Category Archives: Kiddos

Leprechaun Houses

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We had the funnest party yesterday with some of my friends I worked with years ago and all their cute kiddos. I do an annual St. Patrick’s Day party with them and thought it would be fun to change things up a bit. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I love to decorate gingerbread houses. We did haunted houses at Halloween, the classic gingerbread houses at Christmas, and then love shacks at Valentine’s. I wanted to do leprechaun houses, but was a little sugared out. I’m so glad I decided to do wood houses for these. They turned out absolutely adorable! Now we have a place to keep our leprechauns if we get lucky enough to catch one.

small leprechaun wooded houseThe whole project started with these adorable house boxes I found while looking for stuff for a completely different party. The size and shape is perfect, and I love that the roof comes off so you can take a peek inside and even decorate it for the little guy.

leprechaun house suppliesHere is a list of where I purchased everything to help you find things a little easier. Everything I bought at craft stores was 40% off when I purchased it. Watch for sales, craft stores always have great ones.

Michaels – black rocks, white rocks, moss rocks, moss rocks with succulents,
Oriental Trading – paper mache house boxes, gold coins, large wood slice, wood spools
Walmart – moss ribbon, bag of moss
Hobby Lobby – small wood slices, moss ribbon, small popsicle sticks

leprechaun house wood stairsMy boys have been so anxious to make a bug garden (like a fairy garden, but for bugs) that I thought we could use these houses in the bug gardens after St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure the paper mache houses won’t hold up very well outside, but that will just give us an excuse to do this fun activity again. If you are going to make fairy gardens, I think little wood bird house kits would make such cute houses that you could decorate. That’s what we’ll replace these with after they have endured the weather a bit. Luckily, all the cute steps, wagons, tables and chairs, etc. are all wood and will be just fine.

leprechaun housesMy oldest boys are 5 years old and couldn’t get enough of this. They’re still making houses and other accessories out of all the wood slices and moss as we speak. They woke up first thing this morning, and got to work. 12 hours and about 5 pounds of glue later, they’re still creating. I think the excitement of working on their bug gardens mixed with getting to use the hot glue guns by themselves, is what has kept them busy all day. They have done so well with them and can’t put them down.

side of wood leprechaun houseAt the party I had three cordless hot glue guns to split between the 12 kids. First of all, that wasn’t nearly enough. Second, the cordless hot glue guns didn’t heat the glue fast enough for how much they were being used. They took forever. I grabbed my cheap, mini glue guns that plug into the wall and we were able to crank out the houses much faster. If you decide to do wireless glue guns for this project, I recommend having one per person.

natural leprechaun houseAnd you can’t have a leprechaun house without a few gold coins. We places them around the houses to help lure the leprechauns to us. I hope it works.

leprechaun fairy garden housesSend your kids outside to gather some sticks and other treasures from nature and get to work making some leprechaun houses. Or, you can just go buy everything at the store like I did. Haha! Works either way.

I hope you have felt inspired to make leprechaun houses or maybe it gave you motivation for a fairy/bug garden this summer. Whatever you choose, enjoy the process of making them. That’s the best part.

Christmas Advent Calendar

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Yesterday was a busy and exciting day for us. The kids put on their new Christmas pajamas and we went and did our annual Santa pictures. Each of the boys asked for a BB gun, which they have been asking for all month long so there was no surprise there. When Santa asked Reese what she wanted, she confidently exclaimed “A SHOTGUN!”. A what??? I didn’t even know she knew the word “shotgun”. Like any good mother would, I quickly shot the idea down and told her she wasn’t getting one and to try again. She then asked for a shelf. A shelf? Haha! This girl kills me. All of them were so good the entire time and I just wanted to cover them in kisses. I really lucked out with these kiddos.

