Snow Party

Over the winter break my boys and I had a snow party. A great way to celebrate the winter, any time of year!

Snow Party

The Snow Party Included:

Snowy Decor

Food:
Donuts on Sticks
Cakes
Cookies

Activities:
Snowball Fight
LCR with Snowballs
Coffee Filter Snowflakes
Borax Snowflakes

Party Favors
Mini Snow Dough Jars

Snowy Decor

For the Snowy Decor, I put down a blue plastic tablecloth, with snowflakes I cut with the Silhouette. Here is the snowflake file I used.

supplies for snowball backdrop

For the backdrop, I hung white plastic tablecloth, and strung styrofoam balls onto yarn using a doll needle…

pierce ball with needle

And sprayed with glitter blast.

spray with glitter dust

Then hung in front of the white.

snowball party decor

I also hung these large snowflakes cut with the silhouette from the ceiling.

snow decor

Snow Party Food

For the food, I picked out some white treats. Just simple and sugary.

cakes-and-cookies

I also skewered donuts and donut holes onto bamboo skewers and put them in a vase – food that doubles as decor!

Snow Party Activities

We had a snowball fight with our no-melt snowballs.

throwing snowballs

And played Left, Center, Right (a dice game – find it at Target in the games section), using pom poms as chips.

snowball left center right

We played for about 30 minutes, and the kids loved it! My 3 year old had no problem understanding how the game worked – and even ended up winning!

playing left center right with pom pom snowballs

Coffee Filter snowflakes are simple to make, and cost almost nothing. You just need scissors and coffee filters.

supplies for coffee filter snowflakes

Fold the filter in half, then in thirds.

fold coffee filter into thirds

Then cut away. The more cuts, the prettier your snowflake will be.

coffee filter snowflakes

coffee filter snowflakes

Making Borax snowflakes was lots of fun.

Borax Crystal Snowflake

You’ll need:

supplies for borax crystals

Mason Jar
Borax
Scissors
White Pipecleaners
Measuring Spoons
Pencil
String
Boiling Water

Cut the pipecleaner into 3 sections. Make sure the sections are shorter than the diameter of the jar.

cut pipecleaner

Twist together to make the snowflake. Tie a string to the top.

twist together pipe cleaner

Measure 3 Tablespoons of Borax into the jar, then fill with boiling water (kids don’t get to help with this part!). Stir with the pencil, then hang the pipecleaner snowflake in the jar. Allow to sit overnight.

making borax crystals

The next day, you’ll have gorgeous crystals!

finished borax crystals

And, of course, we needed snowy favors, so I made snow dough.

Snow Dough Party Favors

You’ll need:
2 cups Cornstarch
1/2 cup iridescent Glitter
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil

supplies for snow dough

 

Mix ingredients.

mix snow dough together

Put the snow dough into jars.

I used mini jars I found in the wedding section of the craft store.

fill-jars-with-snow-dough

I foiled the snow dough labels. Here is the printable snow dough label file I used, printed on a laser printer onto OL1762 from Online Labels .com.

snow dough labels

I then used a laminator and Thermoweb Decofoil (in blue) to foil the labels.

run foil through machine

foiled snow dough labels

It adds the perfect touch!

finished snow dough favors

The party didn’t take too long to put together, and the kids loved it! They’ll be asking for a snow party every winter!

snowball party decor

 

Signature Baby Quilt

This little baby quilt is long overdue, in a number of ways. The blocks for this quilt were made at the orange and monster truck baby shower. I finally stitched them together and quilted it up about 3 or 4 months ago to give to baby D… but then it didn’t make it to their house. It was going to make it to D this weekend (for his first birthday), but he got sick… so it didn’t happen!

The blocks are “signature blocks”. All the kids at the shower were given fabric crayons and asked to draw on the blocks. Some of the kids drew a lot, and pressed hard with the crayons. Some didn’t draw much at all, and drew very lightly. Most of the kiddos were under the age of 5, which makes for some really fun artwork!

I stitched the whole thing together with orange sashing. There were only 8 blocks, so I decided to leave the center plain, and wrap the blocks all the way around. Another option would be a fun focus fabric in the center.

I just used a plain solid orange fabric for the sashing and borders.

orange signature baby quilt

I quilted it with orange cuddle on the back (to make it extra snuggly). I folded it up and tied some tulle around it. Because a quilt doesn’t really need any extra wrapping – does it?

wrapped up baby quilt

Baby D… one day your blankie will come! I promise!!

