Monday, October 15, 2012

Angry Birds Birthday Party

Today I am featuring a party I hosted for my son's 9th birthday. Although that was 8-1/2 months ago, I figure it's better late than never! There are a lot of great Angry Bird party resources out there, and I certainly was inspired by lots of the great ideas I found.

My best find was probably these free printable Angry Birds characters from The Party Animal-- I used them to create Angry Bird balloon characters which I hung from my curtain rod, as well as for the colored paper gift bags. Such an awesome find, and these really helped bring the theme to life.

The cake was another awesome addition to the party.  I definitely do NOT claim to be a baker or cake decoration by any means, but I was pretty impressed with my creation.  I stacked round cakes, frosted them, and used peanut butter wafer bars, Swiss Cake rolls and Ding Dongs along with Angry Birds stickers taped to toothpicks to decorate my structure.  I found the Angry Birds pig erasers at Toys R Us.  Check it out!

It wouldn't be an Angry Birds party without an Angry Bird game, so of course my son received the Angry Birds board game and card game as gifts.  Great idea, little sis!  ;)

Last, but not least, my son took a photo with his stuffed bird buddies to create the Thank You cards. 
Here are the other things we did (though, no photo evidence):
--I created my own printable party invitations using Angry Bird images and Publisher.
--I found Angry Bird sticker packs at Walmart which were used for decorations and activities.  I also bought mini spiral notepads which went into the party favor bags along with Angry Bird fruit snacks and candies.
--I purchased the plates, cups and napkins are Party City.
Since throwing this party, I have seen LOTS of cool party ideas online.  Search around and see what you can come up with.  I liked the idea of building Angry Bird structures with cardboard boxes and other household items.  Unfortunately our party was on a cold, January evening and my living room didn't really have the space for that.  But our new home would work well if we decide to recycle this party theme for our younger son! 
Hopefully these ideas inspire you.  Let me know what you use, and how it goes!  Good luck!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cupcake Wars Birthday Party

I wish I was writing with a tutorial for this amazing party theme, but this is just an idea post. My sweet friend Chael works for an cupcake shop called Trophy Cupcakes, and she told me about a recent customer who bought undecorated cupcakes and cakes, and lots of topping and decorations to use at her daughter's 'Cupcake Wars' birthday party. What an amazing party theme! My husband and I watch Cupcake Wars religiously, and that theme is so adorable and interactive!

I don't know what that particular mom is planning, but I envision this theme to be perfect for a tween girl's birthday or slumber party. You could easily make a general topic ('Birthday' is an obvious idea, or you could get creative and pick something the birthday girl loves such as Twilight, soccer or pop music) for the challenges to be based off of. If you're comfortable with a mess, and have a large enough kitchen, you could allow your guests to bake the cake, but I think it would be just as fun to decorate only. Give them three rounds (or as many as you wish) and challenge them to use specific flavors and/or decorations to craft their treats. If you want, you can also provide shoeboxes or some kind of small display (simple cupcake stands, maybe?) for the guests to decorate as their "1,000 Cupcake Display" to match the theme.

I really want to give this theme a try, but seeing as how my only daughter just had a birthday, I probably won't have the opportunity for a little while. Have any of you tried a Cupcake Wars party?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

7th Birthday Rainbow Party

Last month was my daughter's 7th birthday.  We have a lot going on this summer, but I knew I wanted to throw an extra special party for her, because I had my MY all-time favorite birthday party when I turned seven.  She had been asking to host a sleepover for quite some time, and I figured this was as good a time as any (and it didn't hurt her case that I hosted MY first slumber party during my seventh party.  You sense the pattern, I'm sure).

We were originally considering a Tea Party theme, but after a few posts caught my eye on Pinterest, I suggested the Rainbow theme and she was thrilled.  Here is a summary of the decor, food, favors and activities I came up with.  Please know that I found many of these ideas online, or were inspired by ideas I saw.  I hope this post will inspire you to do something just as fun if you've been thinking of trying this theme!


Probably my favorite feature was the Rainbow Pinwheel on the ceiling.  I used colored plastic tablecovers (I was able to find most at the Dollar Tree, and grabbed the remaining colors at Party City) tacked to the ceiling, and added streamers and hanging decorations (found at Walmart and Party City).


In addition to BBQing, I served up a rainbow menu, of course!  A bowl of Rainbow Goldfish crackers, pretzels dipped in white chocolate with rainbow sprinkles, rainbow marshmallows, and rainbow kabobs:  wooden kabob sticks with strawberries, cantelope, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries and a purple grape.

I also created an assortment of rainbow candies that Willy Wonka himself would be proud of:  Pixie Stix, Button candy, M&Ms, rainbox sucks (, and many more.  I bagged up some of the candies in pretzel bags (in the Wilton area of Walmart or Joanns) in rainbow order.

