Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Amazing Race Birthday Party

We had an awesome Amazing Race-ish 9th birthday party for my son and his friend!  I say Amazing Race-ish because we didn't follow the Amazing Race theme too closely.  Most of the kids weren't familiar with all of the specifics of the show but were familiar with the idea.  We mainly just tried to make it fun and wear them out!  It was a great party!

One of the fun things about this party was that we transported all of the kids from school to a nearby park right after school on a Friday.  The parents loved this!  And, almost all of the kids were able to come to the party because it was so easy and there were few conflicts on a Friday afternoon right after school.  We did have to be very organized to make sure we got all of the kids we were supposed to but it really turned out to be a great idea!  I made this invitation in Excel using some cute clip art that I purchased on Etsy HERE.

The Game:
Again, we did not try to make the game just like the Amazing Race TV show.  My son loathes losing and we didn't really want the kids going off in all directions on their own.  So, we decided to have them race as one team.  They were trying to complete all 10 clues in less than an hour.  (They barely did it!)  We did use the "Pit Stop" idea from the Amazing Race where they would return after completing each clue to receive the next clue.  The Pit Stop was easy to make with poster board and letters cut on my Silhouette.  This turned out to be a great idea too because the moms stayed at the Pit Stop to prepare the next clue if needed and the dads ran around with the kids!  Here were the rules of the game:

  1. Everyone is a team.
  2. They all must return to the "Pit Stop" mat after completing each clue to receive the next clue.
  3. They are racing to complete all 10 clues together in less than an hour.
  4. They must stay together and with an adult.
  5. All friends must be in every picture.
  6. Use your manners.
  7. 5 minute penalty can be made if they are not following the rules.

We decided on our clues based on the layout of our park with many sports related clues because our boys love sports!  We also decided to include several clues that were pictures so we could get some awesome group pictures from the party!  Here were our clues:

  1. Take a picture at the concession stand at the back of the ballpark.
  2. Find a coin dated 2007 (the year they were born) at the bottom of a tree marked with a yellow ribbon.
  3. Take a picture with a dog.
  4. Pop balloons until you find one with this message inside: "Happy Birthday!"
  5. Take a picture of everyone on the playground slide.
  6. Everyone has to score a soccer goal against our goalie!
  7. Take a picture in a baseball dugout.
  8. Eat snacks out of small cups one at a time until you find the drawing of a balloon.
  9. Take a picture in a gazebo wearing a mustache.
  10. Find this baseball card in the pile: Coco Crisp.
Other clue ideas we had were: taking a picture on a bridge, taking a picture by a chalk drawing of a birthday cake, completing the dizzy bat game, completing a nature scavenger hunt, and finding a gnome.

I made the clue cards and put them in envelopes for the birthday boys to open!  You can download blank ones HERE to make your own clues!  The game was SO FUN and the kids were worn out!  They really loved it though!
Decorations & Party Favors:
I made an "Amazing Race" banner with my Silhouette.
 We gave everyone a black bandana to wear during the race.  They looked cute in the pictures! (It also helped the dads figure out who was with our group & who wasn't!)
At the end of the party, we gave everyone a water bottle.  I added their names on the bottles with blue vinyl cut by my Silhouette.  The gift tag said "Thanks for racing with us!" and can be downloaded HERE.

We kept it simple with pizza, cheese puffs, water, and cookie cake.

Thank Yous: I confess we didn't actually use these because I thought he was old enough to write his own thank yous!  But, I will share them in case you can use them!  Download page 1 HERE and page 2 HERE.

It really was one of the most fun and creative birthday parties we've ever done!  It was a blast!

Silent Auction Fire Pit

This was the easiest silent auction "basket" I have ever made!  Plus it is such a cute idea that you know will sell during the auction!

The fire pit is the best part!  But, I also added marshmallows, graham crackers, and hershey bars for smores along with extendable cooking forks, a cozy over-sized plush blanket, pumpkin candle, fall mugs, hot chocolate mix, apple cider mix, and pumpkin spice cookie mix.  Awesome!