Pixel Art Sprites with M&Ms #fueledbyMM

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client. mario mm sprite #FueledByMM #shop

Last week, I got crafty with the boys and M&M candies making 8-bit sprites. These are super fun and easy to make! First, I headed off to Walmart to buy big 42-oz bags of M&Ms. While there, I bought tubs of frosting, aluminum foil, and foamcore board.

You can, if you like, just use M&Ms on a table… but knowing I was going to be putting these together with two little “helpers”, I knew that bumps, knocks, and other accidental movements. All the other supplies prevent “oops” from turning into “OH NO!!” And when working with kids, that is a must!

I looked online for patterns to use. You can make up your own, but searching for cross-stitch patterns and Perler Bead patterns gets great results. I then printed out my patterns so we would have them handy while creating.

I measured out my M&Ms so I would know how big to cut my foamcore. (19 MMs for every 10 inches is what I came out with)

measure candies

I cut the foamcore a little larger than needed for each pattern, then covered with foil.

foil covered cardboard #FueledByMM #shop

I did a test with my youngest on a scrap of foamcore – we made a “candle” from his favorite game for Xbox – Minecraft. The foamcore was coated with a light layer of frosting before starting. This frosting acts as an edible glue to keep the M&Ms in place. Perfect for my little helpers!

minecraft sprite #shop

Once we got the hang of it, we all worked on our pieces…

baby sprites #FueledByMM #shop

…even my husband got involved, making a racing helmet.

j making his sprite #FueledByMM #shop

 

making as a family #FueledByMM #shop

We made sprites based on our favorite games. Here is the finished Angry Bird:

angry birds sprite #FueledByMM #shop

A racing helmet, perfect for a Forza 5 fan!

helmet sprite #FueledByMM #shop

And also to honor the launch of the new Forza 5 game… a classic racing game… Mario Kart!

Mario 8 bit sprite #FueledByMM #shop

… he looks a little jaundiced.

L also made this creation, which he says is his “house” in Minecraft. We all really got into this project!

placing mms #FueledByMM #shop

We had such a blast doing this as a family… and the best part is that we will be posting our pictures on Instagram and can WIN an Xbox One! Here are all the details:

Get creative with M&M’s® and win an Xbox One gaming with M pack! (and everyone can get $10 back on their M&Ms and Forza 5 purchase with the Buy-Snap-Redeem promo – details below)

Create your own Pixel Art using M&M’s (R) candies and snap an Instagram Photo. Tag your image with #FueledByM AND #Contest and post the image on Instagram and Twitter.

One lucky Pixel Artist will win a new Xbox One and Gaming is better with M pack including the Forza 5 Motorsport game and a 14 oz bag of M&Ms(R).  Contest runs Dec. 4th – Dec. 18th and winner will be chosen at random.

Find full legal rules here.

Buy, Snap, Redeem Details

  • Buy Forza 5 game
  • Buy participating M&M’s products
  • (Participating products include: M&Ms Peanut 42oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Milk 42oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Peanut Butter 38oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Pretzel 30oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Peanut 19.2oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Milk 19.2oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Peanut Butter 18.4oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Pretzel 15.4oz Large Laydown Bag.)
  • Snap a photo of qualifying items on the receipt on your phone and text it to 811811. Include the code M&M with the picture of your receipt. Game and M&M’s must be purchased on the same receipt.
    Redeem:  You will receive a text back with a reward code valid for a $10 eGift card to Walmart.

Monsters University Craft – Juice Box Printables

I created these fun Monsters Inc Juice Juice box campus printables as part of a paid social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Monsters University Juice Box Campus - Free Coloring Printables

When I was asked to make a Monsters University Craft using Juicy Juice, a great healthy drink for my kids, I knew exactly what I was going to make! I loved watching the movie with my son (I made him a special Mike Wazowski shirt to wear to see the movie), and I loved the campus buildings. Most of the movie takes place at Monsters University – there are all kinds of buildings with great monster-y details – the dorms, library, and (my favorite) the Scaring School! This Monsters craft was fun for us to make – and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

I designed Monsters University Campus printables that you can use with your kids to re-create the movie. These are specifically designed to go on the Juicy Juice products – the Scaring School printable fits perfectly on the 64-oz Juicy Juice bottle, and the archway pieces and building blocks wrap perfectly around Juicy Juice Fruitifuls juice boxes. Use the 1″ Mini Monsters, Inc. Monsters University Toys to play with the buildings you created (only available at Walmart). I bought my supplies at Walmart, you can see my whole shopping trip here.

