Kindergarten Room Mom: Halloween

So I found out 2 weeks before Halloween that I was going to be Room Mom. No one had volunteered for it… and you know…. Yeah…. YOU KNOW.

My daughter’s teacher liked his holiday events more like activity stations that the kids can rotate through. I thought it was a great idea too, because then the kids have lots to do, and its not all about eating sweets. So with 2 weeks to pull it together, I combed Pinterest for about 6 activities related to Halloween that would be engaging and cover an array of areas (art, fine motor, science, etc). Here’s what I ended up with:

Food Activity: Spiders and Monster Mouths

I choose these in an effort to avoid cookie decorating. I figured the oreo and the marshmellows would be offset by pretzels and apples.

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Spider Web Lacing: For some fine motor skills!

Original Pinterest link here.


Science: Fizzy Eyeballs

I wasn’t able to find plastic eyeballs as the original I found on Pinterest. But I did already have these glow in the dark bouncy balls that I had from a previous projects. They were perfect because the kids were excited to be able to keep their ball afterwards.  We did them in individual plastic cups to contain the mess. And the kids were able to select from various colored “potions” to drop on their eyeballs.  See original Pinterest link here.

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We also did a fine motor activity adapted from this Pin I found. We used chopsticks instead and had the kids pick the spiders up with them and sort them into cups.

Lastly, we did some scissor skills by having them make pumpkins from this Pin here.

Get in gear! Let’s have a Robot Party!


Since I did a fairy themed party when my daughter turned 3… that meant it was my one opportunity to do a boy-themed party… whoohooo! Robot it was! For the centerpieces, I found these Valentine Boxes from Oriental Trading – which of course I bought after V-day for much cheaper. Came in a dozen, I only used 5 though. But they were super cute and easy to put together with adhesive foam. I put a small vase inside to weight it down and with a styrofoam piece inside the vase, I was able to make the toppers.


I saw a robot from cardboard on Pinterest and thought… I could do that! The hardest part was finding all the pieces. More details on how this robot came to life here.


A party is not a party without a watermelon carving! Saw this idea on Pinterest as well. 🙂


We were hoping for a transformer pinata… but couldn’t find one… so Iron mad had to do!


The bakery from Ranch Events did an amazing job as usual!



For the crafts, I couldn’t resist these adorable little ceramic robot piggy banks! 12 for $20. I bought a set of Owls for any girls who didn’t want to paint a Robot. The kids enjoyed it.. but I think adults had more fun with them!



Lastly, our lovely photobooth, designed by Snapshots Moments. Check out how I put together the backdrop here.

Party time: All things Disney


For my daughter’s 5th birthday, we went for a “Disney” theme. It was good timing as she now has gone to Disneyland many times and familiar with all the stories and characters. Having a Disney theme was definitely due to come! Oh and I had so much planning this one!  Let’s go over the details:

Centerpieces: I found lots of versions on Pinterest and went for a pretty simple one. Went into detail about it on the blog here.


I was able to find a HUGE lantern on Oriental Trading on clearance for $5. Didn’t realize how big it was until it arrived. But my dad was able to rig some ears to it out of a foam board, lots of tape, spray paint. It turned out pretty good. Could also be used for a Deadmau5 party for sure! 🙂


For the fruit display, my mom carved Mickey into a watermelon and also used cookie cutters to skewer some as well.


Cake: Again, we got our favorite marble and bavarian creme with fresh strawberries from Renaissance Bakery (Ranch Events Catering). Went for a simple Minnie Mouse patterned design with the ears and bow on top.


We had our usual photobooth set- up with template designed by Snapshots Photobooth. The kids and adults always love the photobooth.


For the goodie bags, I had one of my friends who is a passholder and lives in Anaheim, collect the “I’m celebrating” buttons for me for a couple months leading up to the party. So each bag got an authentic button from Disneyland. The girls got Minnie ear headbands that got for $1 a piece in the LA Fashion District, and the boys had gotten a Cars glider that I got for $1 a piece at Target’s after-Easter clearance. What else was in those bags…. crayons from Target’s after-Halloween sale, and little playing cards as well.


More on the pinata from previous blog post here. It was HUGE! $13 in Tijuana baby!


Lastly, I put several of the costumes myself and blogged about it here. All except for Mike from Monsters, Inc. – which was actually a children’s costume that I got on eBay for $17 and then sewed to a $3 t-shirt from Michaels. It was to match my son’s Sully costume which I got half off the day after Halloween at Target last year (always think ahead!)

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My new favorite Pinata filler! Knobby Balls!

This year, my nanny was able to head down to Tijuana and pick up this HUGE, and I mean, HUGE pinata for only $13. It looked amazing, but then I thought… crap. what am I going to fill it up with!?!?

I always high up the after Easter sale at Target to pick up the candy for my kids’ parties (stock up for May and July no prob). But I thought this year, it would be good to do a larger filler for the pinata. I saw these balls filled up with a pinata before at a local store…. so I went on eBay and found a listing for 50 of these 4.5 inch “knobby” balls for $19.99! Had to pay $10 shipping… but still!



