Saturday, September 17, 2011

Survivor Birthday Party for Paige

Paige decided she wanted a Survivor themed birthday party.  This one took quite a bit of preparation before the party, but the girls had a really good time.  I even made a custom logo that we used on the invitations and also the tribe buffs.

Here's Paige at the start of the party - wearing her "buff" and holding our tiki man voting container (old formula can covered with paper mache and painted).

As the girls arrived, they drew their buffs (which determined which tribe they were on) and then they went to their tribe 'camp' and worked on their tribe flags, tribe name, and mascot.  We had two tribes - the green tribe became the Polka Dotted Panthers:

And the blue tribe was the Shaba-Laba-Ding-Dongs and their lovely mascot had a  cheetah front end and a zebra read end :-)

Then we got started on the challenges.  For the first challenge, each team designated a 'caller' who stood on their tribe mat and directed teams of two that were tied together at the wrist and blindfolded out into the yard to find bags of puzzle pieces.

They had to bring each bag back to the mat separately and the caller had to direct both sets of tribemates at the same time - by yelling at them which direction to go.

Once they retrieved all three bags full of puzzle pieces, they had to untie the bags that were knotted really well

and then assemble their puzzles...

After that was our very first Tribal Council, where the girls from the winning tribe all voted for who they thought did the best in the challenge.  There was no 'voting off the island' in Birthday Survivor :-)

The next challenge was the infamous food challenge.  The girls went head to head against the other tribe with mystery ingredients.  First girl to finish her portion and stick our her tongue showing an empty mouth earned a point for her tribe.

I figured I couldn't get away with anything too gross so it was all standard grocery-store fare: pimento stuffed olives, sauerkraut (pictured above), potted meat, baby food peas, and sardines.  We ended up with a tie, so the tiebreaker was Wasabi Peas - each person had to eat two and the tribe that finished first won.

The next challenge was an endurance competition.  Who can stand on one leg on a brick the longest?  After two minutes, they had to put their hands on top of their heads... after another two minutes they had to lift their non-standing leg out in front of them, etc.

The next challenge involved two balance beams with a large bucket of water at one end and two empty containers at the other end.

The girls had to walk across the beam and collect water through whatever means possible... mouth, hands, hair, buff...

and then return across the balance beam and deposit the water in their tribe's container.  Once they made it across the next tribemate went.  If someone fell off the beam in the middle, they had to start over.  First tribe to fill their container won.

There were a couple more challenges, including the typical Survivor auction, but not as many pictures were taken.  We headed inside where Paige had a Tiki Man cake:

Then we opened presents, the girls played for a little while, and then they camped out in a tent in the backyard.  A good time was had by all, but we all got very little sleep.  In the morning I made muffins and sent them on their way!

Happy 11th Birthday Paige!

Way past due overly long post about the boys' birthdays

Wow! It's been a while, eh?  Both boys' birthdays have passed  so just a quick updated on those.

Blake's was in May.  We just took him, Paige, and a few close friends to an indoor arcade/amusement type place.  They played lots of arcade games, but this ride was their favorite:

Then we just came back to the house for some Pac Man cake:

Then Dean's 3rd birthday in July.  We just invited some family friends over for the day.  I think Dean's favorite part was the blowers:

They jumped in a small bouncy house...

Played on the Slip-n-Slide....

and feasted on monster cake...

That's it for those sweet birthday boys!  Thanks for looking

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter

Just wanted to share some Easter pictures.  We had a nice one - kids enjoyed their baskets and we had a small egg hunt in the backyard.  Paige and Blake made another Bunny Cake, which turned out really cute!  Thanks for looking an Enjoy!

Shout out to Mah' Peeps!

As usual, I planned out the holiday WAY in advance and was out shopping for Easter Basket 'goodies' two days before the holiday!  Whew - glad I didn't wait until the last minute.  So I had no problems finding Peeps in exactly four colors (a different one for each kiddo) but when it came to selection of cute stuffed rabbits to add to the baskets, the selection was abysmally limited.

I even called Mark from the store to ask if it was fair for Dean (obviously) and probably Paige to get stuffed animals in their baskets but not Blake.  He's not that into 'stuffies' anymore AND there was just nothing at "Tarjay" that suited him.  He's out of the Webkinz-phase and the rest there were just, well, ugly.  So inspiration struck and I decided I had PLENTY of time to sew something for each of them.

Friday afternoon, I started hunting for cute tutorials and patterns out in blogland.  I found all of these cute bunnies and other Easter-y animals (and, seriously, check out these great blogs):

Oh, but then the clouds spread, light shown down and I swear I heard angels sing when I found these:

So I stopped by Hobby Lobby on my way home and conveniently found fleece in the same four colors of actual Peeps I had bought for the kids.  It was meant to be, I tell ya.  I started with the bunny and then made the chick.  She's right - even though the chick has more pieces and more seams than the bunny, it is easier to sew.  By Saturday evening, I was running out of time and even though I would have loved to make a bunny AND a chick for each of the kids, it just wasn't happening (at least, not if I wanted to sleep at some point). 

I asked Mark's opinion and he's a little old school - he preferred the chicks over the bunnies.  And (like I said, meant to be) the *real* marshmallow Peeps I had bought were the chicks as well.  The store didn't have the bunnies left in all four colors.

