Daily Doable 1/9/14

January 9, 2014 in Daily Doable

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Blog Post: “You are Priceless” Gift Idea Tutorial

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You Are Priceless Gift Idea Tutorial

January 9, 2014 in Christmas, Christmas Creations, Creating, Easter, Easter Creations, For Fun, Fun, Kids, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Creations, Valentine Creations, Valentine's Day

“You Are Priceless” Gift Idea Tutorial

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You see what I did there?  Gold wrapping on a candy bar, gold coins, and a gold gift card with a personalized $100 bill message?  Get it?  “You are Priceless”?  Yeah, it’s pretty cute.  I actually used these as gifts for friends and co-workers at Christmas, but this is a great idea for any occasion, birthdays, teacher appreciation, or valentines day.  It’s everything I love about being creative…inexpensive, adorable, and QUICK!  I have to say, it’s also really fun to print 100 dollar bills from your printer.  😉  

What You Need:

Gold wrapped candy bars

Chocolate gold coins

Gold colored gift card (mine was just $5 to Starbucks)

Small cellophane bags or gold wrap *I found both of these products at Joann.com

Gold packaging string

Fake $100 dollar bill

The Method:

Let’s start with the candy bars.  If you can find some that are already wrapped in gold, all the better.  Mine are a sugar-free chocolate bar I bought on sale from Costco, but Rolos and Hershey’s Nuggets are also wrapped in gold.  If you have a certain candy bar in mind then get yourself some gold wrapping paper and wrap it up.  I did this with Toblerones and it looked like a mini gold bar.  So cute!

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Now put your junk in your packaging.  I did some in clear plastic baggies and some wrapped up in gold cellophane.  I really couldn’t decide which I liked better.  Use what you have!  It’s going to be adorable regardless.  Inside I did one candy bar, a handful of chocolate gold coins (I love to get these in the bulk section from your grocery store), and the gold colored gift card.  Tie the whole thing up with yellow ribbon or gold curling ribbon.

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Now for the $100 dollar bills.  I have a color printer, but you can always have a few printed off for you at a copy store for super cheap.  I just did a search on the web for images of $100 dollar bills.  Here is the one I used.

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I simply copied the image, pasted it into a word program, and adjusted the size.  I was able to fit 3 on a page.  I used regular printer paper, but card stock would have been better (just thought of that).  I printed one side with the 3 bills then created a new document with my message, making sure to line up the words with the $100 bills.  I loved this because I could personalize each one but it was printed so it still looked really nice.  Mine said, “You are priceless!  Happy Holidays! Love, Sharla” .  I turned the printed $100 bill paper over and then printed the message on the back of each dollar.  Then I cut them out, used a hole punch and tied them to the package.  

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You know you love it!

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<3, Sharla

Class Carnival

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

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 me…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

The Things You Can Do In a Matter of Moments

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

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?  😉  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

Halloween Party/Play Date/Play Group Ideas

October 25, 2013 in Halloween, Halloween

7 Great Ideas for Halloween Party/Play Date/Play Group

Yeah, I don’t know how it happened but I ended up as room mom for my 8-year-old’s class and as such have had to get creative for the Halloween party.  I’m not too sad about the creative part, and I thought I’d share my ideas.  You’re Welcome.  😉

#1…Glow-in-the-Dark Spiders

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You Need:

Small clear cups with lids

Spider Web

Small glow sticks

Plastic spiders

How fun are these?!  Cute and simple.  Take a small clear cup with fitted lid (they’re actually jello shot glasses – hee hee) a mini glow stick, a tiny bit of spider web and a couple of plastic spiders.  Break the glow stick wrap the spider web around it, stick it in the cup and add the spiders.  

#2….Cracker Jack Mummies

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You Need:

Cracker Jacks

Computer Paper

White crepe paper

Googley eyes

Tape

Glue

Black Marker

First, take a regular piece of computer paper and wrap the Cracker Jacks like a present.  Then, take a long piece of crepe paper  and wrap it around the box, secure with tape.  Last, add the googley eyes with glue and a black marker for added facial cuteness.

#3….Gum Ball Necklaces

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You Need:

Gum Balls

Curling Ribbon

Exacto Knife

Large Needles

Ok, this one is way worth it but takes a little more prep work.  First, you need gum balls (shocking, I know).  Next you need to make the holes on either side.  I did this with an Exacto knife.  I just poked the tip of the knife into the gum ball and then twirled it around while applying pressure to make the hole on each side.  A little time consuming but easier than you might think.  What’s less time consuming is my husband washed and fitted his drill with a small drill bit and drilled the holes for me.  This was so much quicker and easier.  He drilled 200 gum balls in about an hour.

