by Sharla

Class Carnival

December 30, 2013 in Christmas, Easter, For Fun, Fun, Halloween, Halloween, Kids, Parties, Valentine's Day by Sharla

Class Carnival!

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Ok, best party ever!  Have you ever tried to put together a class party for a bunch of 3rd graders?  It’s super hard!  They are too old for stories and simple crafts, too cool to do anything cute or silly, yet too young for spin the bottle (just kidding).  Seriously, this is a hard age to please, but this party went over with a bang.

I call it The Christmas Carnival, but had to make it a bit more PC and changed it to The Class Carnival.  The kids didn’t care a bit about the title, they just cared about the fun.  These games and activities would work for any holiday or event for kids.  Come get some ideas!

Station 1:  Ball Toss

Remember The Bozo the Clown Show?  It’s on the cusp of my memory as a kid, but one game always stood out to meā€¦the Ball Toss Game.  I just knew I would rock it!  And the prizes were legit.  Turns out, kids don’t need a prize to have fun.  These guys loved the challenge.

You need:

5-6 buckets (I got mine at the dollar store) 

Pingpong balls (again, dollar store)

It’s as easy as it looks; line the buckets up in a long line and give the kids a ball to toss.  They have to make it in the buckets starting with the first going all the way to the end.  If you want to make it more complicated you can limit the number of balls they throw, or add small prizes for each bucket.  If they make the bucket they get the prize inside.  These guys were more than happy to just try. 

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Station 2:  Gingerbread Fred Decorating

The class spent the month of December working on their “Gingerbread Fred”.  They made their own gingerbread man then created a journal with stories and pictures of what they did with their gingerbread men during the month.  Decorating and eating a gingerbread man was the perfect treat for this party.

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Gingerbread men that aren’t home made are hard to come by!  I ended up buying tubes of Pillsbury gingerbread dough, then I rolled them out and baked them at home.  This was a great product, tasty and easy to work with, just make sure to flour the edges of the dough generously.  Want a festive way to keep cookie mess from getting all over the class room?  Cover the cookie area with wrapping paper.  Easy clean up and festive!

You Need:

Frosting

Candy

Wrapping Paper

Gingerbread Cookies

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Station 3:  Reindeer Antler Decorating

I bought these from Oriental Trading Company in a packet of 12.  It came complete with everything you need to make your antlers adorable.  It was also very affordable.  The kids loved it. 

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Station 4:  Cookie Face

This is a classic Minute-to-Win-It game.  You tilt your head back, place an animal cookie on your forehead then you have to work the cookie to your mouth without using your hands.  We made the rule that if the cookie fell on the floor you were out.  If it fell but you caught it, you could try again (that way we don’t have nasty germs getting in their mouths).  We were a little stingy with the cookies, they only got one shot, but so many come in a bag, next time I would let them try more.

You need:

Frosted Animal Cookies (easy)

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Station 4:  Kisses Match Game

This is straight off of Pinterest.  Simple, fun, easy, and they get to keep their winnings.  This game was a huge success.  Click here or the picture below to see the link.  Or click the Pinterest icon on the side of the blog to visit my boards.  :)

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Station 5:  Face Painting

No, shut up.  This really happened.  I know a company called Changing Faces and Balloons and they are done a ton of events that I’ve been to.  They are top notch.  Their face painting, balloon animals and clowns are amazing.  Since the party was a carnival, face painting seemed like a magical and fun touch.  So I got in touch with the owner, Sharon Neilson, and she agreed to donate her time to come to the class and paint faces!  This was the highlight of the party.  She worried that some kids might be a little too cool to do it, but when you have two college rivalries in town, the kids were more than willing to plaster their favorite team’s logo on their face.  Some were whimsical, some were silly.  My own son opted for a historical feel, yes, he asked to have the Titanic.  Sharon can do just about anything and she proved it!  She has has own amazing story that is worth checking out.  Click here to learn more about how her company came to be or visit her Facebook page and see more of her masterpieces.

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The thing is, you don’t have to have a pro do something perfect for the kids to love it.  Get some stencils and have a mom volunteer.  This was a fun addition to the party.  Even Mrs. Florez, the teacher had hers done!  It really created a festive feeling.

