Monday, April 30, 2012

Boy Party Ideas, Part 1

While going through my old pictures this past weekend, I came across many pictures of Kyle's past  birthday parties.  Back in the "olden" days when Kyle was a baby and todder, I actually had a camera that used film!   Also back then, I seemed to have more time to scrapbook.  The pictures from his 1st and 2nd party were scanned from my scrapbook pages and then cropped so I could post them here.  

Back in the late 90s, early 2000s there was a show called  Teletubbies.  Kids everywhere liked to watch the antics of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, LaLa and Po.  Half baby, half stuff animal like  characters with televisions in their bellies.  At the beginning of the show, the sun with a real baby's  face would appear.   One thing that I like to do at all of our parties is to take a picture of each child with something that represents the theme.  For our Teletubby party, it was the baby in the sun.

All of his friends were 3 and younger and loved posing as the baby in the sun.  I used the outdoor scene from the show as the background in my scrapbook.  It is a very cute page!

This idea can be modified for current preschool  shows. Each child wore the headgear of their favorite character.  My oldest daughter Kristina is wearing the Po.   We played a game where each of the kids threw a ball through Po's belly made out of cardstock.  

The Telletubbies loved to eat Tubby custard and Tubby Toast.  To make Tubby custard, I added food coloring to vanilla pudding.  I actually didn't take pictures of the food we ate that day.. GASP! If knew 12 years ago I would have a blog, I would have.   I do know the food  was child friendly due to the age of our guests. I know I also had a spread of various items for the adults.  

The cake was made from a Wilton Teletubby pan. Kyle  was covered in red frosting, because  he was given a big chunk of Po cake.   See the paper piecing of LaLa?  I made all of  the teletubbies by hand  out of cardstock, and placed them on my pages.  I loved how they turned out.    While this show is not on the air anymore,  the ideas can be adapted for other childrens' shows.

When Kyle was 2, his favorite character was Blue from Blues Clues. I am pretty sure that is still on the air.   I found a page on   We watched back in the day when Steve was still doing original episodes.    I covered our family room chair with red fabric so it would look like "The Thinking Chair".  I love this picture of Kyle.

I gave each of the kids a notebook and we looked around the house for Blue's paw prints. Once we found them all we went back to the thinking chair and solved the question.

Each of the kids wore Blue clues ears made out of blue felt.  The ears can easily be changed for other types of puppy parties.   We ate dog bone dogs (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls) and juice boxes.  Again I did not take a picture of the food by itself, but can see what we ate in some of the pictures.

I made the Blue Clues cake using a round cake and several cupcakes.  I did find a similar cake on  

When he was 3, he still liked dogs, but this time it was Scooby Doo that was  the theme of his party.  All of the kids wore Scooby ears and dog tags made out of craft foam.  

We took turns posing with Scooby

We solved the mystery of who ate the Scooby snacks.  This game was similar to the Blue Clues game.  I made clues  and black paw prints, and left them around the house.  Each clue brought us to another room, and eventually led to Scooby.   I love the look of surprise on Kyles face when he found that Scooby was the one who ate the snacks.           Food for a Scooby party is pretty easy.   Shaggy and Scooby are always hungry and eat just about anything.   We had single size pizzas and scooby snacks. (chex mix in cupcake papers)  

His 4 yr, 5 yr and 6 yr  parties will be posted in Part 2.  I did have a digital camera at that time and many more pictures. I will be sharing his space party, dinosaur party and magic party.  I hope you stay tuned.  
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flower Cupcakes

Gumdrop Flower Cupcakes

Today was a big day.  Not only was it Kyle's 13th birthday, it was also the birthday of a good friend.

Kyle insisted on plain chocolate cupcakes, with NO theme.  He didn't have a party, but ate at one of his favorite restaurants, and hung out with a friend.   His friend also happened to be the son of my birthday friend.  She told me that he if didn't want themed cupcakes, she would love some..  Hmm...  what kind of theme should I do.

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In the Blink of an Eye

13 years ago, a baby boy was born.  