To finish it off, I added orange, yellow, and red tissue paper and tied it all up with cellophane wrap and a giant red mesh bow!

Oreo Balls Teacher Gift

I made these Oreo Balls as a Valentine's gift for teachers but they can be adapted for any holiday!  They are SO yummy!

Here is the recipe:


1 package Oreos
8 ounces cream cheese
16 ounces white almond bark
Holiday sprinkles

Place Oreos in 1 large ziploc bag.  Place that bag inside another ziploc bag so that the Oreos are double bagged to avoid a mess.  Use a rolling pin or the smooth side of a meat mallet to crush Oreos.  Mix crushed Oreos with cream cheese.  Use a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) to form Oreo balls on a cookie sheet.  Freeze balls until firm.  Melt white almond bark in microwave according to package directions.  Dip balls in melted bark and immediately pour on sprinkles.  Let set completely on a cooling rack.

Makes 40 balls

(Instead of sprinkles, I have also sprinkled on extra crushed Oreos or added a gummy lifesaver with a chocolate chip in the center to look like an eyeball for Halloween.)

To package these as teacher gifts, I simply put several balls in a treat bag, tied it up, add a gift tag, and put the treat bag in a cute metal bucket.   

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Halloween Snacks

We had some yummy and adorably spooky Halloween snacks!

We had the Vomiting hummus pumpkin (see post HERE) and the Pig in a blanket mummies (see post HERE) again.  Then we also had Cheese straw witch fingers, Mummy brownies, and Monster sugar cookies!

For the Cheese straw witch fingers, I made my usual cheese straw recipe (see post HERE) and simply added sliced almonds before baking.  Yum!

For the Mummy brownies, I made my usual boxed brownie recipe (shhh!)  Once the brownies cooled, I cut them into squares and placed them on cooling racks with wax paper underneath.  I melted white chocolate in the microwave and used a knife to drizzle/shake the chocolate over the brownies.  Then, I quickly added small eyes.  Cute!

 For the Monster sugar cookies, I cooked place-and-bake sugar cookies (I'm revealing all my secrets!  But, the kids don't care I promise!  The tip to any place-and-bake cookies is to not overcook them.)  I added tinted white icing in between 2 cookies.  For the ones on the top, I added mini marshmallows in between the 2 cookies for teeth, added more icing on top, and then added a large marshmallow to the top for an eye.  I added the eyeball with a black edible marker. Adorable monsters!

Spooky Science Fun Friday

I had so much fun doing a Spooky Science Fun Friday with my 3rd grader's class before Halloween!

First, we made slime!  I ordered the Steve Spangler Green Slime Kit which made it super easy for me! (purchase HERE)  I got small mason jars and made labels for the tops (download HERE).   I added the ingredients and then all the kids had to do was SHAKE!  We let this sit a few minutes to congeal while we did the other experiments.

Second, we did the experiments in the Steve Spangler Ghost Science Kit (purchase HERE).  We watched the "ghost poop" disappear in a cup of water and we watched the "ghost eggs" glow.  For the ghost eggs, I let these sit overnight in water to let them expand and become virtually invisible.  Then, I added the glow dye in the classroom so the kids could see them.  I let them touch a couple at the end and they each got to take one home.  I also let them take home a couple of the ghost poop to show their families.  They loved taking stuff home!  I really enjoyed using the Steve Spangler kits (I'm not paid for these comments - this is just mom-to-mom info!) The kits were easy to use and came with great instructions and explanations to explain the science behind the experiments.  With my order, they sent me a sample of the Steve Spangler Magic Sand (purchase HERE) that was really cool too.  The kids liked touching the sand to see that it was still dry even though it had been in the water!

Third, we played with Screaming Balloons.  I got this idea from Steve Spangler but was able to find the items needed for it at Walmart.  Simply place a hex nut inside a clear latex balloon and blow up.  Spin the hex nut around inside the balloon to create a screaming balloon! (details HERE)  I also let them take home a balloon and hex nut.  They loved it!

