Thursday, August 21, 2014

ABC potluck: Our Preschool social

In an effort for the families of our preschool classes to get to know each other better, two families hosted a potluck social. We (the moms) found no ideas for this type of party online so I guess it isn't a popular thing. We decided to go with an alphabet theme since the kids worked so hard during the year to learn their letters, how to write them, and to start making words. We had letter pages to color and fishing for magnetic letters.  And then we just let the kids play so the parents could chat and get to know each other.

Each student in the class was given a letter and were encouraged to bring something to share which either started with that letter or bring something in the shape of that letter.  Here are a few of the creative items.

Fourth of July Party

We hosted a Fourth of July party this year. The main food was crawfish with corn and potatoes, fried fish and shrimp cocktail. But I got to add the desserts in color schemes. I had two in mind that I could do in the proper color scheme.

I made this recipe and topped with with strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows.

I also made a pho molten cake using my pampered chef rice cooker. So easy, mix the cake, dump some icing in there, and cook in microwave for 11 minutes and done. And it doesn't taste mushy like most microwave cakes, even though oven baked is still the best. I should have made my icing a darker blue, but I was happy with it. I used strawberries to add the red. I thought about using blue and red icing but wasn't sure if it would just turn out purple.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Up, Up, and Away First Birthday Party

The year seemed to fly by and I wanted to keep the party pretty simple, so we just did a balloon party.  The balloon had the party details when it was inflated.  And none of the words were all that special.
"This year blew by.
Come celebrate the adventure with us!"

The food table was just fajitas with all the fixings, nothing real special or creative.  The kids drinks had frozen water balloons in addition to the ice.  Several actually torn after froze I guess.  When I was putting them in the drink tub, the balloons were torn which kind of made a balloon mess when it all melted and we did not get to use the water balloons like in a perfect world.

The birthday boy had a little smash cake, but the rest of us had jello parfaits (yum). It was just blue jello cubed and layered with whipping cream.  I made the cream fresh because I was not sure how cool whip would work after it was not frozen for a while.

It was a very windy day so the favors did not work all that well.  They were supposed to look more like hot air balloon baskets than they actually did at the party.  Some of the balloons popped on the bricks and we actually had one of the baskets go missing to find it in a neighbor's yard the next day (haha).  The baskets included pencils with balloons on them, punch balloons, a globe pencil sharpener, and little lights which fit onto the fingers.  The lights were not a good idea.  I did not know how easily they come apart.  They are fun but any young kid will put them in their mouth and pieces would be missing.

Color with Me - a paint and crayon birthday party

My daughter could last for hours coloring anything with all kinds of colors so we celebrated that for her birthday. The invitation says:
There will be markers and crayons and gloss
and paint and chalk, and even a sponge toss.
We will be outside unless there's rain,
and please wear clothing that you can stain.
(for parents too if you like to play with the kiddos)

We put out tables with coloring sheets with the option of using crayons or colored pencils or markers. We stapled a long white sheet of paper to the fence to let the kids use finger paints or the painting dot markers to color. We also had long sheets of paper for the tables in case a kid wanted to make a mural of their own to take home :) We had out the color chalk bucket which gets used on all surfaces outside daily at our house. 

We had a sponge fight with colored water. We used the bath drop colors to color the water because I had read food coloring could stain. We had wax crayons with wet sponges and a mirror for face painting. There was also some hair chalk too but all of the kids who were able to make the party were too young for that. 
We had color bubbles if the kids wanted to blow bubbles.  Those are very messy which made them extra fun for some of the kids.. Even the water tables, which was the only water toys out, had colored water in them.

The food table had colored slushies on it. I used this recipe. I used only 1t of the coloring for the mint, coconut, strawberry and orange since I thought the 1-1/2t made those too strong. The bottles were titled in a slightly different way so it might be due to the pure vs artificial flavoring. 