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Some other fun additions were balloons on a stick.  These were my gift to the class.  I purchased the balloons and sticks at a local party supply store and for 25 balloons and sticks it was about $5.00.  It was and impressive and fun addition that was low cost.

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Finally, I just couldn’t help myself.  Between the reindeer antlers and carnival theme I had to have a carnival take home gift.  I bought these “party invitations” in a set of 12 from Oriental Trading Company.  The boxes were beautiful and sturdy and included a party blower and clown nose (to double as Rudolph’s).  I added inexpensive sticky mittens, a chocolate gold coin and a few Hi Chew (because every kids I know is obsessed with them).  It was a hit.

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As far as parties go, this could go any direction you want.  Christmas, birthday, Valentines, Halloween, New Years, Easter or even summer fun.  Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

The Things You Can Do In a Matter of Moments

December 23, 2013 in For Fun, Fun, Kids, Parties by Sharla

The Things You Can Do In a Matter of Moments

Sharon Neilson: The Balloon Lady

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Yes, she is the “balloon lady”, the woman who does washable masterpieces on kid’s faces, the beautiful clown.  This is the founder of Changing Faces and Balloons.  But that’s not why I love her.  She is a woman with a heart of gold, and this is the story of how she built a company from the ground up by making children happy.

I know, it may seem like this is a random post for this time of year, but actually, its not.  That’s the beauty of having your own blog, you get to write about what ever you want when ever you want, and I want!  I first met Sharon at a “3rd of July” party some friends of mine had.  This party had it all.  Snow cones, fireworks, food, games, prizes, and of course, face painting and balloon animals (yes, I will be blogging this party in the future, it’s the end all of great parties).  Anyway, the first year we went we had no idea what we were in for.  It was the most family fun we had had at a party.  And a huge part of it was the face painting and balloon artist the hosts had hired.  The balloons were complicated and creative, and the face painting was unlike anything I had seen.  It was breath taking.  I had to know who these people were!  As it turns out the company is a local one based in Salt Lake called Changing Faces and Balloons.  I had to see more.  We ran into her at another party a friend of ours was having for their son who has Down Syndrome.  Sharon was a natural with him.  His party was Spiderman themed and she painted his face just like Spidy’s mask.  It was awesome, but what’s more amazing was how she handled him.  She was patient and sweet.  For a kid that might have hated having his face painted she worked with him.  It was nothing short of touching to watch.

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(Yeah, that’s my man in the Spidy costume.)

From there I hired her company myself to do parties and her work as amazing every time.  Then I got roped into being the room mom for my son’s 3rd grade class, which means I got the job of party planning.  So I got to thinking, wouldn’t I  be the coolest if I could get her to come and do some face painting for the party?  šŸ˜‰  So I gave her a call and we got to talking.  What I found out about her was nothing short of inspiring.

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About 30 years ago she was a photographer for Life Touch Photography traveling to schools and doing school pictures.  She said she loved it!  She loved being creative and working with the kids.  Then she had her first baby boy Matt who was later diagnosed with Autism.  Then her daughter, Laura was born, and finally her youngest, Andrew.  Having three little ones at home is already a handful, but shortly after Andrew was born he stopped breathing.  It was sudden, unexpected and horrifying.  They rushed him to the hospital and he was revived, with no detectable brain damage.  But, as he grew in age and size, his mind remained stagnant.  He never progressed passed the abilities of 6-18 month old baby.  Suddenly, everything changed.  She wanted to go back to the work she loved and help provide for her kids, but because of the very unique and special needs of her sons she couldn’t take them to a traditional day care.  She even looked into in-home sitters but no one was willing or qualified to take care of her kids with special needs. So, she took action.  She needed to be a stay at home mom but also needed a job that had a flexible schedule.  

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One day a friend roped her into dressing up as a clown.  Yes, you read that right.  They had an auction for their local boy scouts chapter and her friend needed a clown.  So Sharon scrounged together a costume and wig and went at it.  And do you know what she found out?  That is was fun!  She did face painting with no prior experience and acrylic paint (and, as she puts is, poorly) and faked her way through the whole thing.  It gave her an idea.  With a little training and research this might be a viable source of income for her family as well as something she could love!  The next step was to get a better costume and some training.  She signed up for a local clown convention (seriously, that’s a real thing) and practiced.  She got some tips on making balloons and face painting and practiced some more.  