Monsters University Toys

Start by printing out the pages. Print one of the Scaring School, one of the Monsters University Gateway, and as many as you want of the Building Blocks. The building blocks can be used to make the library, dorms, or whatever other buildings you would like.

Let your kids color the pages, or color them yourself.

coloring Monsters U printables

While your kids are coloring, rinse out your empty juice boxes and juice containers. Moms know that dried juice is sticky, so stop the mess before it starts! The bottle is easy to rinse out – just take off the cap, fill with warm soapy water, put the lid on, shake, empty, and rinse. Do the same with the Fruitifuls juice boxes, but since there is no lid to take off, lift up one flap, and cut off a corner to give yourself a large enough opening to rinse out the box.

trim off flap

After the pages have been colored, cut them out. The Scaring school can be attached to the Juicy Juice 64-oz bottle with double sided tape. You can take the label off the bottle first, if you like so that you can get the instant win code from the underside of the bottle. Go to juicyjuice.com to redeem the code and you could win a $5,000 scholarship AND a family trip to Pixar Studios! I redeemed mine… it was super simple. I won’t tell you what I won, but it WASN’T the trip and the scholarship, so those are probably still up for grabs… You can find the sweepstakes details here.

Scaring School Juice Bottle Printable

The other pieces need to be folded. You’ll see dots at the top and bottom of each piece that indicate where the folds go. Fold down these lines to fold into 5 segments.

fold at dots

Using double-sided tape, attach the smallest flap (on the right) to one of the short sides of the Juicy Juice Fruitifuls juice box.

Tape printable to box

Then fold the paper all the way around the juice box, and attach the last flap in place with double stick tape. Repeat this process with all the pieces to make the campus!

For the archway, cut out the archway piece, fold on the lines so that the flaps are facing to the back, put double-stick tape on the flaps, and attach to the two pillar juice boxes.

Monsters University Juice Setup

Stack your building pieces up to make the dorms, library, or other campus buildings.

Monsters University Juice Library

My son loved playing with his juice box campus and Monsters University Toys!

Paying with Monsters University

Did you love Monsters, Inc? Then you’ll LOVE the new Monsters University movie! Get the details about the movie on the Disney/Pixar Facebook page, and about Juicy Juice on the Nestle Facebook Page.

Ever-changing Wood, Nail, and Rubber Band Maze

My son is a maze savant. Yes, I’m his mom and I’ll brag about him even if nobody is listening, but at not quite 5 years old, he totally rocks mazes. And he loves doing them. We’ve gotten him maze books, which he loves, but I wanted to do one better. I wanted a maze that could be fully customized, changed, and never get boring. So I came up with the idea to make a maze board out of wood and nails. Now he has a maze that can be changed in a nearly infinite number of ways! And, it was super simple and easy to make. It took us less than an hour. Totally my kind of craft!

First, we started with our supplies:
18″x18″ square of 3/4 inch plywood
Box of nails
Quilting ruler
Pen
Cordless Drill
Hammer
Rubber Bands

I picked up the plywood at The Home Depot, and had them cut it to size. Having them cut it on their giant saw is so much easier than trying to cut it at home.

Using my quilting ruler, I marked a grid on the board, spacing the lines 1.5″ apart. Once I had my grid marked, it was time to drill pilot holes into my wood. I made sure that the drill bit I was using was a couple sizes smaller than my nails.

The idea is to drill a guide hole, but you still want the nail to be super snug when it gets hammered in. I made sure not to drill all the way through the wood.

Then it was time to hammer in my nails. As I hammered them in, I tried to keep them about the same height. This isn’t essential, it just looks nicer.

I hammered…

And hammered…

It took a while.

Once all the nails were in, I double-checked that they were all pretty much the same height.

Then it was time to add the rubber bands! We stretched the rubber bands along the nails to make the “walls” of the maze. We were so excited about this part, we didn’t bother washing all the black from the nails off of our fingers… we just went for it!

Then my son got to find his way through the maze. Once he figured it out, I adjusted a few of the pathways by moving around rubber bands, and he got to do it again. I kept switching them to give him new routes through the maze. He LOVED it.

