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An apple play date party – Showing Johnny Appleseed some love!

Posted in PARTIES
on October 2, 2013

Okay, I know, I’m behind. I know it’s time for Halloween. I know that Apple week was LAST week, not this week, and I really, really wanted to share this with you last week – life just keeps getting in the way of blogging. C’est la vie. Better late than never I always say, so we’ll talk about it anyway.. because it was fun! We started off the week with apple picking, did some word study with our very own indoor apple picking adventure and ended the week with this fun event!


It just so happens that September 26th, is Johnny Appleseed’s birthday, which so perfectly fell in line with our theme, that it was almost as though I had planned it that way – I didn’t exactly, because I don’t really roll like that, but still, it was perfect! Johnny Appleseed was such a great person and birthdays are meant to be celebrated… so, celebrate we did! To mark the occasion, Ayden and I got together with a group of great friends, with a themed play date – An apple themed play date of course!


We kept things relatively simple, all bringing snacks or something apple related to share. The play date was held at my home and I couldn’t resist doing a little bit of decorating to get everyone feeling.. apple-y?

The kitchen shelves that I hmm’d and huhhh’d over for weeks on end were given a little make-over with a fun paper apple garland and a basket full of fresh apples picked straight off the tree.

These fun little apple pops are chocolate dipped double-stuffed oreos embellished by a chocolate leaf and stem, all on a stick.

Apple peanut butter sandwiches were a cinch to make by slicing apples in to .5″ slices, removing the core and spreading peanut butter between two slices.

Jolie shared yummy apple pie, which we all devoured, and we added crunchy apple spice granola bars – a new flavor for me, but yummy – all served on apple modified plates and snack ware.


After snack and some serious trampoline time, we moved in to story time.

For our story, we read Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd, a simple but fun read. The girls were all in to the story.. the boys, not so much! We all (moms, too) loved our tinpot hats – except for Ayden, who refused to put it on –  which were made using brown craft paper and silver paint, as modelled below.

Leslie Appleseed
Jolie Appleseed


My lovely sister-in-law, April Appleseed

My friends are awesome, and yes, I asked them if I could post these pictures first. They said no.. but eh, who needs friends? Just kidding!  And where is my Appleseed photo, do you ask? Well, let’s just say holding the camera has it’s perks!

We finished off the afternoon with a few fun crafts, including apple stamping and tissue paper art.


Both were a big, big hit.

Everyone went home with fantastic fun bag from Leslie, filled with activity printables, flashcards using apple related sight words and red “tinpot hats”.


Despite refusing to wear my Johnny Appleseed hat creation, as you can see, Ayden was all about Leslie’s version. He was, however, not at all about my asking him to smile one.more.time. The colander was a constant on his head for the rest of the day, and finally ended up in the bath with him later that night – Way to go, Leslie!


Thanks to everyone who came to hang out with us!
Update: This post was recently featured in a fantastic roundup on along with a group of other fantastic and creative projects. If you get a chance, check some of these others out, along with modernbaby. You won’t be sorry that you did!

Indoor Camping Party and Minute to Win It

Posted in PARTIES
on June 27, 2013

This indoor camping themed party will have your guests feeling like they’ve spent the night in the forest, without ever taking a step outside! 

Can I just say that I love summer?  I may not be saying this tomorrow, but today, having my kids home all day, all the time is so FUN! We’ve been following a pretty relaxed schedule. There’s been swimming, and having friends over to play, going to the library, hanging at the zoo, and.. partying!