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The first year she went to the convention she made the first cut in the competition.  Then next year she got to the the finals.  The third year she took first prize.  It was the beginning of something great, Changing Faces and Balloons was born.  The beginning of her company.  The beginning of a life full of laughter, fun, and most importantly, family.

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As she grew in popularity her need for more hands became apparent.  She approached and hired moms just like her.  Women with talents and kids with special needs.  Women who needed to help their families while at the same time being available to their families when they were needed.  To me, this is the most inspiring part of what she has created.  She brings joy to kids everywhere while providing an opportunity for people who other wise may not have been able to be dedicated to families.

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When Sharon talks about her kids, she most stresses that she is not sad for them.  They are not people to be pitied.  She considers them a blessing and a joy.  Andrew is now 23.  She calls him her 23-year-old baby and the look that crosses her face when she talks about him is a mixture of contentment and joy.  She said to me once that every need is special.  That is what her company gives to kids.  Sharon make a great point the positive impact we can have on the lives of those around us.  I watched her paint the faces of 23 kids in about an hour, all for free.  Just as a gesture of good will.  She constantly does charitable work for many organizations, particularly ones for kids with special needs.  Sharon says, “The things you can do in a matter of moments”.  In moments we can impact the world for good.  I have seen her do it time and again.  It is priceless.  She is a woman that I will strive to be more like.  

Sharon, thank you for sharing your story.  Especially during a time of year when we are looking to fill the needs of others, this is a great lesson to learn and strive to live every day.

If you would like to hire Sharon for your next event or follow her company, Changing Faces and Balloons on Facebook click here! 

Or contact her at 801-964-9615.

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

Daily Doable 12/16/13

December 16, 2013 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Advice for Avoiding the Long Lines at the Post Office!

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by Sharla

Daily Doable 12/10/13

December 10, 2013 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Create A New Christmas Tradition!

Click here or any of the pictures to watch the Daily Doable!

Here are a few more pics of our newest Christmas Tradition, the Elf on the Shelf…

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These last ones are of Davis’s school project they are starting about ginger bread Fred.  His job was to decorate the gingerbread man and then take various pictures of Fred doing fun holiday activities.  I guess the elf likes having someone around his own size.

 

by Sharla

Daily Doable 12/9/13

December 9, 2013 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Blog Post: DIY Princess/Vampire Cloak Tutorial!

Click here or any other the pictures to watch the Daily Doable!

by Sharla

Princess/Vampire Cape Tutorial

December 8, 2013 in Christmas, Halloween, Halloween, Kids, Sewing, Sewing for Fun, Sewing for Holidays, Sewing for Kids by Sharla

DIY Princess/Vampire Cape Tutorial

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Where do I begin with this.  It started out of a needā€¦several years ago, when my oldest daughter and her best friend were choosing Halloween costumes.  Yes, that’s where it all began.  Abby (bestie of Olivia) needed a princess type cape to where with her Halloween costume.   Something that matched but that would also eliminate the need for a coat, because what’s the biggest tragedy on Halloween?  Having a great costume and then having to cover it with your dumb old winter coat!  So I thought, “self, I bet I could make a lovely cloak that is basically a blanket.  Problem solved.  Adorable and functional.  Well, the first one turned out so great that I had to make one for my own daughter, which lead to the vampire design for my little guy, and so on.  And here we are today.  This is one of my favorite creations.  If you can sew a straight line you can make this cloak.  Its beautiful, durable, and DO-ABLE!

What you need:

  • 1 yard of sparkle costume satin
  • 1 yard of fleece
  • 1 1/2 yards tying cord
  • 3 yards of trim (optional)
  • thread
  • ruler
  • marking chalk
  • scissors

The Method:

We need to get the inner lining lined up the the outer.  So lay the fleece down first right side up.  Then lay your sparkle satin on top right side down.  Now simply measure over from the salvage edge 47″ and cut them both at the same time.

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If you are using the ruffle trim or the ball trim do this step.  If you are doing no trim, skip to the next.

Take just your sparkle satin and measure 5″ down on both ends of the long side.  This is where you will start and stop sewing the trim on.  