He was born in a family that already had a little girl. They would have another little girl 2 years after he was born. He is the only boy in his family, which sometimes is frustrating to him. 
"No, your baby brother is not a doll, and you can not dress him up!" (his sister did  once dress up him as a princess when he was about 3.  I knew he would never forgive me if I posted that picture.  LOL!)  

He found his love for dinosaurs quite early.  He was a dinosaur for his 1st Halloween when he was 6 months old.  

He helped in the kitchen quite early.  Here he is  unloading all of his baby spoons onto the floor.  At least  he wanted to help with the dishes! At 13, he may like to cook, but he doesn't like doing dishes.  

There was a time when he would actually dress up without complaining. I loved his "little man" look.  This was his first Easter.  

These are some of his actual first steps.  

Those little feet liked to tap and hip hop for a time.  

His first day of 4 yr preschool.  If only school was as fun as preschool now. He is just about to finish 7th grade. In another year he will go to High School.  How did that happen?    He went from 1, 2,3s and A,B, Cs to taking high school level Algebra this year.  

I always loved this picture of him because it shows pure joy.  It was back in the days when he would actually smile for the camera.   

In just a blink of an eye, my little man became a young man.  That 8 lb baby is now taller than his mom.  Those tiny feet are now in men's size shoes and he is starting to wear men's size clothing.  How did 13 years fly by so quickly?  

Happy 13th Birthday Kyle!  

May the next 13 years not fly by!! 
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Dare to Share #5

It's Friday and that means it is Dare to Share time again. I can't wait to see what everyone has to share this week. I don't have a lot of rules to my party. You can link up anything that you would like to share. It could be a craft, recipe, party idea, practical tip etc.. You can link up as many links you would like. I do ask that you become a follower of my blog, and place my party button somewhere on your site.
I will be sharing features on the blog, Facebook and Pinterest. Enjoy the party, and have fun!
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Dare to Share #4 Features

Once again I was so excited to see all the wonderful ideas on Dare to Share.    It was once again hard to pick out my features of the week.    If you are not featured on the blog,  you might also be featured on Pinterest or my Facebook page.

In honor my sons 13th birthday this weekend,  I chose There is No Place Like Homemade and her wonderful R2D2 cake.  I am so bummed that my son only wants plan cupcakes. I would so like to make him a cake like this!

Going with the Star Wars theme (though not intentionally)  I also adore this Yoda T shirt by Homemade This and That

How cool is this rainbow jello by Yearning to Create.  I never would have thought to layer all those colors.  This would be a really cool dessert for a rainbow themed party.

Kara the craft diva's pick of the week are these super cook handmade horse earrings by Make It Easy Crafts.  This craft had two things going for it that caught Kara's eye.  #1 it was an animal craft and #2 she LOVES earrings.  She got her ears pierced last year and has become a bit obsessed.  She now wants to start making her own earrings.  Now that we see how it is done, I think it is something we will have to try.

If you have been featured, feel free to post one of my buttons.  Now that I have a new computer I hope to get a special Featured button made.  Until then you can use this button

Dare to Share will be going live in a few hours. I hope you will all come back and share what new things you have been working this week..
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The One Where I Forgot My Camera

Kara was in her school talent show tonight.  I was so busy with  helping her get ready that I forgot my camera.  I also accidently left my phone plugged into the wall charging.  How can I be a blogger, and totally forget all ways of taking pics?? I guess this means I lose my bloggers license.   Luckily her dad took a video on his I-phone. A  good friend of mine who was helping with  the show lent me her camera to take pics of both of  our daughters' acts.  I also got some great ones of the principals, custodians and 2 teachers lip syncing to One Direction.  Their act  brought down the house. You have not  lived until you see men in their 30s and 40s wearing wigs and pretending to be a British Boy Band.   After the show we went to a family dinner at Olive Garden. Again I was kicking myself for not having my camera.  Kyle wanted to try Mussels.  It was the perfect  opportunity to take an Instagram.   I can't believe he ate them and LIKED them.   He made the comment he was not that picky anymore.  No I guess not, if you are brave enough to eat mussels.  
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recycled Cardboard Party Props

Kyle's birthday is just a few days away.  I am feeling a little  bittersweet about him growing up and turning all teenager on me.  I have been looking back on past birthdays, and want to repost this oldie but goodie.   I make all of my party props, many of them out of recycled cardboard.

