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Friday, December 28, 2012

Camping In The Forest
Birthday Party
My son loves camping. He asks me about once a week when we're going camping again. This started the day after our last camping trip in early September! While constantly being hounded about camping in the winter months isn't fun, it gave me a great idea for his December birthday.

We set the scene for this party with these super simple, super cute invitations.

Treat Table

Camping Cake with a graham cracker tent. 
Inside is chocolate cake with chocolate whipped filling and gummy worms. 

The treat table was so simple. 
With a little imagination and creative labeling you don't have to make much for a forest party. 

(My son is now convinced that "Bugles" are actually called Gnome Hats)


The acorn cookies were one of the few things we had to make, but even they were really easy. I got the 100 calorie packets of fudge striped cookies (because they're the right size) almond Kisses and then I just broke up a few of our "Twigs" for the stems. Melt a little almond bark to glue it all together. These took me and my husband only about ten minutes!

Just mini water bottles relabeled for the drink! 
We set them in a wooden box lined with imitation moss.

The pinata didn't turn out quite as I'd imagined it, but it was crunch time and it was destined to be smashed to bits so I let it go. I used a simple paper mached balloon and cut of the top and turned to over between layers.

You can find direction all over the place for the folding kids' play tent. (See Pinterest) I didn't follow any set of directions. I bought a flat twin sheet and two 8 foot molding strips (cut in half) and three 3 foot dowels. I delivered them to Grandma and Papa with a verbal description of what I wanted and they made it happen!

For this game I got a simple fish pattern and sewed all around the edge except the "mouth." We then filled them with little trinket favors and used large safety pins to close the fishes' mouths. I nailed a hole through a round magnet and looped the hook of our dollar store rod though. All the kids LOVED this game! We had kids ages 3-10 so it was great to have an activity they all enjoyed.

Watch yard sales and second hand stores for stuffed animals. They make an easy and cute decoration.
 (We also borrowed some.)

We set up our Christmas tree and set a few dollar store nests in it and hung our acorn necklaces all over it.

To make the necklaces we searched the ground at a local park. The acorn we found were all in two pieces. We took them home and washed them off then I matched up sizes. I used hot glue and put a nice blob on the top then laid the string over it and attached the bottom. 
A very affordable party favor!

Animal Mask Favors

These took me some time and I wouldn't say they were "easy" unless you're experienced with felt. I drew the patterns for these and hand stitched each one. I think they were totally worth the time though, because they turned out so stinkin' cute! 
You could hot glue them to save time or there are lots of these cuties you can purchase on Etsy. 

Our photo backdrop is made from a blanket from Ikea. We added an old wooden orchard box for the kids to sit on and some small Christmas trees. (I purchased these on clearance years ago after Christmas.)
To make it wider (and hide my messy craft table) I added some strips of burlap and a torn brown sheet.

We took pictures of the kids here and had the birthday boy open his presents here in "The Forest."
He loved his party this year and is talking about his next forest party already. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Quick and Simple Christmas Celebration

Grinch Goodies
This is one of the activities we did with our "Activity Advent Calendar" this year. 
It was really quick to put together. 
We invited cousins over the enjoy the afternoon with us. 

Those are "Green Velvet" cupcakes. Same exact thing as red velvet just use green food coloring in your recipe rather than red. We topped them with cream cheese frosting. I think next time I will add a strawberry to make little Santa-looking hats.

This punch was again, SO EASY! All it is, is lime sherbet with lemon-lime pop. The kids loved it and I loved how affordable and doable it was. 

These sugar rimmed glasses took me a little trial and error, but it all worked out in the end.
 (DO NOT try water like you would for rimming a margarita glass. After trying this and having a dissolving  dripping green rim I had a "No Duh" thought that sugar doesn't react to water like salt!)
Take a shallow, flat bottomed, microwaveable dish and put about a teaspoon of honey in it. Microwave a few seconds until it spreads evenly across the bottom of the dish. Dip the rims of your glasses in the honey then in the green sugar.
 Beautifully rimed holiday glasses (with no melting sugary drip)!!

While the kids ate and drank their goodies around the kitchen table I read them the book. Then we snuggled up in the living room to see the movie - a fun, festive, affordable afternoon! 

Creative Gift Ideas for Crafters

These are what we made this year as gifts for my girls' teachers and principal. 
I wanted something useful and festive
To make the towel angels scrunch a pot holder in the center and tie with a ribbon. Fold a kitchen towel in half and then fold it accordion style. Lay the washcloth flat and fold it accordion style then wrap it around the towel. Place this on the pot holder and use the remaining ribbon to tie around the towel and washcloth to form the angel's head. 
We added a whisk filled with Christmas candies and attached a note the said,
 "We 'Whisk' You a Merry Christmas!"
(The towel angels without the candy-filled whisk cost only $2-$3)

 If you give a first grader a book...
... be sure she has a toy to go with it!

This is what I made as a gift for someone in first grade. I found the book (one of my favorites) on sale and made the felt toys and a cookie mix to go with it.

This was a very affordable gift, but time consuming. I drew out the pattern for the mouse myself and spent lots of time embroidering his face. 
In the end I think it was worth it and something almost any 6 or 7 year old will enjoy.

Use you Cricut to make felt patterns!

I was looking for an affordable gift for my daughter's  "Secret Santa" gift exchange at school. There was a $5 limit and after wandering almost every isle of a major department store we were still empty handed. Finally we decided to get a sketch book (almost every girl likes to doodle) and 
personalize it with some Cricut cutouts. 

We used her favorite animal and color as well as putting her name across the top. 
Plain $2 sketch book (ho-hum) to something all about her!

When it was all finished I had some leftover cutouts and thought they'd be really easy to cut felt around. The hat and boot are from the birthday cartridge. (The horse I had to use a color book page to make.) The cutouts were a great pattern and cost only the price of the paper I cut them from. Best part they were really fast and easy to sew. 

An affordable gift that I think almost any cowgirl is sure to love!