How to host an Indoor Camping Themed Party

We planned this slumber party for my girls, to celebrate the end of the school year and the start of summer. Both girls LOVE camping, so sharing some of the things that we like to do with six of their nearest and dearest made planning this party easy and the actual event a huge hit with the under ten crowd.


camping themed party - 2

*This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

We started things off by making and sending out these super cute invites in the shape of a tent. If you’d like to make your own, the pattern is available to my subscribers and can be found on my Get the Goodies page.


camping theme party - 4
Decorating was a cinch – just think camping! I put together this super cute banner at the last minute using Get the Goodies, tissue paper, a glue gun and a bit of Get the Goodies.
camping theme party - 5
Mini cooler decor camping party
The camp name is a combination of both girls names – Kyla and Bekah and is also a name we used to tell them stories when they were little. Princesses Kybekah and Byla were always up to some mischief!
For the dessert table, again, think camping – I used a lantern, a mini cooler, a vase of blue spruce branches, decorative pine cones, gingham paper napkins and fabric, a red dutch oven and various tin dishes and wicker baskets. For dinner plates, we used aluminum cake pans.
camping theme party - 5


Food couldn’t be easier for a camping party – anything goes! We served:
  • Grilled hot dogs
  • Mac and cheese fruit tray, and various other crackers and snacks.
  • Cut Fruit
  • Various other crackers and snacks

Dessert was cupcakes, s’mores, and various other treats, as well as a make-your-own popcorn/trail mix bar.  The popcorn trail mix bar included craisins, raisins, peanuts and almonds, pretzels, peanut butter and regular m&ms, mini marshmallows, granola and honey nut cheerios. They could also add “fishing bait,” otherwise known as Swedish fish and gummy worms.

camping theme party - 7
Later in the evening, we served oven s’mores!
Camping Party Smore Snacks
  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Assemble your s’mores on a cookie sheet – graham cracker, chocolate piece, and marshmallow.
  3. Place the cookie sheet under the broiler.
  4. Watch your s’mores carefully. The marshmallows will puff and brown quickly!
  5. When the chocolate is melty, and the marshmallow browned, remove the sheet from the oven.
  6. Place a second graham cracker on the stack, pressing down slightly.
  7. Cool before eating.
camping theme party -8
 The following morning each guest made a personal lumberjack foil packet, our favorite camping breakfast. My girls LOVE doing this and look for every opportunity to make their entire meal in a foil pack! Everyone had a great time choosing their ingredients, and the best part? No dishes!
Camping party sleepover breakfast ideas


To kick off the party, we started the night with an ice-breaker scavenger hunt. Our girls are only a year apart but go to different schools. As a result, their friends rarely mix, so, this was an opportunity to have everyone together.

camping themed party - 3

After finding everything on the list, everyone met to share their treasures and to introduce ourselves. I had each girl tell us their name, their favorite color, and their favorite food. It was a simple activity, but they all had a good giggle, they found some commonalities! I adapted the scavenger hunt I found here, printed off the list of items to find, along with the labels, and attached both to a paper lunch bag. Easy, cheap, within the theme, and so cute!

For an easy craft, we had the girls select and decorate a flashlight using letter stickers, that they were able to take home the next day.
The biggest hit, though, was a competitive game of Minute to Win It! We divided the girls into two teams. Once divided, each team came up with a name and competed against the opposite team and each other.
The three top scores received a prize – the latest Bop magazine.You’d have thought we’d given them a gold bar.

Minute to Win It Games for Camping Party

There were five opportunities to earn points:
  • Face the Cookie: Using only the face, move cookies from the forehead to the mouth.
  • Breakfast Scramble:  Prep for the game by cutting a cereal box front into sixteen equal pieces. Be the first to put the pieces into order to recreate the cereal box front.
  • Separation Anxiety:   Sort a pile of 25 multi-colored candies into piles by color. We used Laffy taffy. 
  • Tweeze Me: Have players use chopsticks to move 10 Tic Tacs from the table to a bowl.
  • Bucket Head:  Catch three balls in a bucket on top of your head

Who knew watching a cookie roll down one’s face could be so challenging and funny? For game instructions and more game ideas, you can visit the NBC Website.

Late night entertainment was a movie. Here is a list of tween appropriate movies. Many of these are available in the $5 bin at Walmart. All of the movies are rated PG.

  1.  Oz the Great and Powerful – new, but a great movie!
  2. Mirror, mirror
  3. Legally Blond


Our playlist is made of old campfire favorites and new hits.