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Next, use a large needle and a long piece of curling ribbon (you know, the ribbon you wrap presents with that curl when you run the edge of scissors along it’s edge) just like a needle and thread.  String each gum ball onto the curling ribbon, and tie on.

#4….Dart Board and Punch Board

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This is a game meant to be played together.  Put folded pieces of paper with numbers on them into the balloons and create the balloon board (for complete instructions on how to make the balloon board click here).  Number the holes on the punch board and fill with prizes (for complete instructions on how to create the punch board click here).  Last use this list of number coordinated Halloween Howlers and begin!  First the kid pops a balloon.  Then they use the number inside the balloon to act out the silly action found on the Halloween Howler PDF.  I made a list of Halloween Howlers (silly spooky actions) and included the PDF so all you have to do is click and print.  Last, they punch the coordinating number on the punch board and pull out a prize.  Alone, each activity is short, but together they make a great game.

#5…Leaf Creatures

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You Need:

Paper Bags

Glue

Googley eyes

Ok, this was inspired by the book Leaf Man.  It would be fun to read the book first and look a the pictures before you start this activity.  Here in Utah, we had a little bit of a late cool down, so when I did this project with the kids the leaves hadn’t changed colors yet and we may have made a few bald spots on the bushes, but you get the point.  Give the kids bags and go hunting.  Gather what ever they like and head inside.  For little kids I just did a big squiggle of glue on the page and they stuck their leaves then added eyes (because everything is more fun with googley eyes).  Older kids can really get creative turning their leaves different ways to make actual pictures.  Great for all ages.

#6…Sucker Ghosts (suckers as in actual suckers, not the kids)

 

 

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You Need:

Suckers (I like Blow Pops, they’re nice and big)

Cheese cloth cut into squares or tissues

Yarn or curling ribbon

Black Marker

This is a classic, you can use tissues or cheese cloth but the idea is the same.  Drape your cheese cloth over the sucker and tie with some yarn or curing ribbon.  Add eyes and a mouth with black marker and…BAM…spooky Halloween treats.

#7…Spooky Treat Scene

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You Need:

Graham Crackers

Frosting

Black Food Coloring

Pretzels

Various Candies

How cute and easy?!  Simply use black food coloring to color frosting, and the rest is self explanatory.  Gather a few cute treats to decorate with and go to town.  Upside down peanut butter cup with a pretzel is a witches broom, peep ghost, gummy worm, and candy corn pumpkin.

<3, Sharla

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Daily Doable 10/9/13

October 9, 2013 in Daily Doable

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Daily Doable 9/12/13

September 12, 2013 in Daily Doable

Blog Post: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Party!

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Party

September 11, 2013 in Kids, Parties

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Party

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Ok people, get ready to pee your pants over the cutest party ever!  No, I can’t take the credit for it, but I had to blog it because it is just too cute.  

So here’s the story…when I bought my IP address for the blog I did it through FatCow.  The thing about using FatCow as my Web Host is that they are AWESOME!  No, they did not pay me to say that, they really just are.  I have all kinds of help and benefits, and an account rep who is specifically assigned to my account.  Naturally, I’ve gotten to know my account rep because the truth is, I am not web savy, like, at all.  Her name is Angelina and she is not only super helpful but is also really fun to talk to.  She graciously signed up to follow my blog which lead to conversations about what she does to be creative which lead to conversations about the parties she has done for her daughter, which lead to this blog post!  Yes, someone who was a complete stranger turned out to be a long distance friend and blog contributor.  I’m sorry, but I think that’s pretty cool.  So, a big thanks to Angelina for sharing her ideas and pics.  I know you will be blown away, like I was.

This is what Angelina wrote: “Equipped with “Charlie Bucket’s” as a party favor, a golden ticket, candy bar, wonka fountain, and believe it or not, I had someone dress up as an oompa loompa LOL…the other thing I did was I made my home interior trees and turned them into candy trees (just like in the movie when they first walk through the hallway) I used colored tissue paper to make the big gobstober balls and just covered Styrofoam balls…and I threw green xmas tinsel so they looked a lil weepy and the best part??? I raided the entire section of nerd candy rope at the dollar store and hung that from the trees.”

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Here is a pic of the invite…I’m sorry, but a golden ticket?!  Seriously, adorable and cleaver.

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Once you get there you must sign the guest registry (just like the movie), and it also serves as a way to keep track of who gave what present for thank you cards.

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How about a candy bar (they are at the candy factory, after all) complete with chocolate fountain.  So cute and yummy.

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And what party is complete without a take home.  Angelina printed out a label for a small bucket that was filled with candy.  To-die-for!

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This woman is a genius, right?!  

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And beautiful!  Thanks again, Angelina!

<3, Sharla