Lastly, the kids came up to my mystery boxes and put their hands in each hole to feel the creepy Halloween items!  I had one table at a time come up to feel inside the mystery boxes and the other tables played with their slime while they waited.  The mystery boxes were so fun!  To make them, I bought 2 banker boxes at Walmart.  I cut 4 holes in each box (2 on each side).  Then I sprayed painted the boxes black.  I covered the holes with black foam that I had cut an "X" in.  I added tags (download HERE) and then added the items in bowls on the inside.  Here is what I did but there are lots of ideas online!  Be sure to bring some wipes!
Skeleton Fingers = pickled okra
Vampire Guts = cooked spaghetti with a little oil
Spider Legs = chenille stems
Werewolf Teeth = popcorn kernels & candy corn
Mummy Eyes = olives
Zombie Brain = cauliflower
Witch Hair = corn husks
Ghost Boogers = raisins with honey (definitely the grossest one!)

They had a blast!  I enjoyed doing something different for Halloween too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Back to School Teacher Survival Kit

I made this fun and practical Teacher Survival Kit for a Back to School gift for our teacher!  I decided to include mostly things that she might not have on hand but could need.  I think it will be a very useful gift that she will come back to again and again throughout the year!

Here is what I included.  I bought everything at Walmart except the case and the small clothespins, which I bought at Hobby Lobby.

Mini WD-40
Screwdriver (with interchangeable tips)
Paper clips
Sticky tack
Small clothespins
White out
Super glue
Chocolate (peanut butter M&Ms are her favorite!)
Crystal Light energy packs
Sewing kit
Hair bands
Cough drops
Binder clips
Tide to Go
Mini Febreeze
Nail file
Nail clippers
Push pins
Tic Tac mints

I used red and blue tulle to tie around the case and added a cute tag from Fantabulosity (download HERE).  The tag says "Teacher Survival Kit - Looking Forward to our Year Together!"  Love it!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Smart Cookies End of the Year Party

We had a fun Smart Cookies End of the Year Party for my 2nd grader's class!  It was so cute and they had a blast!

I made a "Smart Cookies" banner with brown and white stripe triangles and blue letters in "andrea karime" font.
We had chocolate and white milk in milk bottles that I found at Target.  I designed labels for the milk bottles, printed them on sticker paper, cut them out with a 2" punch, and put them on the bottles.  You can download the labels HERE.
We had chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, oreos, double doozie cookies, and more!  I made the double doozie cookies by dipping sugar cookies in blue sugar before cooking.  Then, I spread icing between 2 cooled sugar cookies.  I made tags for the tops of these cookies and attached them to halved decorative paper straws.  You can download the tags HERE.
We let them get 5 cookies to start and then packed up leftover cookies in bags for the kids to take home.  And, of course, I made labels for the bags too!  You can download the labels HERE.
We had 4 stations with games:
1) Pin the chocolate chip on the cookie - for this game, I traced a large cookie shape onto light brown poster board, cut it out, drew an "X" in the middle of the cookie, & had it laminated.  I attached it to a large piece of foam board.  Then, I used my 1/2" circle punch to cut out dark brown cardstock circles to use as the chips.  I wrote each child's name on the chips so we could see who had come the closest at the end of the game!  I also attached a photo square to the back to make the chips stick to the cookie.  I blindfolded the kids, spun them around, and then had them stick their chip to the cookie.  Whoever came closest to the "X" won!
2) Cookie match game - for this game, I cut out the different color sugar cookies and laminated them.  Then, the kids teamed up to see who could win at Memory!  You can download the game HERE.
3) Cookie frisbee - for this game, I got 4 small frisbees at Party City.  I printed 4 cookies on sticker paper, cut them out with a 2.5" punch, and attached them to the frisbee.  Then, the kids took turns trying to land their cookie frisbees on a small cookie sheet!  You can download the cookie printable HERE.
4) Cookie hot potato - for this game, I purchased a stuffed cookie from Amazon.  (It's actually a pouch.  See HERE).  The kids passed it around until a parent said "stop!".  The child holding the cookie was "out".  Repeat until there is only 1 child left standing!
The kids loved eating all of the cookies and playing all of the games!