Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A "Super" Birthday

      My daughter will be 5 years old in an hour and five minutes.  The school-age years are upon me, and I don't know what I'm going to do.  My little girl is getting so big, and there's nothing I can do about it but enjoy it.  To celebrate, Monkey requested a superhero party.  Okay, that's not entirely true.  She wanted a Captain America party.  Then she wanted a Hulk party.  Next it was a Spiderman party.  Finally I said that we were having a superhero party, and that was that.  I'm not going to lie, I phoned it in a bit this year.  I had someone else made the cake.  *gasp*  I know!  What can I say?  Nursing school is time-consuming, but I did manage to make a few odds and ends to fit the theme.

     First and foremost were the invitations.  I took a few shots of Monkey in her Spider-Man top (from Gap) and her homemade tutu (for a tutorial, click here) perched in the tree in our back yard.  Then I headed over to Shutterfly to do the rest, and this is what I came up with:

     Next I started off the decorations by keeping it simple.  I found out (through Pinterest, of course) that fake tattoos can be used on plastic or glass.  So I decided to use that idea to decorate the cups for the party.  All you have to do is follow the instructions like you would for skin, and the tattoos will stick to the plastic the same way.

     I'm a fan of simple these days, and what could be simpler than phoning a friend?  I called upon my wonderful big sister to make this awesome banner for Monkey, and she did a fantastic job!

     The most awesome thing I made were these adorable felt masks for the kids (and the adults) at the party.

     I even decided to go with the theme and don one that went with my dress.

Spider-Girl and Batmom

     If you'd like to make some for your own little one, click here.  They were super fun.  I was glad to have them on hand in case one of the guests missed the memo about the costumes.  My in-laws certainly got the message, though:

     I saw an awesome idea on Pinterest about turning regular bubbles into themed bubbles for a party by simply wrapping designer Duct tape over the regular label.  And they make Avengers Duct tape :-)

     We also played this awesome Hawkeye version of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey". (I don't know what the deal is, but when you view the link the title is at the bottom of the page, but if you download it, it looks right.)  Of course, this was supposed to be a kids game...

     I was so excited to find Silly String at Walmart, and I had intended to have the kids shoot their "Spidey Webs" at various villains around the back yard (I was drawing on my games from Monkey's Toy Story party), but the adults at the party had other plans.  It was pretty much a free-for-all after that.  Even I got roped into it somehow, and Monkey had Silly String in her hair for the rest of the party because she refused to let me get it out.

   And to top it all off, I found a Spider-Man piƱata at Walmart and filled him with goodies before letting all the little ones take their aggression out on him.  I must say, Spidey's never been my favorite super hero, but he sure can take a beating!  Those kids were relentless.

  And now on to the fun part: the food!  My favorite appetizer was this awesome food-edition of Captain America's shield, which was made up of blueberries, two layers of sliced strawberries (you could do raspberries and strawberries, but raspberries are a tad more costly), and one layer of white cheddar cheese, and a prettily cut out white cheddar star.


     Next I enlisted my sister's (and her Cricut's) help in making these cute food labels:

   Meanwhile, in a crockpot I had Teriyaki Wings cooking under the label "Bat Wings", but I don't have a picture of that particular genius.  We also had Pizza Bites shaped into a giant 5 for the birthday girl, and if you'd like to see the tutorial for that, go here.  They were super easy to make, and the guests loved them.  Plus you can shape them to fit any theme, and I made them the night before and simply stuck them in the freezer until the next afternoon.  We also made "Hulk Cookies" which were simply Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies dyed green. Then, using this awesome sugar cookie recipe that I found for last year's party, I cut out and baked gingerbread men, and then (with the help of an awesome friend) we decorated them to look like a few of Monkey's favorite superheroes.  

Our poor superheroes need to put in some quality time at the gym.
      I had planned to let the kids decorate their own superhero cookie, so I left about a dozen cookies blank and had icing ready, but then the party got under way and I completely forgot, but I think that would have been fun to see what sort of super hero they would have made for themselves.  Oh well, we were too busy having fun to be creative ;-)

   Finally I sent the kids home with some Hulk-style goodie bags filled with Avengers-themed Play Paks, a Spider-Man glow stick, a pack of stickers, and one of the felt masks I had made.  

     I made the bag by buying green paper bags from the party section at Walmart, and then I came home and glued the purple "shorts" to the bottom of the bag, making sure the waistline was nice and jagged first, and then I used a Sharpie to freehand the rest.  