I know we’ll be using this toy a lot this summer – such a fun boredom buster!

I might still give it a coat of paint… I haven’t decided yet. But for now, it is getting plenty of use!

Ice Cream Pizzas

My 4-year old loves Team Umizoomi. If you don’t have small kids, you don’t know that Team Umizoomi is a team of 3 tiny cartoon characters (4 if you count Umi Car), who run around Umi City helping their friends by using their “Mighty Math Powers”.

Team Umizoomi has helped to teach my son math issues like units of measure, identifying patterns, and shapes. They also reinforce proper social behavior like sharing and helping friends. One of my son’s favorite episodes is about Ice Cream Pizzas. The ice cream truck has broken down, and can’t get down the street to bring ice cream treats to the neighborhood children. The ice cream treat of choice is the ice cream pizza. My son asked me if we could make ice cream pizzas together, so of course I said yes!

We had to start by getting our ingredients. Large sugar cookies, vanilla ice cream (which I allowed to soften) and gummy candies. In the show they use a striped candy. Since we couldn’t find the right color striped candy, I went with these gummy candies that are the right color, but weren’t the right size. I cut them down to size for our pizzas.

I spread the softened ice cream on to cookies. I had softened the ice cream so that it was about the consistency of margarine.

I cut up the gummy candies and then let my son put them on. Team Umizoomi used 5 candies on their ice cream pizza, and so did we.

All that was left was to chow down! Nom!

Sugar Cookie House Decorating Party

When I was a child, we got cookie cutters for making gingerbread houses. And every year, I’d bake gingerbread, cut out the pieces, and we’d make entire villages of cookie houses. It was one of my favorite Christmas memories.

After I moved out on my own, I found my own set of gingerbread house cookie cutters, but I started substituting a firm sugar cookie dough for the gingerbread. Because although I love the smell of gingerbread, I find that most people prefer the taste of sugar cookie. Myself included.

I want my sons to grow up with the tradition of making cookie houses. Last year we built them with cousins. This year, we invited friends over to come build with us.

I sent out e-vites to the parents, inviting them to come over. They were asked to each bring a bag of candy, and I’d provide the houses.

I headed out to Smart & Final to pick up what I would need: plates to use as the house bases, ingredients for the sugar cookies, ingredients for the icing, and some candies to get the party started (and add variety). You’ll find each recipe I used for the party at the end of the post. I also used plastic tablecloth on the roll from Smart & Final on the table – makes clean up so much easier! Smart & Final is a great place to shop when hosting a party – they have everything from plates to chafing dishes to to-go boxes so that your guests can take home their leftovers!

The day before, I made the cookie parts, let them set, and that night I used Royal Icing to put them together, and secure them to the plate.

The next morning I made Buttercream frosting for the kids to use. I find that Royal Icing is too tough for most kids to squeeze out, so I used Buttercream for the kids instead. Royal Icing is great to keep candy on securely, since it dries candy-hard, but the sugar cookie houses for the kids didn’t need to get that hard, so Buttercream frosting worked just fine. I put a couple tablespoons into each zip-top bag, and snipped off a corner of the bag to make multiple icing bags without multiple couplers and fancy cake tips… and also with less mess! The sipper side of the bag prevents the frosting from accidentally coming out the back.

All the candy was put in bowls in the middle of the table. This way kids could easily get what they needed.

The kids had a blast creating their houses!

Firm Sugar Cookie Dough
2 1/3 c flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
1/2c butter
1c granulated sugar
1 egg
Mix egg butter, and sugar. Beat until well mixed. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Put in fridge for at least 20 minutes. Roll out onto a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, and cut to size. Bake for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Royal Icing
3tbsp Meringue Powder (find in the baking section of your craft store)
4c sifted powdered sugar
6 tablespoons water (a little more or less as needed)
Put all ingredients in bowl and mix well. BE CAREFUL, if the icing gets too thick, it can and will break your mixer… it is like food cement. If the mix is still to heavy, SLOWLY add water 1tsp at a time and keep mixing until done.

Buttercream Frosting
1/2c shortening
1/2c softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
4c powdered sugar
2 tbs milk

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a mixer until fully incorporated and creamy.

Get more great holiday ideas below or at the Smart and Final Social Circular. You can also check out Smart & Final on Twitter and on Facebook.


I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Smart & Final #CBias  #SocialFabric #ChooseSmart