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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DIY Halloween Carnival

Every year I think about having a Halloween party for my kids & every year it doesn't happen.  Largely due to the fact that throwing one party (Jack's bday party) is a big enough job that it's too overwhelming to think about throwing a second party days later.  This year was going to be different.  But then when it came down to it - again - it was going to just be too much.

Enter my brilliant idea (I think so anyway).  A DIY Halloween Carnival!  I asked the friends who I or my kids hang out with on a regular basis to come & for each mom to be in charge of a game/activity.  They had to bring anything they needed for it, whether it was candy, prizes or a table to set up on or whatever else they could need.  It was so easy for me to plan!  And fairly stress-free too.  I told my friends to let me know as soon as they decided on a game/activity bc whoever called something first got first dibs.  My phone was blowing up! It was kinda fun! 

Our carnival included:
Bobbing for apples.  Gross. Unsanitary. I know! My kids were dying to try it though since they'd only ever seen it on tv or read about it.  And it is a classic!  My mom added a small amt of bleach to the water to help kill germs.

Face Painting.  After the booth "closed" the kids painted their own/each other's faces.  Callie especially loved it!

Spooky Bowling.  This was a hit.  The kids came back to it over & over again.

Doughnuts on a String Game  
Cupcake & Cookie Decorating
Pumpkin Toss.  Knocked over stacked Halloween cups.  I didn't get a picture. :(
Spider Craft.  Pony bead pipe cleaner spiders & webs on a paper plate.  I'm bummed I didn't get a picture of this, but here's where Jessica took the craft idea from.  Click on the pictures & it will take you to their different websites ;) :

Another Spider Craft.  Wish I had more pictures of this.  Katie was in charge & she gave the kids a black piece of construction paper, put it in an empty can flat, dropped some white paint on the paper, then gave the kids a marble to roll around in the box so that it made a "spider web" all over the paper.  After the papers had hung to dry for a little bit they glued plastic spiders (cut from rings) to their webs.  Both spider crafts were awesome!

Mummy Dogs.  I think this was the kids' favorite.  Stacie helped the kids wrap hot dogs with dough like mummies & they got to roast them over our fire pit.  Even after they were done with their mummy dogs the kids went back to the fire pit over & over again just to hang out.
It was a fun afternoon.  We did the carnival after school on Thursday & since our kids were basically fed :) most of us moms went out to dinner afterwards!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Ninja Party (Ninjago Style)

Jack LOVES all things Ninjago right now- and has for a while.  He told me AT HIS PARTY last year that he wanted a Ninjago party for his next birthday! Jeesh! So when I saw little Ninjago sets that were on sale or clearance in JANUARY I bought 14, knowing we'd have a Ninjago party come October.  And Jack never changed his mind. 
I'll have to come back later & add the links to the sites I got my inspiration from. 
The party was from 4-6:30 (the longest party I've done - usually they're 2 hours).  Since it was basically right after school for most of the boys we started with a snack.
"Burning Snake"
Fushi (fake sushi)
After a snack the boys went outside & Jeremiah timed them going through his "ninja" obstacle course.  Okay, there wasn't anything that ninja about it, but kids love obstacle courses.
After their obstacle course they came in for the Fortune Cookie Toss game.  The winner was the ninja who had the most points.  They each got 3 fortune cookies to toss into take-out boxes that were worth 3, 5 or 7 points.
Next up: Pin the Beard on Sensai Wu.  Jack really wanted Pin the Sword on Kai's Hand, but since I'd decided on the pin the _ while he was at school & had already spent a bit of time photoshopping Sensai Wu to get rid of the beard, I told him he had to be happy with it.  And he was.   Jack walked right up to it & put it right where it belonged.  I'd double wrapped the scarf & checked under their cheeks to see if they could see & he couldn't.  He is just a true pin the __ ninja!
The game that Jack was most excited about was the Throwing Star Game.  I ordered rubber throwing stars from Amazon that they threw into this foam insulation board that we already had.   
Hard to see but that's Ellie in front of Jack taking a turn.  She was better than a lot of the boys!  
Jack's 2nd turn.  He didn't do so hot on his first one so he had to redeem himself! ;)  
While we waited for my dad to bring our food the boys went crazy outside with dollar store ninja swords I gave them all.  I was really really hoping to find foam ones but I couldn't so they were flexible plastic.  I bought a couple blow up punch bags from Kmart & they had one of them popped in seconds.  What a waste of $7!  If they weren't attacking the punch bag they were attacking each other.  I had to take one boy's sword away because he just couldn't seem to remember to not hit PEOPLE with it.  Poor Ellie got a big welt on her arm from him!   Here's a few pics of party stuff:
Food's here!
For dinner we had non-spicy orange chicken from Panda Express with fried rice.  We also bought frozen pot stickers & egg rolls that they ate.  So I've thrown quite a few kid parties now & I couldn't think of a single one that the kids had eaten much.  So when I was ordering the orange chicken I thought 1 pan would definitely be enough for the boys (12 of them!) plus the rest of the family, including Grandpa & Grandma, Papa & Nana, and Uncle Jonny & Aunt Ann & Taylor.  The boys LOVED the orange chicken and almost every one of them had seconds.  By the time I got a chance to eat there were 2 puny pieces left.  And Jeremiah & his mom didn't get any!  I guess I should have made sure the rest of us had our food before I gave all the boys seconds.  It's not like I would have been starving them if they couldn't have seconds! :) I was shocked but glad it was a hit!
After dinner we let Jack open his presents.  Our friends are all overly generous! He got lots of Ninjago stuff.  He was thrilled!  
For his cake, I'd seen on another blog a cake the mom made that was simply rectangle cakes & a paper pagoda on top.  The paper pagoda is a free printable from HP that I printed.  So on the assembly directions it says it will take about 2 hours to assemble.  But I have a paper trimmer and I've done a lot of paper crafting so I knew it wouldn't take me 2 hours to assemble.  WRONG! It took me 2 1/2!  That put me behind schedule on the morning of the party!  I'm SOOO thankful that Jeremiah's mom had offered to make cupcakes for Jack's class & that my mom picked them up from her & delived them!  Even with that I was still behind schedule (an absolutely regular thing for me)!  When Jeremiah's mom got to my house to help me finish getting ready she made the frosting for the birthday cake & frosted it for me!  I have to say, the paper pagoda was very impressive looking!  Jack couldn't find any of his Ninjagos to put on the cake so he found one of his skeletons (enemies on Ninjago) and stuck it on!
As the boys were eating/finishing their cake & ice cream the parents showed up to get them.  It was a great party but it was great that it was over too! :)  We sent each boy home with a take-out box that had their name on it (I can't believe I forgot to take a picture).  Inside was a little Ninjago set (the sets I'd bought in January), a mini rubber ninja (like the ones in the quarter machines), and a fortune cookie along with a pair of chopsticks & the chopstick helpers they'd used to eat their dinner with.  They also got to take home their ninja swords and a ninja mask that we were working on even as the boys were arriving!   
After all of Jack's friends left he got to open presents from us, the grandparents, & aunts/uncles.    Jack had an awesome party!  I'm so grateful that Jeremiah's mom & my mom both saved the day again & helped me with his party!  Jack's very sweet & has thanked me several times & he likes to tell people that his mom throws the best parties ever!  (Not true, but I'm not too shabby!)   Happy Birthday Jack!