Got a foot pump at our local Ace Hardware store for $10. Which I could probably use in long run for other things anyways.

It was total success! For a bunch of kids 6 and under… they were totally happy with all the balls that came bouncing out of the pinata unexpectedly.

Definitely going to do that one again!

Check out pix of my lil guy helping to fill the pinata. Heehee.



Minnie Mouse Centerpiece


For this year’s Disney themed birthday party, I saw some really cool Minnie/Mickey Mouse Centerpieces on Pinterest that I could definitely recreate. Armed with my Michaels coupons, I loaded up on all the supplies and it turned out great! Not hard to compile at all. Here’s how it went:


I used 5″ Styrofoam balls for the head and 3″ for the ears. Stuck them on some skewers before I inhaled a ton of spray paint 🙂



For the Styrofoam holding the bottom I just loaded up on what they had at Dollar Tree. I also lucked out and picked up the yellow pails on sale at 40% from Michaels so they came out to $3.12 a piece.


These number 5 ‘ s  were from Michaels and basically unfinished chipboard pieces at $.79 a piece. I used some regular acrylic paint on the first coat followed by a glitter red coat.


Assembled the heads… I used a thicker dowel to hold up the head for the actual centerpiece. Had spray painted it black when I did the balls.


Got ribbon on sale. Made sure to get the wired kind so that it would be easier to shape into a nice bow. Glued them to toothpicks.


The yellow stars were also chipboard pieces from Michaels. They were already yellow so that was a bonus.  Glued the stars and the 5 ‘ s to skewers. Then bought a red paint pen to write my daughter’s name on the star. This totally could have been done with a thick sharpie or glitter glue.


For the final touches…. I got some tissue paper to hide the Styrofoam bottom. I actually put sand on the bottom as well to give it some weight.


There you have it!!!

P.s. I’m saving all these pieces (minus the star and bow) so I can reuse them in 2 years when my son has his 5th birthday party Disney themed.

Peeps on a stick.


Thank you Pinterest for showing us that everything sweet is good on a stick! So…. I guess we could also call these “Peep Pops”? Hahhaa. Call it what you want… but they are simple to put together and that’s what I was looking for this week for my daughter’s Easter Party class treats.



I got the peeps at a good time too. Rite Aid sold them at buy 1, get 1. So I only paid $1.99 for the two dozen packs. Perfect since I needed 24 anyways. Combined that with some supplies from Michaels and basic address labels that I printed off my computer.


Then I sat down to watch a show on my DVR while I put everything together. Not bad!


New Years Eve – Family Style

I remember all those New Years Eve nights when I got dressed up in sequins… hair did… makeup did… and looking all fabulous for a night of nonstop dancing and celebrating. *sigh* Ok. I might still have another couple of those years left in me. BUT – I do have to admit that as my kids get a little older, I will definitely want to share in this holiday with them as well. They are still young and midnight is beyond their bedtime… but in due time, they will get the exception to stay up and party it up with me – family style.

In the meantime, I’m finding some wonderful ideas floating around on Pinterest, so I’m compiling a list here:

** New Year’s Evening countdown. I am obsessed with what this momma did for her kids. SOOO fun. In fact, put an adult twist on the activities inside the balloons and this could be something my friends and I could enjoy now. hehe. Many of her individual ideas are already great on their own, but to stack them all into a countdown throughout the night?? Genius! There’s also another similar and cute concept for this using countdown bags.

UPDATE: Elena over at Craftibilities posted her most recent NYE celebration countdown with some new ideas, including a fun photobooth!

** New Year’s Resolution Statements. Free Printable from 30 Handmade Days. I love this idea and its a great keepsake for the kids to look back on as they get older.

** Year in Review. Free Printable from Dating Divas – including one with blank year. Originally an idea for couples, but this is super cute for older kids and another great keepsake. This can totally turn into a wonderful lifetime scrapbook.  There are other similar concepts for this to check out… free printable versions of Time Capsule Questions and Celebrating the Year.

**Kid-Friendly Bubbly. Bubbly Jell-o Parfait Recipe from Spoonful. These just totally look festive and yummy at the same time!

** New Year’s Eve Hat Making. These are adorable. And if I ever do a kiddie NYE party – we are totally doing a photobooth with a fun backdrop like that!

** NYE Playdate Party. Why not let your kids invite a couple friends over to join in on the festivities? Could totally do the countdown activities as a group. Then you can also have some other fellow adults to celebrate as well. A win-win fun situation. Here are some ideas for some kid’s NYE party food. Don’t forget to do a balloon drop! Yes!!!! And a New Year’s Eve Ball Drop too! Yes!!!!

** NYE Movie Night. This can include doing it pajama style and with some fun refreshments.  My little ones are watching Rudolph’s Shiny New Year since they are really young. Since its still so close to the Xmas holiday – you can still get away with watching a movie from this list of Holiday Movies for Kids.

For my local San Diegans… Here’s a list of family-friendly NYE events around town for celebrating. It includes the Pajama Jam that I had posted about not too long ago. I soooo want to do that next year!

Whatever you decide to do to celebrate, I hope you enjoy yourself! Happy soon-to-be 2014!

