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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Party Ideas

Last year I put together a fun Easter Party and Egg Hunt for 35 kids at my home.  I thought I'd share it again this year in case anyone needs some ideas.  You could modify the games for any holiday or even a birthday celebration.  Oh, and you can read more about my secret to hosting a stress free kids party HERE.

Yes, there were 35 kids at my home about ages 2-12, however 10 parents stayed to help out so I didn't have to do that much.

Most of the party was prepared for a day or two in advance so I just had to set things up that morning.

So what did I do?


I started with a plan.  I thought up a few games to do besides the egg hunt and made sure to communicate that plan when people arrived.  I even had it listed on the office door so they could see what there was to do and which room to go to.  I also had a list of things the parents could help with so I wouldn't have to oversee it all.

As far as what games we did, here's the run down:

There were 4 games they could do anytime, any order:
1.  Pin the Nose on the Bunny
2.  Guess the number of Skittles in the jar
3.  Roll-A-Rabbit
4.  Egg Coloring Contest

Then there were some group games:
5.  Spoon/Cotton Ball relay
6.  Story Time
7.  Hot Carrot (a version of hot potato)

Then the announcement of the winners and handing out prizes, rules of the egg hunt and finally the egg hunt itself which also included prizes, snacks and the egg return.

Here's more detail about each game/activity:

1.  Pin the Nose on the Bunny
I got some poster board and drew a bunny on it.  It was going to be pin the tail on the bunny, but gluing cotton balls sounded like it could get messy, so I used some little sticky tabs instead and decided to call it Pin the Nose on the Bunny.

2.  Guess the number of Skittles in the jar
This was easy to set up, although a bit time consuming in counting out 368 Skittles to put in the jar.  That's just how many I had on hand after using Skittles and the same jar to make my husband's Valentine's Day gift.  (You can read more about that HERE.)
There were instructions, paper and pens at this station so the kids could put their name and guess on a piece of paper and into the green bucket.
During one of the group activities a parent went through the guesses to determine the winner.  A prize was awarded right before the egg hunt.

3.  Roll-A-Rabbit
 I modified this Roll-A-Leprechaun game to make it into a Roll-A-Rabbit game.  This was also a craft.  The kids glued ears onto a paper plate and drew on the eyes, nose and mouth according to what number they rolled on the die.
Here are the instructions:

Roll – A – Rabbit

Rules for older kids:  Take turns rolling the die.  Depending on what number you roll, add that feature to your rabbit.  First person to have a completed rabbit wins.

Rules for younger kids:  One person rolls the die.  All kids add that feature to their rabbits.

Roll a 1:  Draw a nose on your rabbit 
Roll a 2:  Glue ears onto your rabbit 
Roll a 3:  Roll again 
Roll a 4:  Draw a mouth on your rabbit 
Roll a 5:  Leave alone 
Roll a 6:  Draw eyes on your rabbit

4.  Egg Coloring Contest
The egg coloring contest drew the biggest crowds since the kids took a long time coloring just right.  I just printed off some blank eggs for the older kids and some decorated eggs for the younger kids to color.
Their finished eggs were taped up to the window in the playroom to be judged.  I didn't get a picture of all the eggs hanging up but it filled the entire window. 
One of the older siblings was the judge and there were prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, most original, and best use of color.

The above 4 games were ones the kids could do in any order at any time.  Then I thought we'd all gather as a group and do some other games in the living room before heading outside to the egg hunt.

5.  Spoon/Cotton Ball relay
We had the kids line up in two rows and they all had a spoon in their mouth.  The one side had a cotton ball on the end of their spoon and had to walk to their partner and pass the cotton ball.  They could use their hands.  This was easier than I thought it would be.  Probably because they didn't have to walk that far and we did it inside where wind wasn't an issue.

6.  Story Time
 Sweetie Pie wanted to read an Easter story.  She chose "The Country Bunny and the little gold shoes".
7.  Hot Carrot
"Hot Carrot", which was an Easter version of "Hot Potato".  All the kids liked it, even the older ones.  We had some spring time music playing and passed around a play carrot from my daughter's kitchen set.
While this was going one of the parents was going through all the guesses for the number of Skittles in the jar, and another helper was judging the colored eggs.  After a couple of rounds of "Hot Carrot", I announced the winner of the Skittles contest and the egg coloring contest, passed out their prizes and then we all got ready to go outside for the egg hunt.
I told the kids the rules:
1.  They are going out according to age with the youngest going out first.
2.  There are 2 golden eggs and whoever gets those gets a special prize.
3.  There isn't anything inside the eggs, they will trade the eggs in for prizes (and so I can have all my eggs back to use again).
Once the kids had their coats and shoes on, baskets in hand, they were lined up in the playroom and ready to go.  While they were finding eggs, I took out the food that some of the parents brought, so they could eat outside (no way I was having 35 kids eat in my house!)
After the kids found the eggs, claimed their prizes and ate the snacks, it was time to go home.
I had planned for the whole thing to last an hour, and it actually lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes.  


