Too Much Candy? Call the Great Pumpkin!

If you have kids and have never heard of the great pumpkin, then you’re in for a real treat. And not the sugary chocolate-covered kind. The Great Pumpkin is like the Tooth Fairy of Halloween. In fact, I have it on good authority that he is a third cousin (twice removed) of the Tooth Fairy. He picks up candy to keep kids from getting a stomach ache, ruining their appetite, and all the other bad things copious amounts of candy are known for.

How the Great Pumpkin saves kids and parents from too much candy

Here is how the Great Pumpkin works at our house:

My kids get to Trick or Treat as usual.

When they get home, they get to pick THREE pieces of candy that they can eat right then. If they’re smart, they’ll pick the full-sized candy bars… but it is up to them.

The rest of their candy goes back into their trick-or-treat bag, which is left by the back door.

While they are sleeping, the great pumpkin will collect their candy, and trade it in for a toy! (I have it on good authority that the great pumpkin will be trading in their candy for Lego this year).

When they wake up, they can come downstairs to see what the Great Pumpkin left for them!

The candy mysteriously makes its way into our pantry… but the kids are still to young to notice this coincidence.

This set-up is actually a fun twist on the way my mom traded us for our Halloween candy when I was a kid. We’d get a toy in exchange for the bulk of our Halloween treats. The benefit of getting the Great Pumpkin involved is that the kids need to go to bed in order for the Great Pumpkin to come! And anything to help over-tired and sugar-infused kids get bathed and in bed is a bonus!

Hope you have a happy (and safe!) Halloween!

Boys Can Play Dress Up with Costume Express

When Collective Bias gave me the opportunity to check out Costume Express, I was super excited. Sure, this is a sponsored post, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love everything about these costumes!

boys love to play dress up

My son loves to play dress up. I discovered this during the course of the summer. His summer preschool has themed weeks. Every Friday, the children dress up to go with the theme. For Wizard Week I made him a Wizard Costume, and he LOVED it. When he wore his robe and hat, and picked up his wand, he felt like he really could be a wizard. I loved that I was able to provide him with a few simple props to help him stretch his imagination.

This got me to thinking about what other costumes I could provide for him – and this is where Costume Express comes in. They have an amazing variety of costumes for all occasions – themed parties, Halloween, or dress-up clothes!

Nowadays, it is so easy for kids to spend time in front of a screen. My son knows how to operate my tablet, and plays a mean game of Bad Piggies. He has several favorite movies that we rotate through, and he’s recently learned to operate the Roku remote on his own. All this means that he is spending way too much time plugged in. Living in Vegas with 110 degree heat all summer, I can’t just send him outside in the middle of the day. Having fun, indoor activities that stretch his imagination without putting him in front of a screen is key. That’s why I wanted a well-stocked dress-up box.

I ordered everything online, it was super simple to find what I wanted. You can see my whole Costume Express shopping experience here.

Opening the Costumes Express Box

When the box came in, Little Moore was excited to see what was inside. I hadn’t told him that I’d bought costumes – just that I had a surprise for him.

He dug through all the costumes – so many choices! He decided to be a fireman, and that his little brother could be a police officer.

Pulling out Costumes

I love that these simple costumes are easy for the kids to take on and off themselves, and that my 14-month old can wear one to play with his brother. He’s not entirely sure what is going on, but he knows he is in on the fun. Plus, both of them are running around having a good time and NOT watching TV or playing video games.

I also love the option to add hats to my order. Costumes are great, but I think a hat does a great job finishing the look, and making the experience feel a little more genuine for my little guy.

Fireman Costume

It was tough getting him to stand still for this photo… all he wanted to do was run around and be a fireman!

He loved these costumes so much, I’m sure that I will be taking many trips to the grocery store with my little fireman, police officer, doctor, or road crew! Instead of handing him my phone to keep him entertained in the store, we’ll have a conversation about his new profession. Groceries might be “on fire” and need to be put out. We can be on the lookout for bad guys. I might come down with mysterious symptoms he needs to diagnose. Or everything might need fixing in a dangerous construction zone (watch out for pot holes!) And they’re sturdy enough that his little brother will get hours of fun out of them as well. I can’t wait to have a playdate so that we can put the kids in costume and crank YMCA… maybe I need to get an Indian costume first?