     I had a lot of fun this year planning, and putting all this together, and I think I like this minimalist attitude.  It's rather relaxing.  And Monkey didn't seem to think anything was missing.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Break

     I'm currently mourning the loss of my Spring Break.  I go back to school on Monday, and I'll be taking my first test in Fundamentals.  I'm not thinking about that right now, though.  Instead I want to focus on all the fun crafts I've been catching up with over this break.  As most of you know through Facebook, I had a lot of fun putting together my front flowerbed.  It's very whimsy, and I feel like it's very me :-)

Of course, I included my flag I made from an old wood pallet a few years ago.  

     The "books" were probably my favorite part.  I bought a cheap wood border from Lowe's, and I painted it to represent a few of my favorite novels.  I was originally planning on using it to cover up that black water gauge thing in the bed, but I didn't like the way it looked there, so I put it in the background, like a shelf of books waiting to be dusted off and read. 

     The tipsy flowerpot is one that I've seen time and again on Pinterest, but I had to make it my own by using my favorite color: purple!  The sign is also a Pinterest find, but there were no instructions.  Basically I had my husband break up an old wood pallet with a sledge hammer, and I painted 6 of the broken pieces as you see above.  The I purchased a 6' post from Lowe's and cut is down to about 5' before painting it red.  Then I simply screwed all the pieces onto the post, and there you have it.  I thought it tied in nicely with the books in the background.

     Not all my planting were whimsical, however.  I also managed to build myself a couple of 4x4 raised garden beds for my vegetables.  Here's one of them:

   I think I may have finally found that green thumb that most of the women in my family have always had.  That's an exciting thought to me, although my husband doesn't think I should be allowed to go to Lowe's alone anymore after I came home with two trees in my little Saturn Ion.  Good thing for me that he's in Africa ;-)

    Playing in the dirt hasn't been my only pastime since I've been on break.  I've also been studying (blah!), working on Monkey's birthday crafts (She's going to be 5, y'all!), and catching up on reading!  I haven't read a really good series since Harry Potter, but for Christmas my Moma Deana gave me the Song of Fire and Ice series, and I loved it!  They have cause quite the internal struggle, though, what with my responsible side scolding me for not studying, and my impulsive side telling me to forget school for a while and immerse myself in the Seven Kingdoms.  I finally finished the fifth one, and now I feel like an addict who can't get her fix.  I can't wait until the next book comes out!

     Tonight Monkey handed me yet another fun project.  Her daycare is doing a St. Patty's Day party on Monday, and I signed her up to bring the drinks, so after picking her up from school today, we went by the commissary and bought a few of those Juicy Juice juice boxes.  We got the apple juice, since they were in a green container, but I wanted them to fit the theme a bit better.  As Monkey was working on a few crafts of her own design I started playing with her construction paper.  Next thing I knew I was transforming 24 juice boxes into 24 leprechauns.

     Aren't they cute?  I found a free leprechaun clipart here.  I downloaded it, printed it, and cut it out. Using a hot glue gun, I glued a bit of green construction paper onto the front of each juice box, and then I add the leprechaun's face.  Using permanent marker I added the collar, the buttons, the belt, and the legs.  I had a lot of fun with this, and Monkey is excited to bring these little guys to class on Monday. 

     Well I suppose I ought to get some sleep.  I have to tackle the commissary on a Saturday payday tomorrow.  I'll need all my strength for that!  Goodnight all :-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras, Y'all!

     I have a few minutes to spare before I rush back to studying, so in honor of Mardi Gras I want to share the awesome care package I just sent my husband:

     I had a lot of fun coming up with Louisiana/Mardi Gras items to put in this box. It made me a little homesick, to be honest.  We weren't able to go to any parades this year, but this made up for it a bit.

     First I lined the inside of the box with yellow, green, and purple construction paper like so:

I then decorated each flap with one word of the phrase, "Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler" like so:

     Next I filled the box with some Louisiana signatures, like these Zapp's potato chips, Tabasco sauce,  and Moon Pies like they throw at the parades.

     I also threw in some Clif bars, and some homemade Banana Bread in a jar.  Monkey contributed her own letters and drawings before we threw some Mardi Gras beads on top and shipped it off.  I'm sure J will enjoy his little bit of Mardi Gras in a box.