It’s not quite spring but already we’re beginning to spot some new guests in our backyard. Watching birds is becoming a bit of a hobby around here, and over the past weekend, we even spotted a red-tailed hawk. In addition to being on the look-out for birds, I’ve also been scouting options for modern bird houses and feeders for our yard. I just purchased this wooden bird feeder and, even though the birds haven’t discovered it yet, I love the new view just outside my office window.
Here are a few others on my wish list:
High: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
Low: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
Just a few more boxes to go and then I can finally call this year’s Valentines complete. Jason is obsessed with Minecraft, so he’s pretty excited about handing out these little treasure boxes to his classmates. I used this template from PiX FiZ and filled the boxes with red tissue paper and gold half-dollar coins.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Yesterday, I finished making Jenna’s Valentine’s for her classroom party. I love the idea of giving flower seed packets instead of candy, so I was pretty excited about these. Jenna also seemed pretty happy with these little boxes, until she saw the Valentine’s I’m making for her brother. More on that later this week when I get done cutting, folding, gluing and filling 21 paper Minecraft treasure boxes.
It was an action-packed weekend, with highlights including a Blue Man Group performance, an afternoon at the ceramics studio and a visit from grandma and grandpa. Here are my favorite pics from the weekend:
I signed up to bring gifts for the goody bags for my son’s Christmas party this year. I’m not a big fan of bags full of plastic toys, and I think most readers of this site know my policy on candy containing artificial dyes, so I mostly signed up for this task to provide an alternative to the usual goody bag fare.
As I walked the aisles of Target, I realized that non-plastic, non-candy goodies weren’t so easy to come by. But eventually the idea of creating a “Santa Disguise Kit” popped into my mind, and I set out to find materials for creating a santa beard.
These were super easy and inexpensive to make. Here are the materials I used:
The stretchy string was purchased at Michaels but everything else can be found at the grocery store. If you don’t have a hole punch, you can make a small incision with scissors to thread the string through.
Here are the steps to create the beards:
I cut out the top section of the plate and then folded it in half to cut out the mouth shape. Next, I used the paper punch to cut small circles into each side of the beard and threaded the string though the holes, tying each end in a knot. I applied glue to the paper plate in sections and stretched each cotton ball a bit before gluing it to the plate.
Once the beards were complete, I packaged them up in lunch-sized bags and attached some instructions for playing “secret santa” at home.
Oh, and I also asked Jenna to model my design. She is one serious secret Santa:
Decorating gingerbread houses has become one of our favorite holiday traditions, and this year we went all out, building a little gingerbread village. Here are a few pics of our sweet handiwork:
We had A TON of candy leftover from Halloween. This was our first Halloween in our new house, and we had no idea that only one group of kids would ring our doorbell for candy. Two weeks later and we still have bags of candy in our cupboards. So when I was assembling a s’mores bar for a party we had this weekend, an idea hit me: candybar s’mores! The mini Hershey’s bars are obviously perfect for this, but I also added peanut butter cups, Crunch bars and Kit Kats.
I completely failed to take any pictures at our party, but here are a few pre-party shots of the set-up. I think the Reese’s peanut butter cups were the party favorite. We’ll definitely be trying this again … especially since we still haven’t eaten all of our candy.
This weekend, we celebrated Jason’s 7th birthday with his friends at Legoland Discovery Center, probably one of his favorite places in the whole world. I love throwing birthday parties for Jason and Jenna, but this one was almost entirely handled by the nice people of Lego. In fact, both my husband and I had trouble leaving the house because we felt like we were forgetting something. This was by far the easiest of all of our kids’ birthday parties so far, and while I miss the fun of planning and creating, I also know that Jason could not have been happier with his party.
My only two additions to an otherwise ‘store-bought’ party were the very cute Lego-themed invitations from Tiny Prints and the party favors.
For the favors, I ordered a Lego stamp and created Lego-themed notebooks and carrying cases to hold the notebooks and a few other goodies. I’m not a big fan of giving (or receiving) favors that will just be thrown away, so I usually try to create something with a longer shelf life. Jason and Jenna are always packing up cases, bags and other containers with toys to take on the go, so when I saw these little suitcases at Target, I knew they’d be a perfect favor box.
The cake was provided by Legoland and Jason wasn’t too pleased when I wiped all of the dye-filled frosting off his piece. Sorry, Jason.
Our friend Dustin’s handmade gift-wrap has become a tradition at Jason’s birthdays, and this year’s design didn’t disappoint.
Happy Birthday, Jason!
One of the things that continues to amaze me about my kids is how they integrate seemingly unrelated elements into their games. At times it’s intentional – like when Jason told Jenna that they could play Star Wars birthday party in order to combine his interests (Star Wars) with hers (parties and cupcakes). Other times it’s seems more natural, like when Minions, Angry Birds and other characters inhabit Lego structures and drive Lego vehicles. My favorite combinations are those that involve the interpretation of a digital game in a non-digital format – like when Jason was grounded from the iPad and decided to make his own tablet … out of Legos.
Seeing their imaginations at work is pretty awesome, and every once in awhile, I like to attempt a toy mash-up of my own. So this Halloween, I converted Jenna’s dollhouse into a haunted house using toys and crafting supplies I had on hand. Jenna was pretty excited when she came home from school to find her dollhouse had been taken over by evil spirits. But she also requested that as soon as Halloween is over, we decorate her dollhouse for Christmas. Oh dear.