Daily Doable 6/13/14

June 13, 2014 in Daily Doable, Kids

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Meet Sawyer’s New Friend!

The kids and I were at the pool one day, the sun was shining, the weather was perfect, and with the pool noodle in hand, Sawyer (my 3-year-old) had the nerve to get bored!  He was ready to go but the other kids weren’t.  Bummer for me.  I was left trying to entertain a grouchy, tired toddler.  That’s when his new friend was born.  Simply twist the strap of some goggles around the end of a pool noodle and position the eyes over the top edge.  He was trilled!  He talked to the noodle, taught it to swim and then I used it to attack him from the comfort of my pool chair.  Funoodle Friend, don’t ever leave me!

<3, Sharla

Daily Doable 6/4/14

June 4, 2014 in Daily Doable, Kids

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Daily Doable: No More Teachers, No More Books!

Hallelujah!  Finally, school is out for summer!  I have been anticipating this day more than anyone, even my kids.  Ok, teachers have anticipated it more, I bet.  I love having free time with my kids.  I love spoiling them with TV, electronics, and laziness.  But I love spending un-pressured time with them more.  I feel like during the school year we are ruled by schedules.  Time to get up.  Time to eat breakfast.  Time to go to school.  Time to do homework.  Time to go to practice.  Time to eat.  Time to brush teeth.  Time for bed.  It’s a continuous cycle of pushing and prodding.  In other words, it’s exhausting.  Who knew my when my kids started school it would be like I was doing it all over again with them?  So, here we are.  A sumer stretching out in front of us, how will you spend it?  I challenge you to spoil them.  Give them extra time doing the things they can’t do during the school year.  That means something different to every family, so figure out what it is that would make your kids over-the-moon happy to do, and let them do it.  A lot.  Then, after they are through gorging themselves on their favorite pass-time, give them your time.  Whether they realize it or not, kids crave the company of their parents.  Be silly, do a craft, take them to the park.  Set a goal to spend time with your kids.  It can be an hour a day or an activity a week, but take the extra time summer allows and give it to your kids.  Childhood is short and there are precious few summers in it, so make this one a great one!

<3, Sharla

Daily Doable 6/2/14

June 2, 2014 in Cooking, Daily Doable

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Daily Doable: Use Toothpicks as Corn Cob Holders

Yeah, you read that right, use toothpicks to stick into the ends of corn on the cob and use them as holders.  Because they are wood you can even put them into the corn before it’s cooked, that way there are no third degree burns (don’t laugh, I know ya’ll have done it).  This idea was born as most great ideas are, out of necessity!  My kids have lost so many corn cob holders that I can’t keep them in the house (ok, maybe one or two have gone down the disposal).  And they cry a river every time they want one.  That’s when inspiration strikes.  They are easy to push in, and completely disposable.  Plus, who doesn’t have toothpicks laying around?!  So, bring on the BBQ, you didn’t know it, but you are prepared.

<3, Sharla

Fruit and Nut Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

June 2, 2014 in Cooking, Sides

Fruit and Nut Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

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Ok, I’m not a big salad girl.  It’s not what I order when I go to restaurants (I mean, if someone else is cooking for me I want them to make me something I would never make at home…preferably with a lot of calories).  Having said that I do enjoy certain salads and  this is one of my all time favorites, a real go-to recipe that always pleases.  I use the apples in the fall and winter and strawberries in spring and summer.  It’s simple, beautiful, fresh and most importantly, DELICIOUS!  

Did I mention this recipe is simple?  One of the things I love about itjust a few ingredients and the recipe lends itself to substitutions if you don’t have exactly what you need.

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What else do I love about it?  Home made caddied almonds.  Buying candied almonds from the store is expensive!  Buy a bag of almonds from the bulk aisle or Costco, if they don’t have pre-sliced just pules some in a food processor a few times, follow the recipe below, and BAM, delightfulness.

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Enough talk, let’s cook!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 candied almonds *recipe below
  • 6 cups green leaf lettuce
  • 1/4 cup Craisins
  • 1/4 cup diced strawberries or apples
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta or blue cheese

Method:

It’s simple, wash and pat dry your lettuce.  You can substitute any green you like, spinach, mixed greens, or romaine.  If you buy the bunch instead of the bag you will save a lot of money!  Next, slice the greens into bite sized pieces.