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When we got home everyone got to color their own Santa advent calendar. I even let them use glitter, so they were definitely loving life. While they were coloring,  Jax said with a smile, “I love this day!” The rest of the kids agreed and started talking about how much fun they had had doing Christmas activities all day. It’s those kind of moments that just make my heart so happy!santa-beard-countdown-2

Don’t forget to blow off the extra glitter!

santa-beard-countdown-kidsWe set up a card making station in their playroom to leave up during the holidays. I’ll share more about that later, but it made the perfect spot for today’s fun. There are two versions of this calendar. One that is colored and ready to be hung, and a black and white coloring page.

santa-beard-countdown-hatAlthough the file says “print and cut”, you don’t need to cut anything out. You can simply print the page and you’re done. The Silhouette designing software is FREE. So even if you don’t have a Silhouette Cameo, you can still use it to design cards and other projects, then print. Or in this case, you can just download the Santa advent calendar and print it out. Add a cotton ball each day of the month, and when Christmas arrives, Santa will have a nice fluffy beard to keep him warm while he delivers presents.

santa-beard-countdown-tableIt’s never too late to make an advent calendar. In fact, the further into the month you make it, the more days you get to fill in right away. It’s like making a to-do list and checking off half of it instantly. So satisfying.

You can find both versions of this advent calendar, by clicking on the images below.

Witches’ Brew Party Drink

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We had the funnest Halloween party with our friends. It was a progressive party where we traveled to a new house for each activity. Luckily we are all neighbors, so we didn’t have to travel far.

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At my house we had lunch and made some witches’ brew party drinks. I found these awesome skull mugs at Oriental Trading in their clearance section over the summer. I’m glad I snagged them up, because they are no longer available. Total bummer, because these mugs are so cool! This was the inspiration for the whole drink.

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I bought these syringes early in October from Walmart not knowing what I was going to do with them. I knew I had to use them some how this season and this was the perfect place for it.

witches' brew kit table setting

photo by Jill Witt Photography

Each child had their own witches’ brew party drink kit set up as their place setting at the table. The kit included all the ingredients they would need. The products were all name brand too, and came from the best witch shop in town, Witchy Works. ;)

witches' brew ingredients

Witches’ Brew Drink Kit 

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Blood – Koolaid
  • Broken Bones – Candyfetti (Pop Rocks would also be cool for this)
  • Eye of Newt – Candy Eyes
  • Bits of Brains – Sweet Tart Ropes
  • Ghostly Goo – Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Skull Juice – Sprite
  • Witches’ Brew Labels

Directions:

  1. Print and cut out your labels. The labels include more spooky ingredients than I used at the party, so they will fit a variety of candies and other ingredients you want to use.
  2. Fill your glass half way full of Sprite. I used a ladle to scoop it out of a cauldron in the middle of the table with dry ice. Why is that stuff so cool even when you’re an adult? I loved it as much as the kids.
  3. Add ingredients one at a time and watch as they fizz and bubble up. Use the straw to stir your magic potion.
  4. Drink up and enjoy!

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The kids loved mixing and adding all their spooky ingredients to make… well, a mess actually, but that’s what parties are all about. Haha! If you want to watch it in action, my little boy made some witches’ brew in this video.

witches' brew with syringeHave a safe and happy Halloween!

Haunted Gingerbread House Party

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Our cousins slept over last week and we decided to make haunted gingerbread houses with them. I bought a kit of five houses a few weeks ago at Walmart for $7. I planned on doing them with my kids some time during October, but when our cousins were over, we knew it would be the best activity to do together. So the night before, I gathered all my supplies and quickly made up some spider web bases, treat bags and glued all the houses together. Glueing all the houses together before the party is the best way to do it. You can see more about it on my Gingerbread House Party post.  My original idea for the icing, was to fill some piping bags with white frosting and tie them shut. But at the very last minute I had the idea to make them look like candy corn. I’m so glad I did, because they looked so cute!

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Candy Corn Frosting Bags

Supplies Needed:

  • Frosting (I used pre-made frosting from the grocery store.)
  • Piping Bags
  • Food Coloring
  • Cups
  • Twine

Directions:

  1. Color your frosting with food coloring.
  2. Place the piping bags in cups and fold down the top two or three inches around the outside of the cup. This keeps the bag upright and also keeps you from getting frosting all over the top edge of the bag as you fill them.
  3. Scoop white frosting into a piping bag. Do the same for the yellow and orange frosting.
  4. Cut the tip off of the white frosting, and pipe it into the bottom of each bag sitting in a cup.
  5. Next pipe in the orange frosting, followed by the yellow frosting.
  6. Pull the bags out of the cups, twist the tops and tie shut with the twine.
  7. When the party starts, just snip the tip of the bag off and let the kids start frosting.

