Spooktacular Birthday Party

I can’t believe our little man just turned one!  colton cake croppedWhere did the year go?  I honestly feel like this was the fastest year of my life.  With his birthday so close to Halloween and my husband loving to decorate the house, it only made sense to do a Halloween themed party.  We had a great time and I wanted to share our party, not because it was so over the top and cute, but actually because it was so incredibly simple.  We’ve been busy so this had to be a very low prep event.  So if you are looking for something to do before trick-or-treating, here you go.

 

 

Invitations

IMG_2598We made these cute little bat invitations.  I cut the body and head separately so I could add the inner piece with all our info and then glue the head over it a bit.  I used sticker gems for the eyes and folded the wings so that you can only see the word Celebrate.

Bat invitations editable template

 

 

Bat invitation

 Photo Booth

I love these!  We used some leftover decorations to create a backdrop and then put out the different photo booth props.  There are so many available online, why design more?  My favorites came from One Creative Mommy and Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke.

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Water Bottle Labels

One of my favorite things to do for a party is themed water bottle labels.  It’s such a simple thing but really sets the mood and the kids like it.  Then we just put out some water bottle flavoring and everyone can create the drink they want.

Halloween water bottle labels

Halloween water bottles

Halloween water bottle labels

 

Table Decorations

We also did these cute table top decorations.  You just print and cut them out.  Then I attached them to a skewer stick so that they can be stuck into anything–a base, a dish, plants.  To make a stand I just cut a styrofoam ball in half and spray painted them black.

Halloween images for table decoration or clipart

Halloween table top decorations and clip art

We also had Halloween themed food.  There are so many cute ideas on pinterest that I’m not even going to go into all of them here.  (Check out my Halloween board for ideas.) But I am including the food labels since they are editable and festive.

Editable Food Labels for Halloween Dishes

Halloween food labels editable

And we pulled out our floating candles from our Harry Potter party to add some ambiance.

floating candles

Activities

For activities we made masks. I used a kit I purchased at Michaels but you could just as easily cut out your own pieces. I also put out Halloween themed foam stickers to add to the masks. Quick, easy, and fun!

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But you know what is even quicker for a craft… coloring! Have you checked out Quiver? You can print out coloring sheets that come to life in 3D through the free Quiver app! It is so cool and turns ordinary coloring sheets into magic. My kiddos love it. So print some out from here, throw out markers or crayons, and you are good to go!

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Beyond that we just let the kids play in the yard (which resulted in all of them putting on a show for us singing “Let It Go.”)

Goody bags

Finally, our goody bags… hands!  We picked up disposable gloves from Target (but you can get them anywhere) and stuffed them with candy.  For an extra touch add a spider ring to the finger.  I’ve actually had kids come up to me since the party to tell me how cool the hands were (and my girls have begged to take the extras off my hands).

Halloween “hand”-outs sign

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And of course I need to end on a few more pictures of the birthday boy, since it was his special day afterall…

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Our New School Room

I love our new school room!  Over the summer I just got fed up with our school room.  It had been cute when we set it up but as the actual schooling got under way, it just became too disorganized, drab, and depressing.  It needed a redo and desperately.  Take a look, here are our before pictures…

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And now, ta da!

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I really wanted the room to be brighter and happier so I went with the bright green, blue, and pink.  And we desperately needed more organization.  The room was fabulous when it was first set up but now that the kids were older and a baby was in the picture, we had outgrown the original design and it was a hot mess.  I wanted to move away from the crowded cupboard to more shelf space that was organized.

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We bought the shelves from Walmart for only $30 a piece and then the colorful baskets came from Michaels on sale.  I made the tags out of scrapbook paper (all those stacks of it finally came in handy) and black chalkboard paper.  I just used a white paint pen to write on them.

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And here is the front of the room…  The bulletin board is for our Bible verse that we are memorizing.  And on the white board you can see our timer which has been so helpful in keeping us on track and helping the girls focus on their schoolwork.

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On the next wall is my desk.  When I first set up the room, I didn’t have a desk for me–my thought being that this was a space focused on the kiddos (and I didn’t see how it would fit at the time).  But that just didn’t work.  Maybe it’s the teacher in me but I needed my own space to work, prep, and plan.  The bulletin boards will soon be filled with the kid’s work and the bean bags are our reading nook.

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And here is our science center.  I really love it!  I covered an old bookcase in patterned contact paper (like what I used on the filing cabinet).  It hid the water damage and stains.  On the shelves are all of our science and social studies books and activity kits.  On top are our science tools.  The Parts of the Scientist poster came from here.

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The filing cabinet is one of my favorites.  My dad had given us the filing cabinet but it was pretty dingy.  I spray painted it purple and covered the drawers with the purple chevron contact paper.

redone filing cabinet

Be sure to take the drawers all the way out and remove the handles, etc.  There should be screws in the back that you can use to pry them off.