Our Mega Cousin Reunion

I love planning in general already…. so of course I welcome excuses to plan any type event!

There are a total of 13 cousins on my mom’s side – 10 of which were born consecutively one year after the other. So growing up, it was fun! I would say we have remained fairly close into our adult years, trying to get together when we can. I kinda nominated myself as the “Cousin Social Committee” and make sure that when someone is in town, we try to make an effort to get together. Well… when our furthest living cousin (London) was planning a trip to visit So Cal last summer, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to plan a Mega Cousin Reunion. The challenge: getting ALL 13 of us together. A photo with all of us had not been taken since 2000. Seriously. We were always missing someone! So it had been 12 years since we were ALL present and accounted for.

Anyhow… with some dates on hand and several emails and headcounts… it looked like we were going to make this happen! YIPPEE! And… even better… it landed on the weekend of our grandmother’s 82nd birthday…. so we added on inviting her as a surprise! She had NO CLUE that we were all going to be there. The photo of her with ALL the grandchildren was priceless.



Outside of deciding on a date and getting everyone there…. I had this vision of what the logo for our event would be. When we were kids, we used to gather at my grandparent’s house every summer and in the backyard was always this old metal Radio Flyer wagon. We’d take turns pulling each other around in it. So it was the perfect iconic logo to use. I had a friend photoshop the title of the event into the logo and it looked perfect!!!!  For our shirt printing, I ended up going with UberPrints.  They were fantastic! The pricing was very reasonable, information on the website was clear, lots of different shirt/color options and the ordering process was very easy. For the backside of our shirts, one of my cousins and I came up with the brilliant idea of using the Words with Friends board and intertwining all of our names on there – including spouses. It was actually kinda fun to try and fit all the names in. Only took me 3 tries. Love how “cousins” is exactly the 7 letters needed for the letter board at the bottom. Look closely on the board and you will see two special tiles that my cousin and I hid on there in order to claim our work (ML and KT).


I had shirts made for the little ones too.




I also had a vision for doing a cupcake cake resembling the logo for the event. It turned out pretty good. However, with the heat in August, some of the frosting started to fall through the gaps later on. Boo!

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Of course… I’m all about presentation. So I combed the internet for some reasonably priced frames and then took the logo and put in each person’s name so they had their own custom version of the logo in a photo print, a frame to put our updated cousin photo in later… and tied the shirts to the back. Damn I’m good. For the Second-Gen (the little kids aka mine and some of my cousin’s kids) we got little beach buckets with all sorts of fun goodies.


The swag table looked good!


I thought it would be cool to do a big collage of us through the years. I mean… its been 35+ years of cousins in the making. Pulling the pictures weren’t hard because we try to get group photos at least yearly from some holiday or event. The hardest part was trying to fit them all into the poster board I bought! But it worked out! My grandma now has it framed and hung in her house.


Here we are! My grandma with EVERYONE! All 13 of her grandchildren accounted for, plus spouses, plus 6 great-grandchildren. Whew!


And this was the photo we’ve all been waiting for! YAY! All 13 of us! Finally!


The second generation kiddos. My grandma is a happy great-grandma now!


We always like some friendly competition…. so we ended the day with a little team relay. One of my cousins found some good ones for us… including this tennis ball in the panty hose one. hahaha. Funnier to watch than do!



I wanted to close with a throwback of our Year 2000 Cousin photo. Crazy. 12 years between us all getting together! In this photo, our two youngest cousins weren’t even born yet! Sniff… this was back when there were only 11 of us. Wow.

I’m not sure when the next Mega Cousin Reunion will be, I’m hoping maybe 2014. But I’m happiest that we were able to accomplish this at a time where my grandma was able to attend, be surprised for her birthday, and enjoyed a new fun memory with all of us.

Simple Hot Apple Cider Bar

Yesterday we had a Holiday Dessert Potluck at work. When I saw the sign up sheet I saw an endless list of sweets so I thought it would be a nice addition to go the holiday beverage route.

After combing Pinterest at hot apple cider recipes via slow cooker….I opted for something a little more low maintenance since I was short on time. Saw this pin for a hot apple cider bar and I was sold.


I got pretty much everything I needed right at the grocery store. Easy to find yummy store – bought cider around this time of year as well (got my big jug for $5!). I found the Caramel Bits where the cooking chocolates were. I actually liked it better than full caramel candies since the bits were small and melted faster in the hot drink. I also opted not to put out the rosemary after I had bought it… just kept it with three main toppings. I loved the insulated cups I found. Pack of 20 for $3.99.

Fortunately, I had this nifty Rubios serving tray from some other catering purchase.  It was perfect to separate the toppings and my cups also fit right in the center.

I found the printable food tents here.

Once I got to work, I dumped the cider in my crockpot and turned it up high. It took a while to get to the right temperature ( even though I had already had it plugged in at home empty so it would have a head start on being hot during the commute).

It was a total hit! Everyone enjoyed it. The presentation of it was simple but cute. The office smelled delightful. And amongst all the cookies and cakes… my hot apple cider bar definitely stood out. This will definitely be a repeat holiday potluck menu item!