Monday, November 15, 2010

Wizard of Oz Child's Birthday Party

Last year, Gabrielle turned 5 on November 29th and she really wanted a Wizard of Oz birthday party. She was Dorothy for Halloween and wanted her party to be the same theme. She wore her costume for the party and I dressed up as a scarecrow. I looked online for some party ideas for this theme, but there just wasn't much out there. So, I sat down and thought about it and came up with the perfect party idea! The kids will follow the Yellow Brick Road to earn a heart, brain, home and courage - just like in the movie!!!! I set up different stations/games around the house and at each one, the kids had to earn one of the things. To save money, I made most of the stuff on my own. This is what I did:

For "courage", like the Lion earned, I got plain badges at the craft store and wrote "courage" on them and spruced them up a little bit. At this station, the kids earned their "courage" by melting the witch. I had witch hats on the floor and put blocks of wood in them so the hat stood up and the kids had to throw rings around the hat to melt the witch. When they did this, their "Badge of Courage" was pinned to their shirts.

For the "heart", like Tin Man earned, I made big red hearts out of craft foam sheets. I then punched holes at the top so I could string red yard through it so they could hang around their necks, just like it happened to The Tin Man in the movie. He also had a clock on his heart so, I printed off the face of a clock and glued it on the middle of the red hearts. To earn the "heart", the kids had to stick 30 heart stickers around popsicle stick frames. (I used these frames to put a picture of the kids in for them to take home).

For the "brain", like the scarecrow earned, I made diplomas on the computer and rolled them up with some ribbon. Each one said: (Child's name) has successfully earned his/her "brain" on the Yellow Brick Road Journey at Gabrielle's 5th Birthday Party on (date). To earn their brain, they had a Wizard of Oz maze worksheet to do and they also had to guess how many Skittles were in a jar. I used Skittles because of the rainbow colors. (The winner got to take home the Skittles too).

For "home" like Dorothy wanted in the movie, this was the end of the party when it was time to go home. They got to take all their loot and things they earned back home with them.

I had some left over Halloween witch costume "stuff" (green nose, broom, hat, etc.) that I hid around the house. The kids had to be careful not to get caught by the witch, but when they saw "witch stuff" they needed to look around for a clue that would lead them to their next stop on the Yellow Brick Road.

I made her cake. I looked online for little figurines to put on her cake, but they were expensive so I printed off pictures of the characters online, laminated them and then glued them to a toothpick to stick in the cake. I frosted the entire cake green and then I used yellow fondant to create a yellow brick road. I used a toothpick to make the brick pattern in the fondant. I put little pink flowers around the rest of the cake for the flowers they fell asleep at in the movie.

I used yellow plastic tablecloths to make a yellow brick road all over the house. I taped them to the floor and drew a brick pattern on them with a black permanent marker. I also used every color of the rainbow in streamers to make a rainbow in the archway between the living room and dining room. This was my daughter's favorite thing! She loved it.

For the party favors, I got little baskets for each child. They carried these on their Yellow Brick Road journey and also to put all their goodies in from the party.

This party was a huge success and one that really stuck to the theme. I hope this helps you plan your little one's Wizard of Oz party! Happy Partying!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sam the Elf - My Knight and Shining Armor!

I don't know if you have gotten the "Elf on the Shelf" for your children or not, but it is one of the cutest little investments we have made for our family. The North Pole sent us our elf last year and we named him Sam. Each year, he comes to our house before Christmas to watch and see how the kids are doing. Every night, he flys back to the North Pole and reports to Santa all the good and the bad of that day. He then returns back to our house and sits in a different spot. Each morning, the first thing the kids do when they wake up is try and find where Sam is at.

Today was Sam's first day back for the season and guess what happened? Landen was helping Gabrielle with everything she needed. Gabrielle wanted Landen to play with her in her room. Landen got Gabrielle's toothbrush all ready for her. Gabrielle made a picture for Landen. The kids started making cards for Sam. They wanted me to make him a plate for dinner. We even went to Target and Landen asked if he could get Sam something! All of this, and I didn't even ask for it!!! Thank you, Sam!

I am telling you, if you have not made this investment, you should seriously consider it. When the season gets a little hectic and crazy and your kids are driving you nuts about anything and everything, pull out your elf and watch the changes instantly! Our Sam is my knight and shining armor each year! He brings a lot of love, peace and joy to our house and the kids absolutely fall head over heels for this little magical guy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Functional Art - Turn Your Child's Art into Refrigerator Magnets!

One thing I love to do with some of the smaller art projects and pictures that my kids make is to glue a magnet on the back of them and use them as refrigerator magnets! It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the little projects they do and there is never enough storage to keep them all and throwing them out carries too much guilt so I thought: "Why not turn what I can into something I can use"! You can always change them out easily when new projects arrive (just tear the magnet off the old one and put it on the new project). My kids love seeing their creations displayed this way because it is out where anyone visiting can see it!

Coupons For Your Favorite Products

I am a huge saver! One thing I always do to save at the grocery store, is to cut coupons. I get coupons online and also in the paper, but a lot of times, they don't have coupons for my favorite brands! One thing I have learned is that when I email these companies and tell them that I love their product, and also love to save money, but that I never see any coupons or other offers for them, they will send me coupons in the mail! Score! They are usually great coupons too. So, if you are like me; like to save, have certain brands you love to use and buy, but are having a hard time finding coupons or offers, take some time to shoot them an email and see what they send you in the mail!! Make sure to include your name and address in the email.

I would love to hear what shows up in your mailbox when you try this!

Halloween Word Find

My son is in first grade and he has been bringing home word finds that he has done and he also has spelling tests every week. When I was asked to come up with some games for his classroom Halloween party, one of them that I thought would be fun, and appropriate, was a "Halloween Word Find". I used my Cricut to cut out the letters to "Happy Halloween". I glued them onto square sheets of paper. I laminated them as well so they would hold up and could be used over and over. When I got to the classroom, I hid these square, letter cards all around the room. The kids had to find all the letters and work together to put the "saying" together. Out of all the games we played, this was the most popular. Kids love to find things and then it was even fun to work as a team to get the words together. They were all sounding out the letters and working together to get the task done. They asked if we could do it again after they finished it. This game could be adapted to any party, any theme, any holiday! Have fun!

Witches Hat Project

My 4 year old daughter and I were home one October morning and she wanted to do a project, but I didn't have anything planned so I decided to take a look through the recycling bin and see what we could come up with. I had some really thin cardboard-like paper in there so we put it to use. With the first piece of paper, I rolled it to make a cone and then had her paint that black. Next, I cut a ring out of the other one to fit the base of the cone. I had her paint the ring black as well. When they were dry, I set the cone inside the ring and piped some hot glue to hold them together. On top of the hot glue, I wrapped pipe cleaners around it so it kind of "disguised" the seam. We went through our foam stickers and we found some ones that would look perfect on the witches hat. It turned out so cute. She was really proud of it. She wanted to wear it, but it wasn't big enough so when we make one again next year, I will be sure to make it big enough to fit her head. We used the witch hat as a centerpiece at our Halloween party and I also used it for one of the games. I made rings out of pipe cleaners and the kids had to try and throw the ring on to the cone of the hat! They loved it! Our "spur of the moment" project turned out to be one of the better ones we have ever done! Cheap too! : )