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Non Candy Easter Egg and Basket Ideas

With Easter usually comes egg hunts and Easter baskets.  My favorites to give are books and a new spring outfit.  This year my mom is doing themed baskets.  Each kid is getting a new swim suit and a few other fun summer toys.  The possibilities are endless, however it doesn't seem that way when you're the one putting together a basket or trying to figure out what to put in those plastic eggs.   So I've put together a list of ideas for you to get your wheels turning.   The items in bold would be small enough to fit in the eggs.  Good luck!



puzzles - you could  put a piece in each egg and the kids could put the puzzle together at the end.
games
card games
books
drawing paper, construction paper, word searches
coloring books, activity books
crayons, markers, pencils, erasers
notebooks, journals, stationary
stamp sets
paint by numbers set
paint your own sun catchers
paint your own pottery or ceramic
stickers
silly putty, play-doh, modeling clay, putty, kinetic sand
a new toothbrush and kid flavored toothpaste
kids watch
stuffed animal
a new outfit, swimsuit or pajamas
rain coat, rain boots, umbrella
shoes, sandals
fancy or funny socks
sunglasses
sun hat
action figures
army men
legos
cars, planes, trains
squinkies
gift cards
DVD’s
CD’s
movie tickets
magazine subscription
wall decals, artwork, posters
purse, tote bag, wallet
hair accessories
jewelry such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings
make up, nail polish, lotions, lip balm
fun character band aids
rainbow loom bands and charms
bubble bath, bath toys
pool toys
sand toys
sidewalk chalk
bubbles
jump rope
building blocks
balls
kite
yo yo
flashlight
seeds and gardening tools/toys



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Friday, April 11, 2014

Keeping Track of Donations - Is it worth it?

About this time last year, I wrote a post about keeping track of your donations.  You can go back and read it HERE.  



I talked about how I like to keep track of the bags and boxes full of stuff that I donate so I can deduct them from my taxes.  You know, so I can get the maximum refund.  

The easiest way I've found to keep track of what I'm donating is to have a paper and pen next to my donation bag/box.  As things go in, I write down what it was.  That way when the bag is full, I take it to be donated and file my list (along with my donation receipt) in my tax file.  



When it's time to do my taxes, I have my list of what was donated and when.  I use It's Deductible as part of Turbo Tax which estimates what each item is worth so I don't have to think about that part either.

So when I was doing my taxes for this past year I gathered up all my donation lists and got busy.  It took about 2 hours (there were some breaks in there too) to list all I had donated.  According to Turbo Tax, the value of my donations was $2683.  Of course I don't get that much in return, but what I did get in return was an additional $375 back.  I couldn't have made that much money selling my stuff at yard sales or craigslist.  And most of the items were small things such as clothing and toys.  Anything of value we did sell on craigslist, so if I had tried to sell the stuff I donated, I wouldn't have asked more than $10 for any one thing.  Overall, I think it was worth it.  The small amount of time to keep track of what I donate and the couple of hours to enter it in Turbo Tax was well worth that extra $375.

Anyone else keep track of their donations?  Have you figured out how much money you get back for your donations?




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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Diagonal is the new Chevron

So the other day I shared the latest trend in nail polish.  If you missed it, you can check it out HERE.

I'm back today to share the latest trend in window treatments.
The diagonal mini blind.


Seriously, I think Diagonal is going to be the new Chevron.  I know it's subtle, but I think it adds a certain visual interest to the room, don't you?

In case you want to have this look in your home, all you have to do is have one of your children enthusiastically pull up the blinds so that one side breaks.  This will create that lovely diagonal slant.   




It's always an adventure at our house and it's only getting crazier.

Big sister fixed little sister's hair this morning.  It's called the puppy dog look.  Can you tell where she got the inspiration from?




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Friday, April 4, 2014

Nail Polish Trend?


The Babes' favorite color is blue.  It has been her favorite color for over a year now.  So it should come as no surprise that when I asked her what color she wanted to paint her nails, she chose blue.  