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Really I went a little spray paint happy.  Once I did the filing cabinet, I decided to paint my little plastic drawers.  I’ve had this set for years (you can usually find it at Costco or Michaels) but was just done with the multi-colored look.  So I painted all the drawers purple.  I also took off the silver handles to add the labels.  In the past I’ve used paper labels but this time I used dry erase tape so that I can change it whenever I want.

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I also painted our school desks.  They were looking dirty and dingy but this really brightened the entire room.  Just be sure to put many coats of a sealant such as polyurethane coating for wood.

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Finally, I added the paper flag banner to be a finishing touch and help bring cheer to the room.  I wanted a place that made me smile when I entered because I knew that would make the children smile too.  I used scrapbook paper and twine that I already had around the house.  For the flags I used the template from Flairy Tales found here.

Paper flag banner

Not only is the room happier, but it has made us more efficient.  It’s easier for the kids to help the room stay clean and shows them just how much we value their schooling.  Win win win!

Celebrating Pope Francis

So with Pope Francis’ visit, it’s been all Pope all the time over here at our house.  I have been so inspired watching his visit on TV–the joy, the enthusiasm, the challenge to live the life we are called to live.  And this has been a wonderful opportunity for our kiddos.  This is why we homeschool–to give them an education imbibed with our religious faith.

Watching the canonization of Junipero Serra

Watching the canonization of Junipero Serra

The Pope may be leaving but you can still enjoy some Pope Francis fun.

Matthew 16:18 craft

This is the Bible verse the girls have been memorizing this past week (“You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church”) and this is the craft we did with it.  We actually first did this when Pope Benedict stepped down and Pope Francis was elected, but we used a real rock.  This time I used glittery fun foam for the rock so that we could attach it to our Bible board.

Peter Rock
Matthew 16:18

You can download Peter and the church here: On this rock craft template

And here it is using a real rock…

Peter and the Church

 

Flat FrancisIMG_2249

We participated in Flat Francis and have been taking him with us this past week so that he can explore a little more of the U.S. than just D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.  You can get yours here: http://flatfrancis.org/

 

 

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Pope Francis puppets

We were inspired by Catholic Icing’s puppet of Pope Francis.  I love her saint puppet set!  The girls really wanted their puppets to look like our Flat Francis and I think they were adorable.

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Mitre Hats

The girls decorated these mitre hats while watching one of the services.  Clearly they don’t go for the humble look.  🙂  They are super simple to make.  Just cut out the mitre shape from white paper and then add a band so you can wear them.

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But they loved wearing them!  This is one of my favorite pictures–Mia helping make dinner while wearing her hat.

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Pope Coloring Sheets

We also enjoyed pope coloring sheets from Drawn 2 Be Creative which you can find here.  She has Pope Francis and the Vatican crest.

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First Day of First Grade

So we started another school year two weeks ago.  I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks.  We got a bit of a late start due to our big trip back East (we did a LOT of traveling this summer) but it’s been good to be home and get back into the groove of things (even if the transition has been a little rough).  I just wanted to share some pictures from our first day back and our family traditions.

graduate Tshirts

I love these shirts!  We bought large ones and made the 2027 logo last year.  We are taking a picture of the girls in their shirts every year to show how they grow and change.  By the time they graduate high school in 2027 the shirts should be fitting a little better (tearing up a little thinking of them growing up so fast). 2028 Graduate

Want to make your own?  Just choose your year, download the pdf, and print it out on iron-on paper.

2026 Graduate

2027 Graduate

2028 Graduate

2029 Graduate

Need a different year?  Here it is in powerpoint so you can change the year: Graduate T-shirt adjustable year

And of course we take normal pictures too:

This is one of my favorite, just because they look so joyful

This is one of my favorite, just because they look so joyful

 

Another tradition is entering the school room.  I shut it down before we start school and work on getting everything clean and set up nicely (this was actually a huge project this year which I will blog about soon because I’m so proud of how it turned out).  This year I decorated the door a little to build up the excitement.

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And then we have all of their new school books sitting out on their desks.  In addition to the books are all kinds of special treats–scented markers, new crayons, smarties candies–just some things to make the day special and celebrate their new beginning.

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Family Plan for Summertime

It’s summertime.  If you’re anything like me you have big ideas for family fun and projects to get done but before you know it summer has sailed by.  That’s why I loved this idea of my sister’s so much.  (She also came up with the game in the last post which just proves that she provides the best ideas!)

Anyway, last summer she made this chart for her family with spaces for Work, Play, and Learn.  She called a family meeting and then everyone in the family used a different color to write their plans in each category.  Their summer was well-balanced and productive but still a lot of fun.

Summer Chart

We were doing school this summer and the girls would probably blur Work and Learn together so our chart this summer was a little different with Play, Learn, and Projects as our categories.

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This is such a quick easy way to focus your summer plans and make sure that everyone is on the same page.  I just think it’s such a great way to organize your summer!

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