Road Crew Costume and Doctor Costume

I had a great experience shopping at Costume Express – it was easy to find what I wanted, they had great options, the prices were reasonable, and the package arrive a day earlier than promised! With Halloween coming up I can’t think of a better resource for costumes, and get your kids to #Unplug2Play!

For more details, you can catch Costume Express on your favorite Social Media Channels:

Follow Costume Express on Twitter
Like Costume Express on Facebook
Circle Costume Express on Google+

Monsters University Game in a BluRay Case

Make a Monsters U game inside a BluRay Case

I bought the pre-sale of Monsters University on BluRay, and made some cute Monsters U Countdown blocks to go with it. I’ll be mailed the movie when it comes out… which leaves me with a BluRay case that has no movie in it. (PS – I also made Monsters U Juice Box Printables and a Mike Wazowski t-shirt if you’re into Monsters U crafts)

Monsters U Movie presale copy

I thought I’d turn the movie case into a little portable game in a BluRay Case. This is super simple to do, I’ve got all the printables ready to go… here is what you need.

Print the new BluRay Game Cover on standard paper
Print the BluRay Game Pieces on cardstock
Sharp scissors with a pointy end (or scissors and a craft or hobby knife)
Double-sided tape
Paper fastener (aka a Brad)

After you print out the Monsters University Game pieces, cut them out.

Open up the BluRay case and pull out the old cover, slip the new BlurRay Game Cover into place.

Monsters U Game made from BluRay Case

Leave the case open so that you can see the inside. You’ll want to use sharp scissors or a craft knife to cut away the raised lip on the left side. It is about 3/4″ down from the top. Just trim it down as close to the base as possible. Now you can slip the game board in on the left side.

On the right side, use the point of your scissors or the sharp point of a craft knife to carefully make a circle in the very center of the circle that holds the BluRay movie. You’ll want your hole to be about 1/4″ in diameter. Carefully cut away any plastic that gets pulled up when you make the hole. Be careful not to damage the cover or plastic on the other side.

Cut a hole in the center of the large numbered circle so that it slips over the raised center, and use double sided tape to stick it in place where the DVD would go. Use the tip of your scissors or the brad itself to make a hole in the center of the spinning arrow. Insert the brad into the arrow, an then into the hole you made in the raised center circle. Fasten the brad on the back LOOSELY. You want to make sure it still spins easily.

Fold your game pieces, and use a small piece of double sided tape to stick the bottom flaps together.

You’re ready to play your game in a BluRay Case!

Monsters U Game inside a BluRay Case

Monsters University Count Down Blocks

I picked up the pre-order copy of the Disney Movie Monsters University as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias®. Yes, Monsters University is still in theaters, but you can reserve your BluRay Combo pack copy already! The movie won’t be available on your home screen until this fall, but you can buy it now and have it mailed to you when it is officially released. You can see my whole shopping trip here.

Monsters University Count Down Calendar

Before we count down the days to the movie release date, we’ll be counting down another special milestone in this house… my oldest is off to Kindergarten! I made a simple Monsters University Count Down Calendar that I can use with him to count down the days until he starts his first day of school… and then we can reuse it to count down to the movie release date – and lots of other special days!

count down block suppliesSuper simple to make, here is how you can make your own. You’ll need:
4 – 2″ wooden blocks
Small Wooden Plaque
Printed numbers (download my Monsters U numbers 1 through 6 and numbers 7 and up and print out.)
White Paint
Paintbrush
Mod Podge

 

Paint the wooden pieces white. I painted each with 2-3 coats of paint. Allow the paint to dry.
Cut out all the numbered pieces. Use Mod Podge to adhere a number to each side of the blocks.

mod podge onto blocks

Add a coat of Mod Podge on top to make sure that the numbers stick well.

Use the numbers to count down to whatever special day you have coming up – school, vacation, a special trip… or the release of Monsters University on BluRay!

stacked blocks

Find out more about Monsters University on the Monsters U site or
Monsters U site or on the Disney Pixar Facebook Pagee.

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!