28 April 2014


There were lots of hand made items in this party. All easy to do. Refer to the party plan posting for more details. Below is a more complete look at a few of the decorations and food that went into this party.

I taped three of these to the ceiling to provide some movement and icy color. I used another for a table runner.

Crepe Paper Sheets
Food Coloring
Pie Tin (shallow) and Bowl (deep)
Wax Paper
Scissors - I used Fringe Scissors

1. Unwrap one package but don't unravel the crepe paper. It will be roll folded, right out of the package.
2. Fill a pie tin with 1 inch of water and 1-2 drops of food coloring. I used blue for an icy effect.
3. Fill a deeper bowl (I used Easter egg bowls for dying eggs) with about 2-3" of water and add 1 drop of the same color. *You can color mix, depending on your party theme and color palette. I used blue again so that the shorter ends would be slightly darker than the extended color.
4. Dip one edge into the shallow pan, soak up some color and then dip that same edge into the deeper bowl.
5. Lay it flat onto a sheet of wax paper.
6. Repeat for the second package of crepe paper. *You may need to add more water/dye.
7. Repeat this for as many as packages that you have.
8. Go back to the first bundle and dip the other edge, first in the shallow and then in the deep. *Be careful to keep the dye from dripping into the middle.
9. Let all of the bundles dry completely.
10. Unroll each bundle, one at a time and fold in half.
11. Fringe cut the edges. I use Martha Stewart's Fringe scissors. They can't handle too many layers of crepe paper at one time, so that's why I fold it in half.
*If you use regular scissors, you could probably fold it a few times to cut down on the cutting.

Computer and Printer
Xacto Knife and Cutting Board
Small Hole Punch
Wax Paper
Hot Glue Gun and Glue

1. Create a pennant banner in Illustrator by forming a triangle and repeating it for each letter of your banner phrase.
2. Type out your phrase, outline it, ungroup it and separate each letter for each triangle.
3. Gang up your triangles and print. Generally, three fit on an 81/2"x11"
4. Cut each and lay them out, ready to string.
5. Take the first 3 letters and punch small holes into each of the top corners.
6. Repeat the process until all triangles have punches. I like to use the first one as a guide to keep the holes in the same place each time.
7. Carefully glue the long edges and place on wax paper, then cover the glue with glitter. Shake off the glitter and set aside to dry.
8. Repeat for all the letters.
9. Once they are completely dry, string them all together, going through the last letter (string into the top side first) and leaving about 10" of string at that end to tie a knot. *I string them so that the back shows the majority of the string.
10. When you get to the last letter, tie it off with a knot.
11. Space the letters and hot glue each of the backs to the string.
* If you don't have a computer with Illustrator, you can print this and hand write large letters on each triangle.

23 April 2014

21 April 2014


The time has come. After seeing about three other friends have their Frozen Birthday parties, it was our daughter's turn. She invited just her girlie friends. They arrived in their dress ups, half were Elsa. They played together so well and got to make a craft, we had it late in the day so I planned for treats only. We also hired a local Elsa and Anna to come and play with them for a half our and take photos. That was a highlight for these girls. They were sold! They kept touching their dresses to be sure they were real.

When I throw a party, I always start with a party plan. I have a color palette, some decor ideas, a menu and activities. For my girls, that usually involves a craft. The weather was beautiful so they were able to play outside and really spread out.

Play - The girls had about 20 minutes to play together before crafts.

Craft - Making bracelets. This consisted of stringing beads (here, here, here, and here) onto a stretch string and adults helping them knot and cut the string. Easy! Set up a craft area with tables, chairs, a tablecloth, and plates to contain the beads. I also opted to put their party favors on this table.

Anna & Elsa - They told the girls the Frozen story from their point of view, played a little game and took photos with each guest.

Donut HoleTree - I got a stirofoam cone at Michaels, wrapped it in tinfoil, inserted toothpicks, then a donut, one at a time, one row at a time. I filled in the holes with little sprigs of tissue/wax paper sticks.

Cupcakes - This is something I order in advance and pick up morning of. I've learned from past experience to order mini cupcakes to cut down on mess.

Hot Pies - I made these a couple days in advance with this recipe, and the morning of, reheated at 350˚ Then frosted them. This was the last thing I did to keep them fresh. Some learning points, I would roll this out to 1/8" instead of 1/4" so they're not too thick, but rather thin and flaky. I also did mine in a circle with a snowflake cut in the center of the top layer so that the blueberry jam could ooze through a bit. Yum.

Popcorn Balls - I learned a popcorn trick here. Microwave four bags of popcorn, then melt 2 sticks of butter in a large pot on medium heat, add 1 1/2 bags of marshmallows, stir until melted and looks white and creamy, not buttery. Then transfer that to a separate bowl. Next put the popped popcorn (without seeds) two bags first, into the large pot, pour some marshmallow sauce on and stir. Keep adding popcorn one bag at a time and then sauce until all is blended well. Let that cool for a few minutes. Next start making balls (use vegetable oil on your hands to keep them lubed). Place finished balls on a sheet of wax paper then insert sticks. Completed balls then go into baggies and tie off with ribbon or a string.