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For the haunted gingerbread house bases, I cut out a spider web using my Silhouette Cameo and used it as a stencil on some white cake boards. Place the spider web on the cake board, tape down in one or two spots, then spray with black spray paint. I wasn’t too worried about the lines being perfect, because they were going to get covered in candy and frosting. I like to do a larger base for the houses, because the kids love creating fun things in the yards. I think they spend more time decorating the base than on the actual house.

*While I was cutting out the spider webs for the bases, I cut out a few smaller ones using white sticker paper and placed them on the bags of candy to seal them shut. Easiest stickers ever!

I took pictures of everyone’s houses during the party and thought this little evolution of a haunted gingerbread house was fun to see.

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Do you see that large, square marshmallow in the backyard of the house above? That is a trampoline. My little boy used a toothpick to make the gummy bear look like he was jumping high on the trampoline. And that big Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the front yard is a fire pit. He sure is a clever little 4-year-old!haunted-gingerbread-house-candy-and-frosting

Just look at all that delicious candy to use. And aren’t those candy corn frosting bags so cute sitting there on the table?

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Sometimes it’s hard to know when to quit. Haha! Can you believe all the piles of frosting and candy on this house? This was the house of my other 4-year-old, Jax. His house was voted the spookiest. I can see why. eating-the-frosting

This scene was all too familiar. I don’t think there was a second during the whole party when there wasn’t at least one kid eating frosting from their bag. Just another reason I like to give each kid their own frosting supply. haunted-gingerbread-houses-finished

A little look at all the gingerbread houses made at the party. I love the creativity kids have when you don’t show them a finished project of what it is supposed to look like. It’s so fun to see what they come up with, and let their creativity run wild.

Also, when there are six kids and only 5 houses in the kit, (and the store is sold out) you make do with what you have. My 2-year-old didn’t mind decorating a house out of marshmallows one bit.  She was just happy having her own stash of candy and giant bag of frosting. haunted-gingerbread-house-table-3My favorite pictures of every party is the messy table during the middle and at the end. Nothing shows it was a fun party more than that.

Skeleton Bone-Shaking Yoga Poster

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I bought a skeleton from Target one day while my kids were at school. They thought it was the funnest surprise. I would find it set up next to them playing legos, watching tv, eating dinner, etc. My little boy, Mason, was exercising with the skeleton making him do push-ups and sit-up one day, and it gave me the idea of making a skeleton yoga poster to teach my kids different yoga poses. I thought this would be a fun activity for us to do together and my kids love it. They call all the yoga poses “tricks” and love showing me how good they are at them. skeleton-yoga-chairI stayed up late one night photographing this skeleton in different poses. It was much harder than I thought it would be. Getting it to balance in all the poses wasn’t very easy. Since I just  used a cheap skeleton, only some of the joints moved, making it hard to get a few of the poses to look really accurate. I’m sure I looked crazy doing a whole photoshoot of a skeleton, but it was worth it. I love how the poster turned out!
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Let’s just pause for a moment and look how cute my happy baby is doing the “happy baby” pose. I couldn’t resist having him in on the fun too. His cheeks are too delicious!

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I printed the 20×30″ poster at Office Depot on their printer for blue prints. I think Staples and other office supply stores offer that service as well. It only cost me about $3.00. The skeleton Bone-Shaking Yoga file is a high resolution .jpg, so if you wanted a better quality, you can print it as a photo. It will cost a bit more, but your print will be clearer. The blue print option worked well for what we used it for.

skeleton-yoga-upward-dogskeleton-yoga-mountain I decided to offer this poster as a free download for a limited time. So tell your friends to grab one too while they are still free. Wouldn’t these be perfect for a class party, halloween party, or just some fun family time? You can find the free download at the end of the post.  skeleton-yoga-warrior skeleton-yoga-wheel

Click HERE for your free skeleton Bone-Shaking Yoga poster.

Glow-in-the-Dark Halloween Dinner Party

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A few weeks ago I stopped at Michaels to check out their Halloween decorations. My daughter and I were finding much more than we had gone in for. I feel like that always happens to me no matter what store I’m in. Anyway, as we were wondering through the isles we spotted all the glow-in-the-dark party stuff. They had banners, plates, platters, pitchers, utensils, and more. I was just going to get some plates, but saw that everything was on sale, so I grabbed a bunch of stuff and decided to have a glow-in-the-dark Halloween dinner party with my kids.