So here they are!  I didn't embroider the eyes - I used paint and a pencil eraser.  Shortcut City, baby!  They turned out REALLY cute - I was very pleased with them and the kids thought they were pretty neat too.  I'm glad we have four different colors so everyone knows which one is theirs.

I still have enough fleece to make the bunnies next year.  Since they seemed harder to find in stores, though (the marshmallow ones) - I may have to plan a little further ahead next year.

Hope everyone had a very Happy Easter!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kids' Valentines

Just wanted to share the Valentines the kids (and I) made.  I had found a lot of neat ideas online and we looked at a bunch of them together and then Paige and Blake picked out the ones they wanted to use.

This is a huge idea all over blogland lately and they really did turn out pretty cute.  Blake liked the idea of taking a picture of him with a fist oustretched, then cutting a slit in the picture above and below his hand and sliding a lollipop into it.  We taped them on the back for security.  These would have benefitted from being glued to some cardstock first, but we just used the photos as they came and it works ok too.

Paige saw these printable iPhone valentines that wrapped around a box of conversation hearts and really liked them, so that's what her classmates are getting today.

I usually do some kind of special Valentine's Day meal, but haven't planned anything yet and don't have any ideas... so maybe I'll just make some chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert tonight and hope that is 'special' enough. 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Random Thoughts of a Blog Stalker

It was probably mid-2008 when I started reading a few blogs.  Anyone that reads blogs knows that reading one leads to another (probably via a link) and it's possible to literally get lost linking from one blog to another - clicking "next page" or "more posts" to see everything each blog has to offer, then following a link to yet another blog... et cetera ad nauseum.

I have always loved making new things, trying new crafts, etc.  It wasn't until I started finding all of these blogs (first making them 'favorites' and then becoming a 'follower') that my list of 'to-do' projects became unattainable.  The list of projects I've seen and said "Oooh!  I want to make one of those!" is probably in the thousands.  I've bookmarked, downloaded, and read more tutorials for projects than I'll ever have time to make... even if I didn't have four kids, a full-time job, and a life!

I'm making an effort, though.  Here are five of the projects I'd added to my 'someday' file that were completed in time for Christmas.  I've added a link to the 'inspiration' blog for each of them.  Go forth and stalk!

All the kiddos needed new hats for Christmas, of course. 

Erika got a Jack Skellington (from Nightmare Before Christmas) hat.  Here's the pattern, and I just used a basic adult beanie pattern to start.

I thought a Super Mario Brothers mushroom hat would be the perfect fit for Blake (and he has probably worn his the most out of all of them since getting it).  Pattern here.  This was my first time doing a pattern within the stitches.  It was hard... lots of loose ends inside the hat... but he loves it!

As shown in this post, Paige has taken a liking to all things Sock Monkey after we made one for her.  I found this pattern and just new it would be the perfect hat for her.

Little Dean... I just wasn't sure what to make him.  He does, like many a toddler, love Elmo though.  So when I saw these patterns for Sesame Street beanies... I just had to make one.  The others may follow, in time.

And lastly, the other project I made for Dean as well.  He loves to tie his beloved 'blankie' around his neck and make a cape out of it.  So when I saw this reversible super hero cape... I just knew he'd love it.  And he does!  We call him Super Dean when he puts it on and runs around the house. 

The pattern was super easy! Disclaimer: Keeping it real, here.  I didn't take pictures when I first made it, so this is what it looks like after use and being shoved haphazardly into a toy box... wrinkles and all!

 Next week maybe I'll post my 'want to make' list with links to some of the projects.  Anyone interested?

Next project, though, I do believe needs to be a dog bed for poor Miss Eden.  She must be tired of contorting herself to fit into a cat bed.  Anyone have a good pattern/tutorial link?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Teacher Gifts - Coffee Cozies and a Gift Card

I have several other Christmas crafts I made but I haven't posted yet because I keep forgetting to get some decent pictures!  I need to wrangle those kiddos this weekend to get some and will post them next week.

I made the kids' teachers Coffee Cozies this year and included a cup (I just asked for them when I bought the gift cards) with a $5 gift card inside.  They turned out really cute!  I made three of the brown/turquoise fabric.  Paige also has one male teacher and I was originally going to come up with a different gift for him.  However, it was the evening before the last day of school before the holiday break and I hadn't ever picked up an alternate gift.  So.... I dug around and found this faux-leather that I bought at Halloween to make Blake's boots and wrist-thingies from for his Halloween costume.  I used a brown houndstooth on the inside and it ended up looking very manly :-)

It wasn't what I had planned for him but I'm happy with how it turned out and hope that he can and will use it.  If not, at least he got the giftcard too.  Here they are all packaged up and ready to go.  I included a personal note from Mark and I as well.

And while I'm posting, let me throw in this cake I made for my nephew's BDay last month.  His party didn't really have a 'theme', but my sister-in-law was taking all the kiddos go-carting and one of Nate's favorite video games is ModNation Racers, so I just took inspiration from the game cover.  He was happy and it sure was yummy, so I call it a hit!

I apparently need to work on my 'writing names on cakes' skills as well as my counting skills.  I started putting down little 'stars' of frosting to stick the candles in to - put down 12 'stars' but only needed 11.  We'll just call that extra one a decoration, shall we?

I'll get those pics taken this weekend and will post some more crafty-goodness next week.