Super Hero Extravaganza

The holidays are always a crazy time, but in our house it is beyond. Both girls have their birthdays within the first two weeks of January, so before Christmas has even happened I’ve already moved on and started birthday planning. This year’s theme, Super Hero.

With the girls still little, they’re more than happy to share a birthday party, thank goodness! And because I only get to do it once a year I go all sorts of crazy. I was so excited when the girls decided they wanted the party at home instead of a jumpy house or trampoline park. Now I could have fun, too! I love party planning; from cake baking, to games, to decorating. I was Pinning up a storm and found too many fun ideas.

On Party Day almost 40 people crammed into our tiny California abode. Thank goodness the rain held out for a few days so we could overflow into the backyard. My Super Hero games-plan could have easily been dashed with all the storms that were blowing through.

Another perk of having the party at home is that Batgirl came and did a magic show for all the kids. One Batgirl = less $ than a jumpy house party. Her visit was a HUGE success! G is still telling everyone that Batgirl come to her party. So worth it.

In the endless search to get more bang for the buck, I found the greatest party supply site – Oriental Trading (hopefully I’m not the only one who hadn’t heard of it before!). That, along with the Dollar Store, Amazon and Target, made the party a great success for so much cheaper than it could have been. If you’re planning anything , definitely check it out and shop around. Prices vary so much for the exact same thing, and Amazon surprisingly wasn’t the cheapest.

Take a peek at my party-planning craziness, I had so much fun!!

The Food

I love to bake. If you've seen my Instagram account this won't be a big surprise. I've made the girls' birthday cakes every year (except one). This year was chocolate for G and a traditional yellow cake (dyed red inside) for M. And I couldn't let an event go by without getting a new cookie cutter, Batgirl cookies had to make an appearance.

The Games

Super Hero games are the best! I had The Flash Dash, Hulk Smash, Spider Web Practice and Super Breath. I found the best set of Hulk glove-hands to punch down empty boxes that we stacked like buildings. My husband was so happy to help me re-wrap all the empty Christmas boxes in black wrapping paper for the party. When I asked him I thought he was going to strangle me, ha! But he's an amazing dad and husband and relented.

The Dollar Store had silly string that we used to spray on black poster board with a face of the Joker for Spider Web Practice. I know, I know, mixing super hero villains, but it worked. We were cleaning up chunks of silly string from the grass for two weeks! The Dollar Store also had Avenger's bottles of bubbles for Super Breath. The littler kids loved this one. A great way to make the party work for ages 2-7.

Decorations

There is no end to the decorating possibilities! I always have too many ideas and have to reign myself back in. I replaced almost every framed picture in the house with a Super Hero themed one, finally hung my gallery wall to put up even more pictures, and generally went decorating-bonkers. All the pictures were free printables I found online, as well as the emblems for the party bags. My scissor-cutting skills were put to the test. Even our sea grass Sven got a mask!

The party was so much fun and tear-free! At this age there's always someone that inevitably breaks down from stimulus overload, but not this time. I'd call that a success.

I hope you enjoy checking out my party-craziness!

Is It Halloween Already?

Halloween is a big holiday in this house. We decorate everything - every picture with webs, almost every shelf with pumpkins, skulls, snakes, rats, you name it! G keeps asking to make our house look like a Haunted House, but I keep the decorations confined to inside and the porch. Maybe next year I'll venture out and decorate the lawn with skeletons. 

This year, I found two super easy crafts that we can put outside, much to G's excitement! Cue the Spider Wreath and Tombstones. When Pottery Barn came out with their Halloween decor a few months ago, I was inspired to make knock-offs of some of their pieces. PB always has the best Halloween stuff, there's just no end to the possible inspiration from their catalog!

Spider Wreath

This wreath is incredibly easy and cheap! All you need is a grapevine wreath from Michael's, some faux spiders and ribbon from the Dollar Store, a bag of spider web, low gauge wire for hanging, a hot glue gun and about 5 minutes.

  1. Tie the wire around a sturdy piece of the wreath, in a shape that will go over your wreath hanger.
  2.  Place the spiders on the wreath wherever you like. Make sure to leave a space wide enough for the ribbon to wrap around without hiding any of your spiders
  3. Glue your spiders in place.
  4. Drape the ribbon around wreath, then over/under the hanger. Make sure there are a few inches of ribbon on the inside of the door to pin together. This will prevent the top flap of ribbon from falling down when you open the door.
  5. Stretch as much spider web around the wreath as you like.

Viola, your Spider Wreath is complete! We'll see how thrilled my husband is when he gets home today to find tarantulas crawling on the front door - he detests spiders more than anyone I've ever known. 

Tombstones

This one is a bit more time consuming than the wreath, but in the grande scheme of difficulty, they're easy, too. You'll need a few sheets of black poster board (one tombstone per sheet), 2 white paint pens (one thin for writing, one thick for the outline), a ruler/yardstick and scissors.