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Now before I go on about how much fun this party is, I feel like I should mention this is not a sponsored post. It just sounds like it because I found so much great stuff there on sale and we have been going crazy with Halloween activities this month. I love when I come across a good find and wanted to share it with all of you.

So, back to this glow-in-the-dark Halloween dinner. We decided to have it on a night that our cousins were sleeping over so they could join in on the fun. I wasn’t really sure how this was going to turn out, and if it would even work that well. Would the plates and cups even glow that bright? Would it be too dark to see our food? And most importantly, would I be able to capture it all in photos? haha!
glow-in-the-dark-pizza-partyI had this idea in my head of eating some warm soup or a beautiful homemade dinner to make it feel fancy, but at the last second decided to go with pizza. I figured pizza would be a lot easier to eat in the dark than trying to spoon soup to your your mouth, or cut meat in the dark. haha! I’m pretty sure things would have been a mess.

glow-in-the-dark-cupThe pizza was the perfect thing and the kids loved it. We were going to have juice, but the cups were a little unstable, so we figured water would be much safer in the dark. The kids loved taking turns to go turn on the lights and “charge” all the glow-in-the-dark table settings every once in a while.

glow-in-the-dark-spider-cupI made some spooky eyes using glow-in-the-dark vinyl and Silhouette Cameo 3, and put them on the walls as well as napkins I folded like bats. It was a fun little detail all the kids loved. The spooky eyes are still on the walls and are the favorite decoration in the house.glow-in-the-dark-bat-plateglow-in-the-dark-place-setting

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If you haven’t tried a glow-in-the-dark party, you need to. It was so much fun! We will definitely be doing this again next year!

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

We have been so busy checking all the fun things off our ultimate summer bucket list that I haven’t had time to post about it until now. I created 35 icons of activities for us to check off our bucket list this summer. summer bucket list pins

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Summer Bucket List Pins

I used the print and cut feature with my Silhouette Cameo to cut them all out. Then I used a button maker to create buttons for each of my kids to earn, kind of like earning merit badges. As we completed an activity, my kids got to put the pin on their adventure backpacks. They each loved having their own. Some times during the week I’ll see them sitting with their backpacks looking at all of their pins and talking about the fun things they did. They always end up laughing and giggling… and begging to go on another adventure to earn a pin.
summer bucket list pins backpack

Summer Bucket List Stickers

If you don’t have a button maker, you can print them on sticker paper to use in a notebook. As you complete an activity, place a sticker on a page of your notebook. Older kids can write about it and keep it as a summer journal. Younger kids can draw pictures of their experience with each adventure. I just posted a video for making a cheap and simple notebook. Go check it out! This is such a fun way to bring the family together and create something that will keep those memories alive forever.

summer bucket list journal stickersI realize that summer is almost over, but there is still time during these warm days to check a few more things off your list. Why not send summer out with a bang and make it extra fun with these ultimate summer bucket list stickers? If you don’t use them all this year, there’s always next year, right? You can purchase the whole set of 35 icons for a deep discount in Silhouette’s Ready, Set, Make section of their design store. You can also grab each icon one at a time to customize your bucket list. Now get outside and start checking things off your list. That cool, fall weather will be here before you know it.

The Perfect Puppy Party

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This little cutie turned two and we celebrated with a Puppy Party! She loves, loves, loves dogs and giggles when she sees or gets to pet one. Plus, we celebrated with just our family and grandparents because her birthday was a few weeks after I had the baby, so we went with a theme all the kids would enjoy.

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Puppy Party Decorations

I love that the colors of this party work well for both boys and girls. The table set up was so easy. The only thing I used purely for decoration was the dog bone confetti sprinkled on top. Every other piece on the table was functional and used by the guests.

puppy party place setting

Each place setting had: a plate for their lunch, dog dish (used later for a game,) party hat, glass bottle with straw, and a dog house party favor. I picked up the dog food bowls at a dollar store and the glass drinking bottles were from the Target Dollar Spot. I love when I find what I need for great prices. Isn’t that the best?

puppy party cupcakes

The centerpiece was a plate full of cupcakes made to look like dog food in a bowl. I’m sure General Mills and Reese’s didn’t intend for their delicious cereal to be used as fake dog food, but it looks too much like it to pass up. Haha! (It really is the yummiest cereal!)

