am thoroughly weird and adore my job, that’s why! I will say that the whole third building in three years was stretching it a bit, but actually going back to school to teach my students?  Fantastic!

3. My Cricut

I can’t get over how versatile this machine is.  I can use it to make everything from bulletin boards and flashcards to T-shirts and scrapbooks.  I caved and bought myself a new cartridge for it for the first time in over a year (Simply Charmed Cartridge) and I’m using it more than ever!  I’m joining my sister at a craft show where I’ll be selling “Scrap-Packs” of themed accents that I’ve created…look for a future post on those!

4.  The phrase “Straight Up”

Every once in a while (actually, about once a month) I seem to get hooked on a phrase, and it pops up in my conversations at least 3-4 times per day.  There is no explanation for this behavior.  But this month, it was “straight up.”  No, I don’t know why.  But if you talk to me frequently and you think about it, I’ll bet you’ll straight up remember me saying it.

5. Those last precious days of summer with my girls

No explanation required! 🙂