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Now fold the edge of the trim over and sew it so that the end of the trim is finished.  This is necessary if you are using ruffle or lace, but not with the ball trim.   Pin the trim to the sparkle satin right sides together (some trims don’t have a “right” side, just make sure you are sewing it on the right side of the sparkle satin with the trim facing into the cape).  Once it’s pinned, sew a straight stitch all the way around to secure the trim.  When sewing the corners simply keep the needle down in the fabric at the corner, lift your presser foot, turn the fabric so the next row is ready to go and put the foot back down.  This creates a perfect corner.

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Next you are going to sandwich the trim between the sparkle satin and the fleece.  So lay the fleece on top of the sparkle satin and pin all the way around. You will only sew 3 sides together, starting and ending where the trim starts and stoping where the trim ends.  Do the corners the same as when you sewed on the trim.

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Check it out, you have the beginnings of a cape!  I know working with fleece can be tricky because it has a huge amount of stretch.  So once this step is done trim off any extra fleece that is not lining up.

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 Now flip the whole thing right side out and push the corners out so that they are pointed and not bunched.  The next step is decorative and important.  Just start where the trim does and sew a straight line all the way around the cape right along the edge, about a 1/2″ seam allowance.

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 The main part of the cape is done.  Now we need to finish the two short edges that do not have trim.  Separate the satin and the fleece and turn the fabric in about 1/2″ like a hem.  Sew a straight line on the sating then do the fleece.  Do this step again on the other side.

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Next we are going to create the pouch for the draw string to go through.  Lay the cloak out flat and measure 5″ down from the top of the cape, marking with chalk all along the length.  Do it again measuring 4″ down.  Now you have two lines, 1″ wide.  Use a straight stitch and sew along both lines.  When this is done you can see that the pocket is created and the edges the the draw string comes out of is also finished.  Hooray!

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You are ready for the last part.  You need to close the top of the cape.  The who short edges are already finished so along the top fold each fabric in about 1″ inward and pin.  Then starting at the top of the drawstring casing sew a straight line, turning at the corner and sew all along the top and then down again to the edge of the other side.  When you get to the other side of the casing sometimes you have some extra fabric that has stretched.  Just trim and tuck it in as best as possible and sew it closed.  Don’t stress if it isn’t perfect, I promise, no one will notice.

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Ok, let’s talk drawstring.  What ever you chose to use you need to finish the edge so it doesn’t fray.  I do this simply by putting a generous glob of hot glue on it.  When it’s dried use a large safety pin and stick it into the draw string.

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Now, use the safety pin  and insert it into the draw string casing on one side and work it through the whole casing to the other side.  Just kind of push and bunch the fabric and then smooth the safety pin through. 

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 When you get to the other side, TA DA!  All finished!

Don’t have the time to make this cape?  Click here or the Etsy box to visit my Etsy shop to order one already made!

<3, Sharla

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by Sharla

Daily Doable 12/6/13

December 6, 2013 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Know When to Say “No”!

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by Sharla

Daily Doable 12/4/13

December 4, 2013 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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DIY Leg Warmers!

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by Sharla

Daily Doable 12/3/13

December 3, 2013 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Start a New Christmas Tradition!

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by Sharla

Daily Doable 12/2/13

December 2, 2013 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Remembering Tiffany Howell.  One year ago today she left this earth, but the separation is temporary.  We love you Tif.

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Tiffany Anne Howell
1994 – 2012
After a more than two-year fight against cancer, Tiffany Anne Howell, one of the great lights of our lives, passed away on December 2, 2012, while surrounded by her family. Though her body was ravaged by the effects of her illness, her spirit remained unsubdued. She lasted far longer than many thought she would and brought herself back from the brink multiple times. She handled her trials with a grace and optimism that amazed all those around her.
Tiffany was born on July 9, 1994, and quickly became friends with everyone she met. She was best known for her big, beautiful smile that had a way of making everyone around her feel better. As an Alta High School Hawk, her blood was bright red but as an accepted BYU student, it also ran true blue. She loved the time that she spent with the Alta volleyball team as their manager. She was an active member in her LDS ward, where she served as the Laurel Class President. Shortly before her passing, she achieved one of her major goals in life, that of going to the temple, which she called the best day of her life.
She was preceded in death by her grandfather Mototsugu Ueno. She is survived by her parents Matt and Hillary; her grandparents Terue Ueno and Rex and Jean Howell; her brothers Brian, Reagan, and Christian; sisters Rachel and Ashley; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

To add your condolences visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tiffany.howell1