The cupcakes were so easy to make and require zero cake decorating skills. I made chocolate cupcakes from a box, frosted them with store-bought chocolate frosting, then immediately rolled them in a bowl full of Reese’s Puffs cereal until the tops of the cupcakes were completely covered. Super simple, and they looked so cute in their dog bowl cupcake wrappers.
Reese's Puffs cereal dog food

Puppy Party Games

Puppy Chow:
I used the Reese’s Puffs cereal again for a dog food eating contest. I filled everyone’s bowls with the cereal, then placed them on the floor. The kids had to get down on their hands and knees and eat the bow of “dog food” as fast as they could using only their mouths. They thought it was so silly and loved being able to eat like dogs do.
pin the tail on the puppy

Pin the Tail on the Puppy:
We also had a little game of “Pin the Tail on the Puppy”. I love this picture of Jax helping his brother out. They would laugh so hard when they would put the tail on the face or somewhere else silly. The classic party games really are the best.

I had a relay coarse of jumping through hula hoops, rolling over, and more planned for the kids outside for some “dog training”, but it was too windy. We decided to stay inside and they performed some “dog tricks” instead. It all worked out great.puppy party

If you host a party using these puppy designs, I would love to see it. Post a picture on Instagram and tag me (@amyrobisondesign) so I can take a peek. As always, you can find the .svg cut files for each design by clicking on the picture below.

Favorite Things Valentine Party

Homemade Valentine Stamps and Crafts

I hosted a Favorite Things Valentine party for my high school friends and their kids last week. We have a party every year and I must admit, it’s taking more and more thought to come up with a new theme every time.

You can see the past two parties here: Valentine Party | Valentine Detective Party

Favorite Things Invitation

Invitation

There were plenty of brown paper packages tied up with string at this party, but we also had our share of pink and red hearts, glitter and more. It was a great combination. I mailed the invitations in brown paper bag envelopes and sewed some hearts along the bottom to pretty them up. :) The invitation asked each kid to bring a small gift under $5 of their favorite thing for a little gift exchange at the party. That part was a lot of fun.

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Party Prep

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Before the party I prepped a banner kit for every kid. Each bag was filled with their own supplies including washy tape, stickers, glitter, banner and glue stick. Even though I filled the table with more supplies, I think it’s always fun to give each guest something of their very own. It makes it a little more special.

I used my Silhouette Mint to make some stamps for the kids to use on their banners. This little machine is amazing and you can create stamps so fast! I scanned in some images I drew and printed them out at stamps. Then I added some ink and they were ready to go. Once you fill the stamps with a little ink, you can easily get 50+ stamped images from it. When it starts to run out, just add more ink. These are great for small children too, because they were a lot cleaner than having them mess with a stamp pad that would get ink all over their hands.
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I wanted to share some of my favorite things with the kids at the party. When I was little my mom had her stash of craft supplies, and us kids had our own separate stuff. I remember feeling like I won the lottery any time my mom would let me use her ribbons, paints, stamps or anything that was normally off limits. I let loose for this party and put out glitter, paper, stamps, ribbon, and more. I expected my house to be a mess with all this crafty goodness open to little hands, but that’s what made it more fun.DSC_3220

I covered each table with white butcher paper. I bought a roll of this a year ago and LOVE it. It’s the best tablecloth for craft projects and kids parties. (I also pull it out sometimes for the kids to color huge pictures on. They think it’s awesome.) I glued hearts along the center of the paper to make a table runner. The best part of it all, when the party was over, I just gathered it all up and threw it in the trash. Heaven sent with all that glitter, confetti and glue the kids were using. DSC_3228 DSC_3259

They loved having free rein on spoonfuls of confetti and glitter, using all the sparkly ribbon and pretty tape they wanted. They glued on hearts all over and let their creative juices flow freely. I love giving kids an open ended project without them having to make a craft that looks just like a sample shown. It is so fun to see how their minds work and the things they come up with.DSC_3274

With 18 kids at the party, I planned on glitter spilling. I think my kids were the only ones that did spill it. Figures. Haha! I love this shot of my little girl’s feet covered in glitter. I’m telling you, that sparkly stuff was everywhere. Good thing I gave each kid a tiny container of it and didn’t put out bowls full of it like originally planned. I think that would be really pretty on the tables with older kids, but with some one and two-year-olds, I tried to play it safe.

Valentine Party craft table

I love this shot of the table during the party with those little hands creating. This is just what I pictured when I planned the party, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. I hope you feel inspired to get a little messy with some Valentine crafts this year.

You can find all the cut and stamp files used at the party in the links below.

Black and White Tribal Party

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These two wild boys are really into a show they discovered on Netflix called “Yakari.” It’s about a Sioux Native American boy named Yakari, that has a gift that allows him to communicate with animals. My kids think he is the coolest. They are obsessed with animals and the fact that Yakari not only rides a horse, but also talks to animals, makes him the greatest person in the world. A tribal party seemed like a good pick for their fourth birthday. Don’t you think?tribal party invitation

As I was drawing all the animals they checked several times to make sure I included “Great Eagle” and some other animals from the show. All designs were approved by them. I’m pretty sure they run the show around here. :)
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Decorations

My mother-in-law makes these amazing cakes for all the grandkids every year. This was the first year we had a friend party instead of a family one. She lives a few hours away, so she didn’t make their cake this year. I completely forgot to order one until the day before the party. Oops! That night I whipped up a few plastic cake toppers using my Silhouette Cameo and shrink film. It’s becoming my new favorite stuff to cut. You can check out my tutorial for cutting shrink film to see how you can make your own cake toppers.
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I created this simple banner using my Silhouette and the print and cut feature. If you don’t already print and cut party decorations or other projects, you must start. It saves so much time!!! DSC_2830Their birthday is a few days before Christmas. We threw the party two weeks after when things weren’t quite so busy. I took the Christmas decorations off our trees and strung some banners on them as party decorations.

Party Favors

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All of the party favors were given out as prizes for the different games we played at the party. I love the simplicity of these two games.

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The memory/matching game has 12 pieces total. Six different animals to match. I used Silhouette’s Temporary Tattoo Paper to transfer the icons to the wood discs. I applied them the same way would to your skin. When they were dry, I sprayed them with a matte sealer. I don’t know how well it will actually protect them, but so far, so good. We have played this game probably 100 times or more, and they still look like new. I’m calling that a win.DSC_2641DSC_2984

This tic-tac-toe game was so EASY to make. Seriously. Fastest party favor I have ever made. I used a sharpie to draw the tic-tac-toe board on a cotton drawstring bag (similar bag found here). Then I filled each bag with 5 arrowheads and 5 rocks. That’s it! Piece of cake, right?DSC_3051

I made feathered headbands ahead of time for each guest to wear. I painted white feathers with some black acrylic craft paint and let them dry. Then I just taped them to the inside of the headband. I love how they turned out.
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Another simple prize that was given out were these candy arrows. I filled some plastic tubes with Sixlets, then used glue dots to adhere the paper arrowhead and feather to each end.
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For one of the activities we made pinch pots. This party was for a bunch of 3 and 4-year-olds. They did surprisingly well at this. We went through each step of creating the pot together, then they used toothpicks to make designs on their pots. I used this homemade clay recipe and it worked out great. DSC_3013

You can find all the cut files for this party in my Silhouette portfolio or by clicking on the images below.

Gingerbread House Decorating Party for Kids

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I hosted a gingerbread house decorating party for my twin boys and their friends. It was so fun and went so smooth I had to share my tips so you can host your own. Here are the details of the party and why it was the easiest and best party I’ve done with little kids. Once I showed the kids how to spread the frosting on the houses and put on candy, they didn’t need any help for the remainder of the party, and the majority of the kids sat there for 1.5 hours. Yep! Three-year-olds sitting there for 1.5 hours. It was a Christmas miracle! ;) The only time I was needed was to look and admire the wonderful job they were doing. It was awesome! Okay, so here’s the info on the party prep.

Gingerbread houses:

I bought these in a gingerbread village kit at target for $9. It includes 4 mini houses, candy and frosting. These kits are always stingy on the frosting and candy so I bought extra. The houses come with a base that’s about 3 inches. The perfect size for kids. Also the perfect size when you have to find a space in your house to display 3 houses your kids made. I would recommend putting them on a larger base so they can decorate a yard. My husband sliced up a log to use for our bases. My biggest tip for the whole party… ASSEMBLE HOUSES BEFORE THE PARTY! This made the party so much smoother than if I had to try to help each kid assemble their own. I used HOT GLUE to put them together. That saved so much time and made the houses very sturdy. After hot gluing, I piped along the edges with icing to make them look cuter and to fake the look of assembling with icing. These houses were strong and had no problem holding the 5 pounds of frosting the kids put on them.
gingerbread setting

Candy and frosting:

I bought a variety of candy in addition to what was included in the kit and divided them into bags for each kid. I didn’t worry about using royal icing because the houses were already built and we didn’t need super strong frosting to hold any structures. The store bought frosting works great. I looked for smaller candy because our houses were so small. The kit also included sprinkles. I put these in a separate container from the rest of the candy to make it easier for the kids to use.

Hot cocoa bar and snacks:

We had a mini hot cocoa bar with just marshmallows and candy canes for toppings. A few years ago I did a larger hot cocoa bar with several toppings and the whole nine yards. It was a waste. The only items people added were marshmallows, candy canes and whipped cream. Lesson learned. The smaller hot cocoa bar for this party was the perfect size. I also had a little platter of crackers, cheese and deli meat to help balance out all the candy they were consuming. They gobbled it up. All of the kids left with a little chocolate snowflake my boys helped me make with chocolate molds. They love to help and it was the perfect little party favor.
party favors
This party took less prep work than any of my others and was by far the funnest! I can’t even tell you how nice it was to be able to actually talk to the moms and chat while the kids decorated their houses. I’m sure most of it was the novelty that this is something we only do once a year, so it was extra special to the kids.
All of the cut files for placemats, food labels, and party favors will be available in the Silhouette design store soon. I’ll be sure to post here and let you know when they’re ready. I hope you found these tips helpful in planning a gingerbread decorating party of your own.

Valentine Detective Party | Party Favors

detective kit

This is the final post of the Valentine Detective Party. Today I’m sharing all the party favors and little details that helped really bring the theme of the party to life. The spy kit pictured above was issued to every agent/guest when they arrived at the party. I found the mustaches at the dollar store. The glasses are from Amazon. They are a little big for kids though. The mini magnifying glasses are also from Amazon. Hallelujah for Amazon Prime! Am I right?!

detective credentials

I made credentials for each guest to wear. You can have their parents email you a picture, or pull one from social media. Download the credentials print and cut file, then open it in Silhouette Studio. Now you can replace the filler info with each child’s info. I also included the font names in the file so you can download the same ones to match if you want. Import each child’s photo on the tag. Print then cut.

The clear cases are from Walmart. I have seen them at the dollar store before too. You can purchase the lanyards from Amazon.

detective badge

I love how the Silhouette Printable Gold Foil brings this secret agent badge to life. Download the badge, then print and cut it using your Silhouette. Cut another badge out of chipboard to make the badge more sturdy. Peel the backing off of the gold foil and adhere it to the chipboard. Peel the backing off the pin and stick it at the top of the heart on the back. Your badges are now ready to wear.

spy notebook and pen

These tiny notebooks are from Walmart. I think there were three in a pack for like $0.89. I love those kinds of prices. :) The spy pens are so cool. The ink is completely invisible until you use the light at the top of the pen to shine over your message. It’s like magic!

detective pen

Side note: I’ve been using these to keep my kids busy when I need to get work done. I draw a bunch of shapes on a paper and they try to find them all with the light. It’s a great activity for a busy/quiet bag.

evidence bag

Last but not least is this adorable party favor bag for the kids to take home with “evidence” of a good time. We had a Valentine exchange and used these as our Valentine boxes/bags. They were also used to haul all the spy/detective kit goodies home.

Download the evidence print and cut file. I put my paper bags through my laminator to “iron” them extra flat. Feed through your printer folded end first. My local copy shop also printed them on their machines for me too.

detective party kit

I have really enjoyed sharing all the details from my Valentine Detective Party. I hope you have found all these ideas helpful in hosting one of your own. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Check out more details of the Valentine Detective Party
Valentine Detective Party | Invitations
Valentine Detective Party | Games

 

Valentine Detective Party | Games + Free Downloads

Finally! I’m sharing all the games and activities from the Valentine detective party. This post is long, but most of it is pictures. That’s just the way I like it! Let’s jump in and see all the fun activities we did to find clues leading to our secret admirers.