Additionally, I crafted bagged rainbows by placing white mini marshmallows in the bottom of a clear treat bag, then adding colored Twizzlers in an arch. These, along with the bagged candies above, were great favors to send home with our guests (the adults in particular).
Lastly, the birthday cake!  Or, in this case, birthday CUPcakes.  I used white cake mix, divided it into small bowls and dyed with food coloring, and layered small spoonfuls in rainbow order.  After baking and cooling, I covered with light blue frosting (sky) and piped white frosting into cloud shapes which held the piece of rainbow belt candy (cut in half) to create a 3-D rainbow.  These were a huge hit!  For extra fancy serving, plase colored candies in the bottom of a disposable whine flute and top with the cupcake!
I was able to use a similiar process to make rainbow swirl sugar cookies, too!
The girls enjoyed making bracelets with colored beads and string.  Before bed, they stranded Fruit Loops onto plastic laces and enjoyed a healthier version of "candy necklaces" as they watched a movie. 
We filled our goodie bags with a variety of colored candies, toys and trinkets.  One special item we added were our homemade crayons-- melted colored crayons bits in a baking tray that cooled to form one adorable rainbow crayon.
Last but not least, I gave my daughter a rainbow nail paint job, and of course bought a rainbow colored tank top for her to wear to the party!  Another party favorite, although not rainbow, were the birthday cake pancakes I made the next morning.  These were so delicious!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pinterest Trials

Although I haven't been blogging recently, I have had a creative outlet the last few months as I've joined the Pinterest craze.  At first I found the site difficult to use, and was bored by the minimal posts coming across my "Following" section.  But, as the people I followed became more involved, I too became a regular "pinner", and I've gathered a good collection of recipes, craft tutorials and helpful hints.

Since school ended, I have had time to put many of my Pinterests pins to the test.  I have decided to review some of my trials in this, and future, posts.  Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree, or have similiar results. 

These are pins I have actually tried:

Bird Seed Feeders

I am going to start with a project I absolutely ADORED!  My older kids and I whipped up this little project in about a half hour, and it was super easy and produced great results!  And the supplies were inexpensive and there was plenty for tons of bird feeders.

Photo Credit:  Eighteen 25
Eighteen 25 gets all the credit for this fun project.  Check out the blog post for the full instructions.  I made double batches (which created about 10-ish feeders per batch), and a small bag of birdseed was enough to do two double batches and still have lots left over.  I did add extra birdseed to the gelatin mix since it seemed a bit wet to me with the measurements on the original post.

Another tip- cut your string longer than you think you need to.  Once you make the loop, and press the end into your mixture, you will have a smaller loop than you expected (at least I did!). 

Also, when I tried using two cookie cutters (hearts), I had a hard time getting the feeder out without breaking.  I'd like to experiment with more or less gelatin, or maybe even using some kind of cooking spray to help it glide out easier. 

However, these feeders make great gifts and look great in your own yard, too!

Miracle Cleaner for Pans

I came across this pin for removing those tough, greasy stains from your baking pans.  I have a cabinet full of once-shiny cookie sheets and muffins tins that could use a good de-greasing, so I put this tip to the test.  The original post comes from One Good Thing By Jillee, and I followed her instructions and used my very best scrubbing.
Photo Credit: One Good Thing By Jillee
I'm sorry to report my pans didn't transform like the pans in her photo.  I read through the comments on her blog, and it seems people got mixed results.  You should still give this tip a try; you may have better luck than I did.

Creating a Workout Tank Top from an Old T-shirt

After looking at a few tutorials, I settled on this one from Dollars Sense and More because it didn't require any sewing.  The original blogger was RIGHT ON about her instructions-- everything was clear and easy to follow, and all of the tips and tricks helped me get just the right style and fit with my workout shirt.

Like the blog suggests, I recommend using a shirt you don't really like the first time around to experiment with the project.  I ended up cutting down the back-side neck area of the shirt, which I didn't end up really liking.  When I tried a second time, I just cut the collar off and let it be. 

The second t-shirt I used was a little big on me, so to give it some extra flair and a better fit, I cut strips across the side seams and tied the strips into knots.  I was able to customized how deep I cut and how tightly I tied the strips, which helped me control the fit I wanted. 

Take the advice of the tutorial's author, and cut more off the back of the sleeve than the front.  I didn't really take any off of the front side at all.  As a general rule, cut a little at a time-- you can always cut more.  And, like the tutorial says, use very sharp scissors!  I used facric scissors for all of my cuts and didn't have any problems! 

The best tip for this t-shirt project is just to put the finished product on, then tug and pull at it until it lays the way you want it to.  (I had my husband help me so I could make sure the knot stayed even).  Sometimes the top area "bunches up" in a funny way, but if you pull on the fabric underneath the knot, you can fix it easily.  And, have fun repurposing a t-shirt into something different and new!

I hope you enjoyed my first Pinterest Trials post.  I have many, MANY more Pinterest projects and recipes I have already tried that I plan to review very soon!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

SIGNing in the Street

Blog friends! I've missed you.