However she didn't want just blue.  She wanted half of her nails painted blue and the other half pink.  And by half, she means one side.  So her right hand (and foot because she wanted them to match) was painted blue an her left hand and foot were painted pink.  It's not the first time she's requested such a nail treatment.  In the winter months she preferred blue and red.  I guess she's breaking out a new look for spring.  Could this be the latest nail polish trend for 2014?  

Her little spa treatment didn't stop there.  I also decided to give her a hair cut.  I am an untrained amateur at this hair cutting thing, but it's not that hard to cut a straight line, right?  The Babes was really good and stayed really still which made my job easier.  However she doesn't stay still all day and with all the moving around she does, you'll never notice that one side might be slightly longer than the other.  I'm afraid to fix it because I'll probably do more harm than good.  And you can't even tell.  She loves her shorter hair do too!



Anyone else's girls like their nails painted this way?
Anyone else cut their own kid's hair?  I'll do straight cuts, but I've messed up too many times with the Spencinator's hair so if it's not a buzz cut, I've been forbidden to cut his hair again.



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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Fools Drink


Yesterday being April Fool's Day, I couldn't let the day go by without playing a trick on the kids.
I got my idea from HERE.  It's just jell-o in a glass so it looks like juice.

Yesterday morning I made some black cherry jell-o, poured it into two glasses, added a straw and let it chill in the fridge.


When the kids got home from school.  I said I had a refreshing drink waiting for them.  I had also made black cherry kool-aid and poured that for myself.  I was drinking that so of course they thought they had the same thing.  

It was pretty funny watching them try to drink it up.  They soon realized it was jell-o.
However, I didn't realize my kids don't like jell-o so they didn't want to eat it.
Next year I'll have to make a tastier treat to trick them with.

How was your April Fool's Day?  What tricks did you play?



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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tips and Tricks Link Party (Easter Decor and Crafts)

It's Tuesday and time for another Tips and Tricks Linky Party.   This week's theme is "Easter Decor and Crafts".  It's almost 3 weeks till Easter and if you're like me, you haven't thought about it.  Now's the chance to get lots of ideas.  From new ways to dye eggs to preschool printables - check out the links below.  And don't forget, you are also welcome to link up anything family friendly.  



Every link will be shared on the cohosting blogs, our Facebook pages, and pinned to Pinterest!
Make sure you follow the cohosts (below), so that you can see your shout outs….


Anything Goes:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tips and Tricks Link Party (Fabric)

It's Tuesday and time for another Tips and Tricks Linky Party.   This week's theme is "Fabric".  From clothes to toys to home decor, link up your fabric projects.  And don't forget, you are also welcome to link up anything family friendly.  



Every link will be shared on the cohosting blogs, our Facebook pages, and pinned to Pinterest!
Make sure you follow the cohosts (below), so that you can see your shout outs….


Anything Goes:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patrick's Day review

You know that old saying, a day late and a dollar short?  Well, this is two days late so does that make it two dollars short?

Anyway, St. Patrick's Day was uneventful at our house.  I've been feeling a bit under the weather and didn't do anything.  Sweetie Pie did wear a shamrock shirt to school but no one else wore green and we didn't set a Leprechaun trap and there wasn't any gold chocolate coins to be found.  When Sweetie Pie asked why the Leprechaun didn't visit us this year, I came up with an ingenious answer.  I said the Leprechaun isn't like Santa Claus.  He can't visit every house in one day.  We had a visit from him last year and hopefully we'll see him again next year, but this year he went to visit someone else.  To my surprise, she bought it.

I've mentioned before that the Spencinator has Asperger's (a high functioning form of autism).  Well, he has a TSS (therapeutic support staff member) that comes to our house to work with him.  Last week she did a St. Patrick's Day craft and treat.  So the kids didn't completely miss out on some St. Patrick's Day fun.

They made a pot of gold chain

and some Leprechaun cookies


The cookies were just mint Oreo cookies dipped in melted white chocolate and decorated.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tips and Tricks Link Party - Make Ahead Meals

It's Tuesday and time for another Tips and Tricks Linky Party.   This week's theme is "Make Ahead Meals". These kinds of meals are my favorite.  They make busy nights so much easier.  And don't forget, you are also welcome to link up anything family friendly.  



Every link will be shared on the cohosting blogs, our Facebook pages, and pinned to Pinterest!
Make sure you follow the cohosts (below), so that you can see your shout outs….


Anything Goes: