Monday, December 6, 2010

Candy Land Birthday Party (8 Years Old)

My oldest child turned eight this past Autumn season. We threw her a Candy Land birthday party. I LOVE doing birthday parties. We do a friend party every other year, because birthday parties sure get expensive quickly! We do a family party every year though, so I get to do a little something every year.

She was really wanting a cowgirl party, with her new cowgirl Jessie (Toy Story) obsession, but we did a horse/cowgirl party for her 6th birthday party, so I was really hoping to do something else. I had a few ideas, and thankfully she got very excited about doing a Candy Land birthday party. I must say, this was probably the most fun party I have done so far. I would definitely recommend this theme to anyone with a little girl (I'm sure it could work for a boy too). I did get a ton of great ideas from here: Birthday Party Ideas.com. I scrolled through and found the ones that would work the best for us, and also came up with a few of our own. I also did a whole lot of googling looking for more ideas and photos of Candy Land cake, which is what has inspired my posting. I am hoping it will be of help to someone wanting ideas for their Candy Land party!

We made some super cute invitations. The kids had fun cutting out circles for them. And I think Miss B. assembled all of them herself, with just a tiny bit of help from  mom. Unfortunately I did not get a photo, so I need to find the one extra we made for her. Basically it is colored cardstock circles stacked on top of each other, about 5 of them, each one getting smaller. On the smallest circle we printed "King Kandy cordially invites you to Miss B.'s 8th Birthday Party. On the back side were just two circles, and in the smaller circle it had all of the birthday party info. In between the front and back we put a straw as a lollipop stick (it did not work as well as I had hoped, not sturdy enough, maybe a popsicle stick would work better) and tied a ribbon at the top of the stick as well. They were so darling, and more than one mom said they daughter had to show everyone the invitation.

We also made out own pinata. I got instructions here (Family Fun: How to make a pinata). It did take some work, but we had a lot of fun doing it. My daughter even told me I was "the best mom ever". :)

Find a large balloon, inflate and tie it. I followed the recipe for the paste, and found it to be more than enough. You could probably half the recipe.

It is messy and gooey, so here I am in my awesome IKEA apron.


I did not follow their directions for applying the strips of newspaper. I did not want to dip each newspaper strip in the paste and basically squeegie it off. I found instructions somewhere that said you could cover the balloon in the paste (or at least a small section at a time) and then put a dry strip on it. Then you cover that strip in the paste and keep doing that. That was much less messy, and much less time consuming as well. It took about 3 coats of newspaper, and I waited at least 6 hours between coats.

Here it is unpainted. It ended up being a little lopsided on the cone. For the cone we just used a rolled up piece of posterboard and taped it well.


We taped the balloon to the cone and then did another layer of paper mache' to attach it to the cone more securely. My daughter is holding the deflated balloon in her hand. Once you pop the balloon it shrivels right up and comes out the hole you cut.


We cut a hole with a steak knife, and then after inserting the candy taped it shut.

Here she is painting it She chose the colors herself. :)


We kept putting off putting the tissue paper squares onto it, and it was a crunch at the last minute, but we got the cone covered, just hours before the party! To attach the tissue squares we just crumpled and glued. We tried the old scrunch them around the end of a pencil and dip that in glue, but it took longer. :)


Miss B. did say, "After all this work we are just going to destroy it?" But it was a lot of fun to make together, so we both decided it was worth it. Pinatas are so expensive to buy too! We had used some embroidery thread to hold the pinata, but it broke after a few swings, so at the end my sweet husband just held it by the cone. I loved watching his face as the girls took some wild swings at it! My advice, use some thick yarn, maybe doubled to attach to the pinata.

The cake was a ton of fun, and full of sugar! We made a Candy Land board game. We used starburst for the game squares, mini candy canes, icecream cones, marshmallows, green coconut grass, tinted frosting, skittles, gumdrops, and more!

Since I made two cakes for the two parties, the first was kind of a trial run. I had used white frosting and then covered it in the coconut grass

(most of the girls were not coconut fans, so thankfully it had a few sections sans coconut (the peppermint forest, gloppy, and Snow Flake Lake).  The second cake I tinted the frosting green, and it turned out better.

I also took photos of each of the signs on the board game, (peanut acres, gumdrop mountains, etc) and stuck them in my photo editing program and printed them all on one sheet.
We cut them out and attached each to a toothpick and stuck them in the appropriate places on the cake. The Peppermint Forest sign was very close to the candles (because Miss B.'s candles were pink striped like the candy canes she wanted them in the peppermint forest), so when we lit the candles that sign burned! We sanitized the game pieces in the dishwasher and placed them strategically on the cake as well.

This is what we used for each section:

Rainbow Trail (shortcut): Fruit roll-ups
Gingerbread Tree: we left blank :(
Peppermint Forest: mini candy canes and pink/white striped candles
Gumdrop Mountains and Pass: gumdrops (when searching in the store for these they are apparently called "spice drops")
Licorice Forest: cut pieces of licorice
Peanut Acres: Nutter Butter cookies
Lollipop Woods: lollipops, of course
Snow Flake Lake: white frosting and mini marshmallows as a border
Chocolate Swamp: chocolate frosting, and a frosting covered oreo with fruit roll up mouth and chocolate chip eyes.
Candy Castle: skittle path, upside down ice cream cones with a graham cracker square cemented in with frosting.


For decorations we found an old Candy Land Lotto game that came with little tiles. We used the tiles to kind of confetti the table.

We didn't buy any themed plates, cups, etc. Instead we just bought a rainbow of cups, plates, utensils, tablecloths, and napkins, and since they were all from the Dollar Store, we kept it under budget! My daughter
made the little candy rolls on the table. I gave her the empty toilet paper tubes and tissue paper (again, from the $ store) and some scotch tape and she did them herself.



We made a giant size candy land game, at least the squares anyhow (construction paper in plastic sheets) but sadly we ran out of time to assemble it, and it was too windy outside anyhow, so we just used it as a decoration. Miss B. made the pink squares, the ones with the gumdrop, ice cream, etc, and being that she is a little artist, they turned out so cute! And we put actual licorice in the stuck in a licorice space squares.


We made some darling lollipops with styrofoam circles from the dollar store, kabob skewers, cellophane, and ribbon. The we added our Christmas Candy Canes. We also used some kid flooring stuff to make the candy land squares up our walkway. If you click on the photo you can see them a little larger. Longer skewer sticks might have been better, but it still looked darling!



We made a cute Candy Land sign too. We wrapped pink plumbers tape around some leftover pvc pipe, and then printed the Candy Land words and taped them on a paper.


For her friend party we also painted ceramic cupcake banks (from Oriental Trading)


We also had a "Guess how many gumdrops are in the jar game" We just used a small jelly jar, and the closest guess got to take it home.

The loot bags each girl got to take home were so fun! I just love Oriental Trading! I tried looking online at other places, but you can't beat the prices and selection. I also looked for anything "sweet" themed at dollar stores, party stores, and big box stores, but no luck.

We got cute piece of cake shaped boxes and in them we put: candy cane twist erasers, gingerbread man stampers, personalized candy cane pencils (Thanks for coming, from Miss B.), a gingerbread man lollipop, and of course a little candy. Unfortunately Oriental trading did not have as much selection as I was hoping, but a month later they had a ton that could have worked, because they bring it all out for the Christmas Season. They even have an almost Candy Land theme, I think it's called Candy Town. So buy ahead, at Christmas time, if possible!

For a quick easy gift wrap, scrunch the ends to make it look like a big piece of candy!



I think the most fun part of this party was that my daughter was old enough to help with so much of it, and she just LOVED every little detail!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Barbie Clothes


I have always let my kids have pretty free reign of the craft supplies. Sometimes this means they use something I rather they didn't, but then I have to remind myself that their crafting is important too. Usually it fosters their own creativity without direction from an adult. Thankfully they are not terribly messy (don't look at their room! ha ha!). What I mean is that they don't get things out just to make a mess, their messes have purpose (as do mine lol).

My daughter is getting to the age where she plays with toys less and less (which makes her difficult to buy gifts for). But she does love all things crafty. As evidenced by the photos below:

The first dress (the purple one) she did all on her own, just playing by herself, and she came to ask me where the velcro dots were. I helped her a bit, and suggested a belt and something to go on it, she chose the ribbon and jewel.

The next day she made the pink one (again, jut playing by herself) and came to ask for more velcro dots, I suggested we sew some buttons on it. She did most of the sewing of the first button all by herself. Was it perfect? Of course not, but she did a great job for her first time! She added another belt and jewel (the jewel was added with glue dots) and then she made some cute little scarves with fringe. She added some cute cuts to the bottom of the pink one, so she is getting more creative. We'll see what tomorrow brings.


Well, tomorrow brought her making a dress for her friend's birthday gift. We bought a new Barbie and she fashioned a dress. :) She was so very excited.This one involved a little more hand sewing from mom (the tulle and buttons), and it had to be done quickly, since it was mostly a last minute idea.


So, grab your  daughter, some felt, sticky back velcro dots, glue dots, ribbon, whatever else you like, and have at it. Felt is great because it doesn't fray (some with fleece) and is easy enough to rip or cut (we cut the button holes, but my daughter ripped it for the arm holes). I would love to see any of your creations!

It's funny that she rarely plays with those barbie dolls. :) At least we're getting some use out of them. I found this fun kit at Amazon, it seemed to get good reviews. I think she will love opening this on Christmas! Fashion Design Studio

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A bike?

So I know I am terrible at posting here, but I have been taking photos and itching to post here, and the babes are starting to get more cooperative with that plan (meaning their naps are more reliable, so I can clean more and still have time to post), so here is a post. lol

I saw this on another twin mom blog, and had to take a look! It is a very interesting bike, but I think I really like it! If I link this from my blog, well, I have a chance at winning it! :)

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes


Isn't she a beauty! Wouldn't it be cute with twin little boys riding back there? And it would help me lose that last little bit of baby weight too! :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Birds

Last week was my last time teaching preschool for Mr. T. This is so bittersweet. My little boy is old enough to go to kindergarten. He is more than ready, me, not so much! I don't know what I am going to do with myself (well, besides taking care of infant twins!). I have been in a co-op preschool group for the last 5 years! It will be strange to not be preparing lessons and such. Maybe I will find the time to post lots on this blog of things I have done for the last five years, but no guarantees!

One easy bird project we did was this:

I found a bird coloring page online and cut it out on brown construction paper. Then I gave the kids white glue and feathers and let them create their bird. They loved picking colors for their birds. The boys of course did not want the pink or purple feathers (cheap tip-- my daughter's feather boas leave feathers ALL over the house. When I am feeling ambitious I gather them up and save them in the art supplies). It was also suggested to let the kids paint with the feathers as paint brushes, but I opted for the cleaner activity this time.

The other cute bird we made was this:

This one is very simple, but the kids LOVED it! Fold a paper plate in half. Trace child's hands on construction paper. Some of the kids cut out their own hands, others I cut them out. I had already cut out orange beaks (to save time). The kids colored their paper plates while I traced and cut hands. I couldn't find my googly eyes, though that would have made a cute addition. Anyhow, glue the hands on as wings, glue on beak and then its a rocking/pecking chicken. I actually cut tissue paper strips for tail feathers, but forgot to use them. They looked adorable anyhow.The one above is from this last week. My son and I made one last year as well, it had the tail feathers (can't seem to find a pic, sorry!). He didn't seem to mind at all that we were repeating the same project.

For snack we had these yummy bird nests. They are basically the same haystack recipe I made last year for Nursery Rhymes. I melted a bag of butterscotch chips in the microwave and stirred in about half a bag of crispy chow mein noodles. Initially I tried shaping them into nests, but it was too messy.  I just did the best I could and before they hardened placed a few peanut M&Ms into each nest. This made at least 15 nests.



We recited this poem, which the kids wanted to do over and over again.


Wide Eyed Owl
There's a wide eyed owl (make binoculors with hands on eyes)
With a pointed nose (point ot nose)
Two pointed ears (grab ears)
And claws for toes (wiggle fingers and point to toes)
He lives way up in the tree (point up to the ceiling)
And when he looks at you (point)
He flaps his wings (flap arms like wings)
And says Who....Whooo! (continue flapping)

It also would have been fun to do The Chicken Dance, but I had a lot of song review to cram in, so we did not.

The twins did not allow me enough time to get to the library, so I improvised with books I already had. We read How Fletcher Was Hatched. This is my book from when I was young, and I always liked it. It is about a dog that is jealous of his owner's affection for baby chicks. He decides to hatch out of an egg so she will love him again. It is somewhat wordy, but all 6 kids loved it. We also read The Ugly Duckling. This was a good on since there are many different types of birds in it.

We made some easy-peasy bird feeders as well. (This photo is almost a week later after a rain storm and a snow storm! Crazy weather!)

You need one toilet paper tube per child, yarn or string, peanut butter, and bird seed. I punched holes in one end of the tube and tied yarn in them to be the hanger. Have the children spread peanut butter all over the tube. My kids did okay with this but did need some help. I poured the birdseed on a cookie sheet, then had the kids roll the tube in the birdseed until it was covered. The children were so excited to take their bird feeders home. To ease in transporting (and minimize the mess in the vehicle) we placed them in paper lunch sacks.

There were so many other cute ideas to do, I think we may learn more about birds while my kids are off for the summer.


I found a number of children's shows that have episodes about Birds. I'm sure there are many more, but this is what I could find on Amazon Prime, which is what we have.


Sesame Street Season 40 Episode 5: Elmo Finds a Baby Bird
And the Wonder Pets save a whole lot of birds.....
Season 1 episode 3: Save the Penguin
Season 1 episode 4: Save the Duckling
Season 1 episode 5: Save the Pigeon
Season 1 episode 8: Save the Dragon
Season 1 episode 14: Save the egg (not sure if its a bird egg), but the second half is Save the Flamingo
Season 1 episode 19: Save the Baby Birds
Season 1 episode 20: Save the Owl
Season 2 episode 10: Save the Goslings
Season 2 episode 12: Save the Pirate Parrot
Season 3 episode 13: Save the Dancing Duck

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Window Painting


Anyone remember this? Sesame Street B Painting

I LOVED Sesame Street as a kid, well, I still do. I remember watching this skit as a kid, and I really wanted to paint on the windows. It actually stuck with me all these years.

A few years ago I read something about making window paints. I don't remember to do this craft often with the kids, but it is always a winner! And it is quite simple!

Supplies needed:

Paint brushes

Tempera Paints (I bought this set at the store years ago. Use some of the paint for regular painting, and then add 1-2 tsp of dish soap to the paints and stir with a paint brush.I used this soap because it is what I had, and it did not change the paint colors, not even the white.)

Drop cloth (I use plastic tablecloths (I have a myriad saved from previous birthday parties, this one is from our wedding luncheon almost ten years ago! lol)
Paint shirts (even though it is washable, it is a good habit)

and a window or two.

I used to paint holiday images, heart, pumpkin, etc. While I painted the front window I had my daughter painting the back sliding door. This is the first time I promoted the kids to painting the front window, and they were thrilled! I think it was quite the confidence booster!

My son was unhappy that I took the Easter decorations down, so I told them to paint a nice spring scene for me. I think they did a great job!

My daughter is off track from school, and I also had co-op preschool at our house this week, so she joined us. We learned about the prairie and prairie animals, you can tell that she enjoyed it! :) She is seven, and a natural artist.

My son is 5 and loves art as well. His painting is a sunset with rain and clouds, and cloud people.

 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Keepsake Paper Plate Easter Bunnies

I got the idea from Little Family Fun. She has lots of cute ideas! This is a super simple craft. Use a white paper plate and have your child draw a face on it. Add paper ears, and voila' you are done.


To make it a "keepsake" we put the kids' footprints as the inside of the bunny ear. I don't know about you, but for me, it is very hard to throw away anything that has my child's footprints and handprints!

 
We also added some thumb and fingerprint eyes, noses, and tongues (with an ink pad).

My son added finger whiskers with paint!

This is a little bit messy, so I had a shallow dish with water (placed on a towel) for them to wash their feet off. I think they had just as much fun washing their feet as doing the craft. :) I attempted to do washable ink pads for their feet, but the colors were not vibrant enough for me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Trickery!!!

I LOVE April Fool's. It started last year,  I played some tricks on the kids, and have been scheming all year for this year's trickery! I love my family fun magazine subscription, so many fun ideas. Most of my ideas come from there.