Happy 7th Birthday, Jack!

(with his requested birthday breakfast of crepes with strawberries & whipped cream)
I can't believe Jack's 7! (Oct 17) He's such a sweet boy & also tough.  Except for where feelings are concerned.  He's pretty sensitive.  Could be that he's outnumbered by girls, but it's probably just who he is. 

Jack had an awesome birthday this year.  Besides his birthday breakfast, my dad took him Del Taco for lunch & ate with him at school.  Jeremiah's mom made cupcakes for his class birthday treat & my mom took them in to him.  He had a pretty great birthday party & he got lots of awesome presents!  I don't think his birthday could have been any better for him!

Jack loves LEGOs, Ninjago (I know they're LEGOs but they get their own category), pizza & pasta carbonara, Eggo waffles for breakfast, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, video games - esp. Mario Bros., gymnastics, reading, drawing, hunting, camping, going to the lake, cooking, and spending alone time with Jeremiah and/or me (and grandparents). 

Things I love about Jack:
His voice/the way he talks.  He's always had this adorable, lilting way of talking.  I love that he hasn't completely outgrown it!
His wit.  He's very smart and also very funny.  His mind amazes us!
His drawings.  I just love them.  He's a really great artist & I want to save every one of his little drawings.
His sweet personality.  He is SO sweet with Adelyn (usually) and other toddlers/babies.  He talks to her in a higher than usual voice and wants to help her & make her happy.
His craftiness.  A little more than a year ago he got a hot glue gun burn while he was using the glue gun that he decided all on his own he needed for a craft he was making for me.  He was sitting on the ground with it & somehow got hot glue all over the top of his foot.  It was a 2nd degree burn! But he still wants to use the glue gun.  And tape & staples & regular glue.  He once made me what I like to call an Anthro inspired necklace out of paper, jute & staples.  He's pretty amazing!
His love of good food.  He's usually very willing to try food & he can sometimes be a little picky.  I'm sure part of this is that he's used to food/treats that I make, but sometimes he tells me that other cookies or other foods aren't as good as what I make. :)  One thing that made me laugh was that he wanted spaghetti & meatballs for his birthday dinner.  I thought that was sort of funny on its own because I MAYBE have made spaghetti & meatballs once ever.  Maybe.  I might not have at all.  But since we were having Chinese food for his birthday party dinner (on his actual birthday), I surprised him & made him spaghetti & meatballs the next night.  He didn't seem that excited when he saw me making the meatballs & said we should have sloppy joes.  He only ate the meatballs okay when we had dinner.  We were having leftovers for lunch the next day & he said he didn't want any meatballs with his spaghetti.  And in fact he doesn't really like meatballs!  LOL!

I love my Jackson boy SOOO much!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Traditions: Halloween Pajamas 2012

This is the best picture I could get.  But this is on September 30th & the kids are ready for bed in their new Halloween pj's so they can wake up in them on October 1st!  I love Halloween! Sadly enough, this is probably the last year I'll be able to get matching pj's for the girls from Carter's (my go-to pj place), since Callie will outgrow their largest size.  Boo.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Do you know the muffin girl?

For some reason Callie had got it in her head that I was going to be making good homemade breakfasts this weekend.  Callie was really annoyed with me for not making breakfast on Friday, so on Saturday she asked if she could make muffins all by herself.  This was her first solo flight!  I supervised but really was totally hands-off other than putting the muffins in the oven & taking them out - her arms just aren't that long yet!  I was SO impressed that she was able to make muffins completely by herself, and she was extremely proud of herself! And I was really proud of her too!