The other food was just hotdogs with chips and veggie & fruit/cheese tray. There was also plenty of water because it gets hot here! For dessert, instead of the traditional cupcakes, we had Rice Krispie treats. I traded out a 1/3 of the Rice Krispies for Trix to add color. The kids sang happy birthday, then got to decorate their own treat with writing icing. It made for some messy treats and then some did not get eaten, but they had fun make the art.

The favors were all in different colored totes.  Each included crayons with coloring papers, colored glitter glue, a set of watercolors, and a bath color (either bath paint, bath crayons, or bath drops).  Hopefully it will all get used up by each kid.

The parents also got a favor.  They were told in the invitation to wear clothing that might stain, but since most of it was all washable, we gave them a chance to save the clothing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Egg Shell Cakes

I saw these egg shell cakes and wanted to make them for Easter.  Here was my try.  The cake was just box cake.  It was pretty easy, but very time consuming to get the eggs out of the shells.  My holes were some thing like a 1/4" wide.  I decided to save the egg to use for breakfast so I had to keep eggshell out of them.  It helped to kind of shake the egg in order to get it out, and much easier once the yoke broke.
(My young daughters had decorated the shells before I took the eggs out, which was crazy itself because I was very nervous about the girls breaking the shells.)

Then I mixed the batter and piped it into the greased shell.  The greasing was just spraying cooking oil into it, and knowing it would be enough coverage.  I did open the hole in the shell up a bit more for piping.  It was very difficult to tell when 2/3 of the shell was full.  I am think more like 1/2 should be full in this case.  It was easy to take the batter off the outside of the shell, but it ruined any of the decoration on the outside.

Then I decided to just break off a bit more of the shell to help people to eat them and top with whipped cream.  It was a lot of work to make, and a lot of work in order to eat.  I would not make them again unless there was a very special occasion which called for these very cute cakes.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Teacher & Staff Appreciation 2014

So I did something for the staff on Teacher Appreciation Day because I know they work just as hard as the teachers, just in a different way.  They got a wrapped candy bar with this cute printable I had found.  I think I cut and pasted to super resize for my candy bars.  I also did a different large bar and the original size wrap was perfect.  And I also gave a funny moving critter in hopes they can add humor to a stressful day.

Then we have swim teachers so they got a fish bottle filled with goldfish puffs.  I found some bottles I liked but ended up not being shipped because they were out of stock.  Then I found some other ones which arrived broken and were returned.  The third time was a charm and I dare say the better looking bottles!  The tag was a printable I found here.

And there are some dance teachers as well so they got some shiny totes with candy thrown in there.  I've actually only met the instructor once since the class is during school hours before pick up time and I haven't been thrilled with her correspondence so I did not want to work too hard for her appreciation gift but still felt the need to give one.
The next pictures are of the little goodies left in the teacher lounge at the school.  I was not sure at all if the Parent-Teacher group was planning on doing anything for the teachers so I wanted to make sure they got something each day.  The first day was something I had around.  Then we did fish goodies, cookies, and finally nuts.  The last day of the week I knew they would be getting something along with all of the moms.  The tag on the fish was a printable I found here.  The other two I just made.

Teacher Appreciation 2014

Monday: cookie cutters.  The label was a simple one I made and reads "Thank you for cutting this cookie into one awesome student."
Tuesday: oven mitt with goodies.  I did not find a printable I liked so I made one up really quick saying the same thing as all the others, "I have to ad-MITT, you're a great teacher."  The mitts include a matching oven pad, a knife, scissors, a funnel, and a silicone baking sheet.  More stuff for home than for school but could possibly be used in either place.

Wednesday: spice jar filled with gum balls. I found the printable tag here.  I couldn't decide what spice to put in the jars so I went with gum balls instead and it worked out okay.

Thursday: flower pots.  The flower pots are just as they come in the store because the ones I wanted to use were not large enough for the plants I ended up using.  I also tied gloves on to the pot and added some rubber flowers which are actually wine glass markers.  The tags are a printable I found here, with an extra phrased added to the back.  The back says, "Teachers plant the seed of knowledge that will grow forever."  That is really what I wanted the tag to say but could not find anything I really liked so I used the printable I found and added to it.