Milk Jugs & Straws - I found these cute mini jugs here, with colored lids and straws to coordinate. I also had a pitcher of water and cups for the adults.

Snow Cones - My Father-In-Law is a huge snow cone connoisseur so I let him man the machine. He found one to borrow and even brought two flavors of syrup. I bought two bags of ice, cups and spoons. I opted for cups instead of the pointed cones, just so kids could set them down easily.

Candy Bowls - I had some colored gum balls and rock "ice" candy in bowls. I also put these in their party favor boxes.

This is where I tend to go a little nuts and spend too many weeks preparing. You can do all or non if you wish. You can also find more fun ideas I've researched or made on my Pinterest  pages: Party Plans and Victorious Blog are both loaded.

Crepe Paper Swags - I bought white crepe paper sheets here. First I dyed the edges while it was still folded, making sure to keep them flat so the dye wouldn't drip into the middle. Let it dry well, then unroll them and fringe cut the edges. Three of them made a good swooping ceiling backdrop for behind the banner.

Flowers - I cut branches from our trees and added a few yard flowers in the color palette. Not a lot of flowers because it's a frozen theme but I wanted a little bit of color.

Banner - I made a pennant banner in Illustrator, printed, cut, put it together and glitter glued the edges.

Art Wall - My daughter wanted to showcase her own art so I used one wall to put up our favorites of her her Elsa/Anna/Olaf drawings. Above that I strung two 4' strands of tassels made from tissue paper and iridescent wrap.

Food Table - I arranged gifts in the back with a tall vase of flowers and then food in front of all that. If the food is low for the kids they can come and take easily. If it's high on a countertop, I always have too many leftovers.

Countertop Decor - We have a wall that is straight in from our entryway that always needs some sort of decoration at partytime. I usually do something with levels of snacks and drop things from the ceiling. To mix it up, I didn't want this to be the main focus. Instead I made the craft and food tables the main focus. I used some of our Christmas decorations, white flocked and feather trees, glass drops and added some gem and ribbon garlands. I also dropped a few tissue poms and balloons from the ceiling.

I purchased clear boxes here, filled them with iridescent filler, pearly gumballs and rock "ice" candy from Zurchers. I found some cute snowflake ring toppers and photo snow globes and inserted up Elsa and Anna photos. I also hotglued some ribbon to the base of them snow globes and added more glitter before adding the distilled water. Each box was wrapped with curly ribbon and topped with a sparkle pencil and balloon.

Party photos and DIY Tutorials to come this week!

10 April 2014


I'm new at this learning to read business. I feel for these little kids trying to learn the ins and outs of the unpredictable and tricky English language. My daughter is a thinker and quite intelligent but we could sense her struggling with reading early on. She wasn't excited about it and knowing her, it was because she wasn't getting it quickly enough so she was losing interest.

Here's the thing... SIGHT WORDS... they're everything. It's clear to me why they push them so hard in Kindergarten. Once they get sight words they are able to read sentences because these simple words are what make up most of our sentences!
He. Her. She. Him. In. Out. They. That. This... There are about 80 words that these kids are learning. So the trick to getting them down quickly is not flashcards, sorry teachers, that's not it. At least not for our stubborn little one. It needs to be a game.

A friend had a recommendation that I have to pass on because it's truly brilliant. It has captured that excitement of learning, it has brought her up to speed quickly, and inspired further learning.

1. Cut out 3"x4" pieces of paper and write out the sight words on each piece.
2. Tape about 20 of them around your child's bedroom.
3. At night before bed, turn out the light and turn on a flashlight.
4. Point to a word with your flashlight and your child needs to say the word.

* Our daughter had all 20 within days.
5. Once your child has all of these words down, change up the game... Use the word in a sentence. (i.e. for THIS point to the word with a flashlight and they could say something like, "THIS game is so fun" or "Tomorrow let's play THIS again").

* Once this is easy to them, add more cards. I kept the first 20 up as well.

It's such a simple idea and I tell ya, it works. It takes away their frustration and makes it fun. After a couple of weeks, we noticed a huge difference in her ability to read. I've told a few friends and they have had the same experience.

So *disclaimer, I'm not a teacher, but I really think this is a great way to help inspire our little learners. And the added bonus is our daughter's little sister gets to play too and at 3 1/2 she's getting early exposure to these lessons.

Here are a few to start. Print at 100% on 8.5"x11"

08 April 2014


Instead of handing out school photos, I thought it might be fun to send them out as a little package.

These can be recreated for wallet sized photos by cutting the cards below and handwriting a message. They fit in an A2 envelope.