Today was my first graders first day of Spring Break, and she is off track for three weeks (year round schooling). I thought it would be great fun to wake her up  for school with a yummy breakfast. I got things ready and went in to wake her, and she told me, "I'm too smart for that!"

"April Fool's" I said, because there was no way she would get out of bed otherwise!

"I made you a yummy breakfast"

She rushed out of bed in anticipation, but quickly got very unhappy. I made her an egg, and, well, she  HATES eggs!


It is actually very vanilla yoplait yogurt and an apricot half.

My son was not thrilled either! He was pushing the plate away and saying his trademark, "Pleh!"

This is her hiding behind the garbage can so that she won't have to eat it, and so that I will stop taking her picture. 

 

I also had a bowl of cereal for each of them. I put a drop of food coloring in each bowl and added the cereal. Pour the milk in front of them. It takes a minute for the coloring to show up.


My daughter's is pink, my son's blue, just like their bowls, which might have made it harder to see. But it ended up working for me. When I asked in astonishment what happened, Mr. T. said, "Maybe the bowl is effecting the milk?" He's just five!

Of course, neither of them wanted to eat the cereal. They both ate the apricot. Mr. T. ate up the yogurt, Miss B. licked her fingers and no more (even though she likes vanilla yogurt.


We (or I guess I should say, I) have more tricks planned for later.


For lunch we are having mock grilled cheese. It's pound cake with orange tinted frosting


I also made a kitty litter cake.


Because we do not have a cat, I needed some explanation as to why we would have a cat box at our house. I tricked my daughter first, I told her that her aunt needed us to watch their cat, Kiki, and so there was a litter box in the garage. When she brought it in for me, I ate a tootsie roll poop, and she looked a little disgusted until she figured out it was more April Foolin'. Then I decided to let her play the trick on her little brother. She told him the same story, and well... then is when it got a little bit sad. My little boy was so excited to see his Auntie's cat, that well, when he found out it was just a joke, he was not a fan of any more pictures, and he started to cry. This is when I felt like the worst mommy ever!


Thankfully he got over it fairly quick, and was ready to get our daddy tricks ready! 


We left this little gem in the potty for daddy! (Sharpie on toilet paper)
 
My daughter then left a little note for me, isn't she sweet!


Our last trick had us all rolling, though my husband did not find it quite as funny.  At this time last year my twin boys were just 2 months old, and had infant breastfed diaper poops. As I was making the frosting for the mock grilled cheese it kind of reminded me of their diaper fillings. So Miss B. and I got a clean diaper and filled it with some frosting. We left it sitting on the floor, half open (I know, we're disgusting). Miss B. licked the diaper in front of her brother, which of course he found utterly disgusting. And then when Daddy got home from work, I stuck my finger in and licked it. So gross, but seeing the look on my sweet hubby's face was well worth it.


Could we be much more disgusting, probably not. But it sure was fun, and we're making some fun memories!

(Please ignore any messes in the background, as previously stated I had infant twins, so not much was getting done around our house besides diaper changing and feeding the kids!


And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery








Saturday, March 27, 2010

Goop

Mr. T and I made goop the other day while Miss B. was at school. He gets so bored when she is gone all day, and we needed something to do. I just love Family Fun Magazine. They have such fun and cute ideas. This month they had a recipe for goop. I showed my little man the photos and he was sure that he did NOT want to make it. I kept trying to convince him, but to no avail. Finally I told him I was making it for me.

The recipe is SUPER simple!

1 c. cornstarch
1/2 c water

Mix.

It does not mix well at first, but keep stirring. Of course once I started mixing and playing he joined in the fun. It looks solid-ish until you pick it up, then it becomes a liquid. We added some food coloring for more mixing fun.

He and I played with it for a while, and then he played by himself for a while. It looks uber messy, but honestly, one of easiest clean-ups ever!!! Because it solidifies and the dries out, its all just crumbly powder. This was much easier than even cleaning up the table after dinner!

By the time my daughter got home from school (with a friend) it was pretty solid, so they wanted to make a new batch. They are both 7 years old, and made it without my help. They added food coloring as well. The food coloring can be more messy, since it stains, but you don't have to add it either.

This was a very inexpensive, fun, sensory activity, and easy clean-up too! We will definitely be making this again!!!