Time for the flashback post... If only he was 5 and in love with dinosaurs again.  :) 
When making my cardboard surfboards for our upcoming beach party,  I realized how many props I have actually made with recycled cardboard over the years.   A couple of years ago my son wanted a giant party.  I like to call it the Honey I Shrank the Kids Party, he likes to call it the Giant Stuff party.   LOL!  A friends husband owns a blinds business and had many long cardboard boxes.  We used this long skinny box and spray painted it gray.  I added a small white box with tape and it became a toothbrush.   The kids had so much fun with this prop.  It would be  very easy to replicate.

Not too long after we moved into our current house, I used large moving boxes to make dinosaur cutouts for my son's dinosaur party.  As  you can imagine, these were also a bit hit with the preschool set.  To make these dinosaurs, I found some pictures in childrens books to use as a  guide.  I then sketched, cut out and painted with acrylic paint.

For my daughters horse party, I used cardboard boxes to make a corral.  Originally it was going to be set up outside and go all around the horse, but it ended up being too windy that day.  You can see part of the corral in the background.

Last summer we had a Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Party, which gave me many oppurtunites to use recycled cardboard.   In the first picture I used cardboard tubes painted yellow for a bowl of  large macaroni pasta.  I used small piece of foam board, cardstock and fiberfill to make the oreo.   In the second picture, the girls carry a giant french fry made  from a long box painted yellow.    In the last picture, the falling pizza was made from cardboard food boxes, recycled kraft paper and cardstock scraps. 

My most current recycled cardboard creation was made from a box used in the giant things party.  This at one time was a giant dragonfly.  I do not have a picture to post, but the wings were made out of white plastic and wire and the eyes from pieces of white cardstock.

I cut open two of the dragonfly boxes, and laid them flat.   I then cut out two large surfboards to use as picture props for our upcoming beach party.

With a little bit of creativity, almost any box or large piece of cardboard can be made into some sort of party prop.

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Meijer Deals this Week

This was an excellent week for coupons at Meijer.  I saved over $35 in coupons and was $20 under budget.   Here are the BEST deals that I bought this week. 

Jose Ole meals are on sale for $2.99.  I had two $3 off 2 coupons that was a Bricks coupon or from , making these meals $1.49 each. They are normally are $4.99 each so this was a great deal. 

Milk Bites were on sale for $2.50.  I had a $1.50 off 1 from a Kraft cookbook and a $1 printable coupon. One box was only $1, the other $1.50.  Milk Bites are normally $2.99 each. 

Activia Yogurt was on sale for $1.88.. I had a $2 of 2 Meijer catalina coupon and a $1 off 1 printable coupon.  Final price .88 each. 

Kraft Fresh Take cheese was on sale for $2.  I had a $1 off printable coupon making it only $1.  Fresh Take is normally $2.99. 

The rest of my best deals are part of the $8 off 8 deal. This week if you buy specific products you would get $8 off instantly when you buy 8. 

Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese on sale for $1.99.  This was my best deal of the week.  I had .50 off 2 Meijer Meal Box coupon,  I got $1 off each product from the $8 off 8 deal AND I had two $1 off insert flyers.  I got mac and cheese for FREE, and made .26 each on the deal. 

Crystal Light on sale for $2.  I got $1 off each box from the $8 off 8 deal, and I had a $1 off 2 coupon which made them .50 each. They are normally $2.19 each.

Wheat Thins on sale for $2.50.  Each box was $1 off from the $8 off 8 deal, and I had a $1 off 2 coupon.  Final price $1 each, normally $3.29 each. 

2 Philedelphia Indulgence on sale for $2 each.  I got $1 off each from the $8 off 8 deal and a $1.50 off 2 coupon.  Final price was only .25 each. They are normally $2.99 each and delicious!