Cup Song – Anna Kendrick
Uptown Funk feat. Bruno Mars – Mark Ronson
Happy Trails – Van Halen
Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer
American Pie – Don Maclean
Kick the Dust Up – Luke Bryan
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
Mandolin Rain – Bruce Hornsby
Time of Your Life(Good Riddance) – Green Day
If I had $1,000,000 – Bare Naked Ladies
Every Rose has its Thorns – Poison
Wonderwall – Oasis
River Bank – Brad Paisley
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Best Day of My Life – American Authors
Free Falling – Tom Petty
Rather Be feat. Jess Glynne – Clean Bandit
Stand By Me – Ben E King



To thank our guests for coming, the girls handed out party bags simple paper lunch sacks containing the following:


camping theme party - 9
camping theme party - 9

We had a great time, and the girls got to spend some quality time with friends they were missing. I hope everyone will have fond memories of this one for a long time!

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How to Host a Fabulous 50s Themed Party for Cheap

Posted in PARTIES
on May 1, 2013

My daughter’s love of the 50s started when her school had a 50’s day earlier this year. And then.. she saw Grease. Or at least, a modified version of Grease and she was hooked. So, it was only natural that she would want a 50s Sock Hop for her birthday party.

How to Host a Fabulous 50s Themed Birthday Party for Cheap

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop-props and decorations

*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience

We embraced the theme fully!


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - invitations

For fun,  its shape was of a 45 and had a

brad at the top to swivel open. Lucky for me, I had a pile of 45s in my attic – I scanned one in and used the image of that for the front, which gave it an authentic look.


We kept the menu simple with “Diner” food! Hot Dogs and Fries, Root Beer Floats and fun sweets and treats to fit the theme!





birthday-party-50s-sock-hop cupcake toppers

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop cake and cupcakes

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop marshmallow pops


There were the required Pink Ladies T-Shirts, poodle skirts and neck scarfs in pinks, teals and polka dots. Everyone came dressed in their 50s best and danced the afternoon away. I made my girl’s poodle skirts following this tutorial, and used Walmart twin sheets for the fabric – they were cheap, and I could cut the skirts out in one piece, which made it all SO much easier.

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop pink ladies costumes

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop poodle skirt


The girls had their pictures taken in a pink Cadillac Cut-out we painted and donated to the school. I’ve shared the tutorial on how to make the fun car cut-out here if you’re interested in making your own!

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop pink cadillac photo prop

50s Sock Hop Free Printable


birthday party 50s sock hop pink cadillac car cutout prop

I followed the lead of this incredible party and created checkerboard patterns on all the counters and tables, using printer paper cut in half, black, vinyl tablecloths and tape. I then used liberal accents of pink, fuchsia, and teal, turning my garage from a garage to a 50s dance hall! These “poofs” hid our “billiards” lamp hanging over our pool/ping pong table.
birthday party 50s sock hop set the scene
No 50’s dance is complete without a jukebox!
birthday party 50s sock hop juke box prop
birthday party 50s sock hop Drive-in sign


No party is complete without a fun playlist. Fortunately, the 50’s era offers much to choose from!

birthday party 50s sock hop play list


The girls – all 15 of them – had a great time with the activities we planned! Some ideas include:

  • A Hula Hoop contest
  • Limbo fantastic (even backward!)
  • Hand jive lesson
  • A bubble gum blowing contest
  • Donut bobbing. It’s a tradition at our home to ALWAYS have donut bobbing at our parties.

Donut bobbing – A game in which you suspend three donuts from the ceiling. Each player stands in front of a donut, put their hands behind their backs, and must be the first to remove the entire donut from the string using only their mouths. Very, very un-lady like. Awesome. Trust me.


After three hours of non-stop fun, we sent our well sugared fed friends home with clear cellophane goodie bags containing the following:

Cat Eye Sunglasses

Roll-on Lip Gloss

Mini Nail Polish

Glow Sticks

Coke Bottle Gummy Candy

A pencil

birthday party 50s sock hop blowing out the candles

My daughter’s 50’s dreams realized, our 50’s themed party was a huge success, with fun had by all!

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