  1. Measure and cut out the shape you want for your tombstone. I'm OCD when it comes to making things symmetrical, so I had to measure each side very precisely. But if you're comfortable free-handing, go for it!
  2. Write the letters - I penciled two lines for each row of letters, 5 inches apart, and penciled in the letters for spacing before committing to the paint pens
  3. Use the thick paint pen to draw out the thick boarder pattern you prefer
  4. Place the tombstones outside - I used a white thumb tack to make sure they didn't fall over in the wind.

So cute and fun!

If you're looking for easy Halloween crafts, these are definitely winners. Try them out and let me know how you did!

Ready For School - Fabric Cork Boards

The second half of summer has been a whirlwind! I can't believe that school starts for BOTH girls in a week and a half. Two preschoolers in one house, life is going to be different.

To get ready for school and the impending amount of artwork that will be coming home, I wanted to get a bulletin board or two ready. The fridge was so overloaded with art after summer camp that I could barely open the door without something falling off! I saw fabric covered bulletin boards on Pinterest and decided I had to try to make one.

I started out at Walmart to find a super cheap bulletin board and walked out with one of those, plus a set of 4 cork square tiles. Then off to Joann's for fabric selection. This was by far the most time consuming part of the whole project (thank goodness I did it while the girls were in camp or it never would have happened). I had planned on the boards being in the kitchen, where I have a blue theme, so I settled on the fabrics below.

I used this tutorial to make the boards, following it for the larger brass thumbtack board and modifying it for the small cork tiles. Before starting I was a little apprehensive about using the spray adhesive, but it was so easy! I can't believe it scared me. A little fabric cutting, spray adhesive to keep the fabric in place, thumbtack pressing, and voila! Five cork boards complete and ready for art instillation.

The brass thumbtack board is now the home to the house Rules and the girls' Chore Charts. Two and four years seem old enough for them start pulling their own weight at home (some times). Plus, they're so excited to do most of the chores, it would be a shame to not have them help.

To hold up the charts and art, I hot glued Dollar Store gems to the left over thumbtacks to make them a little fancier. I also glued on mini-clothes pins that I had leftover from another project for those art pieces that I didn't want to poke holes in. 

I have to admit, I absolutely adore the cork boards! Don't mind the slight imperfections, but all in all they add a little something to an otherwise blank space. I probably love them so much because of what is hanging on them.

And if you don't have kids artwork to hang, the cork board squares are great as wall art on their own. Add a little pattern to your space in an incredibly cheap and easy way!

Decorating for Fall

It's October, the temperature is finally dipping below 80 degrees, we actually got rain (wait, what?!) and my Fall decorating is done. I did a fair amount of DIY this time around, and I'm really excited about the results.

The first project I tackled was my Pompom tree. I was able to cut branches off a tree in the backyard and then hot glued pompoms from Beverly's in fall colors. I love it! So does Baby M, she keeps pulling off one particular pompom for some reason, no clue why. I've given up re-gluing it.

My inspiration for a fall pitcher of cotton and wheat is from here. I actually saw this last year but hadn't gotten around to putting something together. But, this year I was on my game. I added pheasant feathers and feel like it exudes the feeling of fall, yeah!

I spray painted for the first time ever - super exciting! I was inspired by this, and was able to snag a bunch of Dollar Store pumpkins to make it an incredibly cheap project. I mixed the white and gold with some Dollar Store paper stuffing. I have a handful of Dollar Store pears that still need to be painted, but I think I'll make those for Xmas.

I've been on a tassel kick (more to come in a future post) and my first practice in tassel making turned into this fall-color-inspired garland. I hope its not too boho looking, but I had fun making it and practicing my tassel skills.

A few small projects were crafts that I did with Toddler G and changing out the scrapbook paper in my kitchen frames. You've gotta love Target's Spritz Crafts. It's so fun to mark the progress that Toddler G has made from last year - she was able to do one all by herself! She knew she could do it, I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised.

And finally, the biggest project I undertook was the Apple Wreath. I cleared out the red apple supply of 3 different Dollar Stores. And thank goodness I did, because it would have been a fortune if I had purchased them all at Michael's. It took almost 40 apples and two bags of miniature apples, which I did have to get at Michael's, along with the straw wreath. But the burlap ribbons wrapped around the wreath and used for hanging all came from the Dollar Store. I am constantly amazed with the variety of products they sell. Crazy awesome for my wallet! I also opted against the moss between the apples, I felt like it just didn't need it.

Since all of these projects have been completed I've been baking up a storm. My family, along with all of the West Coast cousins, made the trip to Gizdich Ranch for a fun-filled apple picking trip. And, as usual, we totally over-picked and ended up with 20-some pounds of apples. It's been my goal this week to bake/make something apple every day. I've made an apple crispapple butter, and apple strudel muffins so far. I somewhat botched the muffin recipe by adding way too much butter to the crumble on top, but I have a feeling they tasted even better because of it. Today, it may be a pie (if Baby M naps long enough).

What are you all doing for fall decorating? Baking? I'd love to hear.