If you added it all up, it was only $15.08 for everything in the picture.  Full price those same items would have been $56.72.  I saved 73% on those items.

Overall my savings were not quite that good.  I saved $35.75 in coupons, and $32.32 in sales for total savings of $68.07.  I spent $79.61 for an overall savings of 46%.
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Cooking with Kyle -Cheesy Chicken Legs

This week Kyle decided to make a quick and inexpensive meal for Cooking with Kyle.   This week at Meijer Kraft Fresh Take was on sale for $2.  I also had a $1 coupon for Fresh Take, which made it only $1.  A few weeks ago chicken drumsticks were on sale for $1.99 a pound,  and I picked up a 5 pack for only $2.11.    He chose the Ore Ida fries because they were in the freezer, and he felt like having some French fries.  He had recently seen the television ad where Ore Ida claimed that each serving was under a 150 calories a serving.

He opened a bag of Cheddar Jack and Bacon and mixed the contents 

He followed the directions on the package which said to dip the chicken in water before placing in the bag.  The water was not enough to make a much of the coating stick.  I would recommended using an egg wash, which is what we will do next time. 

Since he did not get an even coating, he added the rest of the bag on top of the chicken

Reading the back of the fry bag to see how long they needed to be in the oven. 

The chicken came out all crispy and golden.  He cooked the chicken 30-40 minutes in the  oven. I helped him to make sure they were done, and that they were no longer pink. 

He wanted to eat, not pose for an after picture.  He was a bit grumpy here. 

The end result was delicious cheesy coated chicken legs  that we all enjoyed. 

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Monday, April 23, 2012

A little bit of this..

I realized that I had several things to update and thought I would take a couple of minutes today to do so..

For those of you wondering how our growing experiment was working.  I am happy to say at one week, we do have a few seedlings.  Most are of the containers did not have changes (yet!) but in the cauliflower and the zinna containers, this is what I saw.  

I am now 1 month into my Countdown to Summer Slimdown.   Unfortunately the first month of my journey was a complete failure.  Not only did I not lose any weight but I GAINED 3 pounds. Ugh! I am sure that eating all that  Easter candy the last few weeks have not helped at all.   I am going to be starting a new program with my oldest daughter shortly and will explain more when that time comes.

On a positive note, we are now the proud owners of a new laptop.  I know I briefly mentioned that our old desk top bit the dust around Easter time.  We were down to one laptop that my daughter needed for school and a netbook that did not work that well all the time.  We got another laptop this morning and I LOVE IT.   I am also only about $100 away from a new IPad. I have been saving some money for a few months and now that IPad 2s dropped in price, almost there.

We are going to the Drs office later this morning.  Kara has not been feeling well the last couple of days and this morning said her throat hurt so bad it was hard to swallow.   It's weird to say that I am actually hoping for strep and not a relapse of her mono.  I guess we will find out shortly.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our One Step Meal

I am so excited.  I found a replacement USB for my camera for only a couple dollars.  I can now download pictures I took before it broke.      I had planned on posting this post way back in February, but better late than never.    I bought the items above with coupons.  The Fast Shake pancake mix  was FREE after coupons, and the Krusteaz One Step Muffins were around .60.    As a little experiment, I wanted to see how well my family would enjoy an almost free, easy to make breakfast.

This is what it looks like inside the One Step muffins.  All you need to do is add the recommended amount of water, replace the lid, and shake.

Pour the mixture into a muffin tin and bake.  We used the chocolate chip mix.

Muffin prep took less than 5 minutes, now onto the pancakes.  The Fast Shake was just as simple. Simply add the recommended amount of water and shake to mix well.  Pour a little bit of the mixture into your skillet, and in a few minutes a pancake that was simple and quick to make.

The Fast Shake container made 7 nice size pancakes, that turned out perfectly.

I made 6 muffins from the One Step container.

We threw in some scrambled eggs and bacon, and it was breakfast for dinner.  Got a thumbs up from the entire family on the pancakes and the muffins.  They were really tasty.  I liked that they were perfect when you need a meal in a flash.  The final cost was great too.  This entire meal was under $5 for everything.  
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