Somewhere along the way, blogging has taken a back seat to work-ing, mommy-ing and live-ing. I've often thought about this page and the ideas I wanted to share, but haven't been able to find any extra time. I jumped into couponing head first around the holidays, and we've recently decided to buy another home this summer so we've been consumed with decisions about remodeling and budgeting.

Speaking about the new house, I recently joined Pinterest (still totally lost) and have been focusing on the kitchen we will be transforming into a 1950's-diner style. We will also be giving the family room a Game Room/Movie theatre theme. I am loving the online shopping and crafting that has come from this project! Check out this new table set and vintage (working!) fridge I scored on Craigslist-

And, the most exciting news recently, is not exactly news, but... I am thinking about heading back to Disneyland! In THREE weeks! Disney is putting on an AMAZING event for the Deaf community, and I couldn't be more excited. Check it out what I found online:

SIGNin' in the Street at Downtown Disney District

A celebration of creativity in the Deaf community

During this special 2-day-weekend event, embrace the social, technological and artistic accomplishments of world-renowned Deaf talent and local community organizations. This fun-filled, educational and exciting event is open to all — Deaf and hearing Guests.

Location: Downtown Disney District

Dates: March 17 and 18, 2012

Can't wait!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mike the Chicken

I apologize to those who are easily queasy, but this story is too weird not to share. My oldest son is a self-proclaimed nerd who loves reading about useless facts. While checking out his new Guiness World Record book yesterday, he shared with me about Mike the Headless Chicken. Yeah, you heard that right.

We've all heard that a chicken can run around a bit even after it has been decapitated. Strange. Well, back in September 1945, the Olsen's of Fruita, Colorado decided to make a rather plump, 5 month old chicken their evening dinner. Lloyd Olsen was intentional to leave a long neck bone when he made his chop, but what happened next was totally unexpected. The chicken carried on being a chicken, running around and attempting to peck the ground for food. Lloyd found the chicken the next morning, still alive, sleeping with his head under his wing.

That wonderous chicken, later named Mike, went on to live for 18 more months, and grew from 2.5 pounds to 8 pounds. He was able to eat and live a happy chicken life. Don't believe me? I found a website dedicated to this wonderous pet. Get the details of Mike's story HERE.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Review: Kohls

I'd like to take a moment to share with you my thoughts on the popular department store Kohls. I first encountered Kohls several years ago, and recently a Kohls store popped up in our home town. I have shopped our local Kohls three times, and all three of those times had a customer service experience that was above and beyond. Here is a summary of my three scenarios:

1) In August/September, I was desperately searching for a tuxedo or suit for my son to wear in a wedding. We found the last item we needed, black dress shoes, at Kohls on clearance for $9 (as well an another item). When I got to the register to pay, I realized I forgot my $10 Kohls voucher that I received in the mail. When I mentioned this to my husband, the cashier told me no problem, she would give me the discount anyway!

2) A few weeks ago I walked into Kohls to browse and found a few shirts I liked on a rack that was marked 60% off. However, the electronic sign on the rack only reflected a 25% discount. When I asked a sales associate, they confirmed the 60% sign was a mistake, but they honored the price for my purchase!

3) Unfortunately one of the above mentioned tops shrunk in the dryer, so last week I went back to Kohls to repurchase the top. They had it, so I went to buy it along with other clothing items as well. The cashier told me they have a hassle-free return policy and not to re-buy the shirt, but to go get my other one and do an exchange, even without a receipt or tags! She put it on hold for me and I did the swap the next day.

My local Kohls is three for three on satisfying this customer. I will absolutely be giving Kohls more of my business! And, in honor of this review, here is a 15% Off Printable Shopping Pass for Kohls (sale, regular and even clearance!) for you!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I would DEFINITELY cook more if I had this!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Awesome site for free vintage digital images!

If you like this

Or this

Check out this blog!:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oreo Ice Cream Torte recipe

Although this is not an original recipe, it's a true favorite in our household. There are many similar recipes online, some using pudding or cream cheese. The recipe I use is very simple, and sooo delicious-- it's a family favorite, for sure! Enjoy!

Oreo Ice Cream Torte

-1 package of Oreo cookies
-2-3 tsp. of butter, melted
-1 container of vanilla ice cream (in a rectangular carton)
-1 tub of cool whip
-1 jar of fudge

Crush Oreos in a ziploc bag. Hold aside a 1/2 cup.

Mix remaining crumbs with melted butter and press into the bottom of a 10x13 pan to form a crust. Slice ice cream and lay slices evenly over the crust (I usually use a butter knife to smooth over the seams). Freeze for a few hours.

Microwave fudge and pour evenly over ice cream. Sometimes I include marshmallow topping as well. Freeze immediately.

After the fudge has hardened, add the Cool Whip in an even layer, and sprinkle with the remaing cookie crumbs. You could also add sprinkles or any decoration you wish (but be aware that the sprinkles will harden)! Serve frozen.

I have seen spin-offs of this recipe, such as strawberry ice cream and vanilla wafers in place of vanilla and oreos. Have fun playing with the recipe, and expect to have a hard time staying out of the freezer!