Heart Fingerprints

I like to have an activity guests can do when they arrive so they don’t wander around like lost little puppies. ;) It also helps them feel welcome and comfortable. It’s doubles as something to keep them entertained while waiting for all the other guests to there. For this activity, I had everyone “fingerprinted” for the agency they were part of as secret agents/detectives. Because it was a valentine party too, the kids stamped their fingerprints in the shape of a heart. The cards were then slipped into plastic sleeve, magnetic frames. This also doubled as a party favor. I love when you can double up on activities and party favors.

heart fingerprints

fingerprints 2

Practicing their heart fingerprints before making their card. It helps take the pressure off. Haha!

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Valentine Detective Party | Invitations

detective party kit

Every year I throw a Valentine party for my high school friends and their kids. It is so much fun, and a tradition I love. With a few of the kiddos being new readers, I thought it would be fun to do a Valentine detective party where they can solve different clues to find out who their secret admirer is. (It’s their mom by the way.)

I had so much fun planning this party. There are so many possibilities of games and party favors, that it was hard narrowing it down. This week I’ll take you through the whole party so that you can host your own. Today we’ll start with the invitations.

detective invitation envelopes

It was all about the details and getting all the little guests excited to join the party. I wanted the fun to start the moment they received it in the mail. I stamped the mailing envelope and file folder enclosed with a “top secret” stamp I made using the Silhouette Stamping Material. So easy, and gives it more of an authentic touch than my printer would.

detective invitation

This is where it gets fun. All the little extra pieces and details inside the folder make it so much more exciting when you can move and interact with the invitation.

detective invitation mystery pics

Paper clipped to the inside of the folder are suspect profiles of their secret admirer(s). I saved the file as a .jpg image and printed it from my phone using my handy Instax printer. I love that thing!

detective invitation steps

The information to the party had to be read with the special heart decoder enclosed. This was a bit tricky to make on the design end of things, but I figured it all out and made it so easy for you. Yay! You can still see the bolded blue areas without the decoder, but the regular text can’t be read without it.

How to make decoder invitations:

Supplies Needed:

Directions:

Printed Invitation

  1. Download the Top Secret Invitation.
  2. Add your own party details and information to the blue layer using the same color of blue as the other text.
  3. Print the blue layer of invitation.
  4. Print the red squiggle layer directly on top of the blue invitation you have already printed.
  5. Cut out the invitation.

magnifying glass steps

Decoder Lens

  1. Download the magnifying glass die cut
  2. Cut out two magnifying glasses
  3. Cut out a small piece of red cellophane to go in between to the magnifying glass pieces.
  4. Glue the cellophane to cover the center opening of the magnifying glass.
  5. Glue the second magnifying glass on top of the other, with the red cellophane in between the two layers. This creates the decoder lens to read the invitation.

detective invitation 1

Sometimes when I spend this much time on an invitation I wonder if it was really worth it. I enjoy making them, but do people really care what the invitation looks like? At the party, several of the kids told me how cool the invitation was and that they had been reading it all week. One even brought it with her in the car because she was so excited for the party and wanted to decode the invitation again. So, was it worth it? Absolutely! I sure love those cute kiddos and their amazing moms.

Check out more details of the Valentine Detective Party
Valentine Detective Party | Games + Free Downloads
Valentine Detective Party | Party Favors

Weaving Workshop

Kids Weaving Workshop

I had so much fun at both weaving workshops I hosted on Saturday. During the kids workshop, we learned to make a loom from a piece of cardboard and weave a drawstring bag. We had yummy snacks and everyone got to pick a few treasures to put in their bag before they left. All the kids were so cute and fun to have there. They were so polite and kind. I couldn’t have asked for a better group on my first kids workshop. Thank you all for coming!

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This sweet, little girl was so excited that she got to bring her grandma to the workshop.

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I heard several times from this sweet boy that he was having so much fun and loved weaving. This is the exact reason I love teaching.

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Pushing the yarn down was the favorite part for everyone. Who wouldn’t love to do it?

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I love the focus and determination on all their cute faces.

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kid weaving workshop

I forgot to take a group picture, as always, but I did catch a few of these cuties with their bags before the end.

Adult Weaving Workshop

In the adult weaving workshop we learned how to make a loom from a frame. We learned several different stitches and some even created shapes in their weaving. Wow! We chatted, snacked and enjoyed each others company. Such a fun night and a great way to relax with friends.

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