Friday: candy in a bowl.  The bowl is bamboo and I hope the teachers will find it useful at home.  There are several different candies inside.  Nerds: Thanks for making a nerd out of me. Three different fun size M&M's together: M&M (many & many) thanks for all that you do. Reese's: There are a million Reese's why you are a great teacher.  York Peppermint Patty: I mint to tell you how much I appreciate you.  Almond Joy: It is a joy having you as a teacher.  Mounds: I had mounds of fun this year.  100 Grand: You are worth a 100 Grand.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Reward Chart

Our 4yo has been needing something for rewards because she has great days and then she has days where we are repeating ourselves like a million times for each request.  And I am just looking for some new discipline/"good job" for her to change it up a bit.  I got everything from Micheal's after just walking around the store a bit.  I painted and then hot glued.  The hot glue was not too pretty, especially for the small letters I used for the names, but it got the job done.  And since I had helpers it did not end up being completely straight either.  I was so impressed with all the easy magnet and wall putty that I found.  Things are really getting easier.

It is all wood parts that I painted.  The borders for each kid's area is craft tape.  The magnets came in those sizes and then I cut a long strip of magnet to stick to the backs of the stars.  All of the magnets came with adhesive backing.

The kids have already started playing with the stars.  We will have to hang it up and let them play with the stars only when told to.

Dinner Menu

I'm not great at meal planning for a week, so I have been hoping that if I make something crafty that needs to be used then I will use it.  I got everything at Micheal's after just walking around the store.  I painted and then hot glued.  Hot glue is not the cleanest looking, but it worked.

The frame/backing and the letters are wood parts that I painted. I bought a pack of clothespins already painted and labeled with the days of the week.

It will quickly get hung in the kitchen and I will start filling out paper with what we currently eat for a planned dinner.  So now my husband will hopefully stop asking (or at least I will have an answer).

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Mini Princess Cakes

So these were harder than I imagined, but still turned out cute enough for the ones eating them.  The idea started with the barbie in the bundt cake.  I saw a mini bundt cake pan and thought they would work great for a princess party.  Then I saw the little disney princess figurines and hoped I could make the cakes around them.  Some of them would definitely look odd, but I did not think the girls would care too much.  So here I go....

I made the bundt cakes, filling up the pan just like a normal cup cake.  For most of the princesses, I only cut the cakes in half and then hollowed out the middle.  I then used icing and stuck the modified cakes onto the washed figurine.

I did not worry about some gap since I could fill those up with icing later.

Other than my icing skills not be great, and a bit rushed, it was easy to ice the cakes to look like ruffles on a dress.  To make it easier on me, I just used the same color for all of the figuring skirts.  

Some tips which are probably known to folks that do this kind of thing, but not to me, the bundt cakes I had made a few days prior were easier to stick to the princess.  Also, the ones which I used only two halves worked best at staying together.  Some of the princesses were odd shape and some were really full skirts already, so I had to either cut more than in half or use more than a single cake to wrap around them.

Princess Tea Party

So we had a princess tea party this year.  It was a girl party which cut down on the amount of little people in our house and also meant we might have room to move around.  

We had tiaras for all the girls to put on and extra dresses if someone did not come with one.  

Then we did some fan painting.  The idea was going to be a little different or I would have put some glitter out to add to the fans.

The food was just simple food that might be tea party-ish but kids will eat, fruit, veggies, ranch and hummus, turkey and cheese roll-ups, and some sausage kolaches cut for bit size.  And then instead of tea we had hot chocolate out of tea pots and drank from tea cups.

 The girls each got their own cake, and figurine to take home.  Look here for tips on the cake.  The good bags also included a princess pez, a ring, princess duck, and one additional princess item different in each bag.