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Put your lettuce in a large bowl and sprinkle your toppings over it.  I prefer the combinations of apples, Craisins, Feta and almonds; or strawberries, blue cheese and almonds and no Craisins.  Honestly, choose what you like and put it on top.  Just make sure you use the candied almonds, a fruit and a cheese.  Once the toppings are on top don’t mix it!  All of the good stuff falls to the bottom.  As people dish it out it will mix itself.  

Serve with your favorite poppyseed dressing and wow the crowd!

 

Candied Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced or chopped almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Method:

First, lay out a large piece of aluminum foil.  In a medium sauce pan comine the almonds, sugar and water.

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Turn the burner onto medium/high heat and stir the almonds continuously until they start to smell roasted and stick together.  Be careful to not over cook them.  It happens in a second and then the whole batch is burnt!

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Pour the almonds onto the prepared foil and spread apart with your spoon.  Allow to cool and store in an air tight container for future use.

*I always double this recipe, it makes and ton and saves great!

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Now everyone stop what you are doing and go make this salad!

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<3, Sharla

 

Fruit and Nut Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 candied almonds
  2. 6 cups green leaf lettuce
  3. 1/4 cup Craisins
  4. 1/4 cup diced strawberries or apples
  5. 1/4 cup crumbled Feta or blue cheese
Instructions
  1. It's simple, wash and pat dry your lettuce.
  2. Next, slice the greens into bite sized pieces.
  3. Put your lettuce in a large bowl and sprinkle your toppings over it. Once the toppings are on top don't mix it! All of the good stuff falls to the bottom. As people dish it out it will mix itself.
  4. Serve with your favorite poppyseed dressing and wow the crowd!
Notes
  1. You can substitute any green you like, spinach, mixed greens, or romaine.
  2. I prefer the combinations of apples, Craisins, Feta and almonds; or strawberries, blue cheese and almonds and no Craisins. Honestly, choose what you like and put it on top. Just make sure you use the candied almonds, a fruit and a cheese.
This Is Do-Able http://www.thisisdoable.com/

 

Candied Almonds
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sliced or chopped almonds
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Lay out a large piece of aluminum foil.
  2. In a medium sauce pan comine the almonds, sugar and water.
  3. Turn the burner onto medium/high heat and stir the almonds continuously until they start to smell roasted and stick together. Be careful to not over cook them. It happens in a second and then the whole batch is burnt!
  4. Pour the almonds onto the prepared foil and spread apart with your spoon.
  5. Allow to cool and store in an air tight container for future use.
Notes
  1. I always double this recipe, it makes and ton and saves great!
This Is Do-Able http://www.thisisdoable.com/

Ribs

August 28, 2013 in Cooking, Main Dish

Mmmmm Hmmmm, Ribs!

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I love this recipe for rib prep.  It’s so easy and so delicious!  Make it in the summer or even the winter.  Serioulsy, we eat ribs year round.

 

Ingredients:

1 Rack Ribs

2 12 oz cans Tomato juice

1 Tablespoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning

1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Salt

Barbque Sauce

 

The Method:

First preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Next, you need to separate your ribs.  The easiest way to do this is use a pair of kitchen shears and cut them apart making piecees that have 3-4 ribs each.

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Next lay them bone side down in a greased 9×13″ baking dish.   Season the top with the lemon pepper and garlic salt.  Fill the bottom of the pan using the tomato juice, but be sure not to pour the juice over the top of the ribs.  Just pour it down the side of the pan so it makes a layer on the bottom.  You may not need all of the juice, stop filling when the juice starts to come up over the the top of the ribs.

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Now, cover them and bake for 1 hour at 400.  When the hour is up DO NOT TAKE THEM OUT OF THE OVEN.  Simply turn the oven off and let the ribs rest in the cooking oven until you are ready to cook them on the grill.

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When grilling time comes just slather them with a little BBQ sauce and warm them on a hot grill.

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Enjoy!

<3, Sharla

Ribs
Serves 4
Great prepartion recipe for moist, tender ribs.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 5 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 5 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Rack Ribs
  2. 2 12 oz Cans Tomato Juice
  3. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  4. 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Salt Seasong
  5. 2 Cups BBQ Sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using kitchen shears cut the ribs apart making piecees that have 3-4 ribs each.
  3. Lay the sections bone side down in a greased 9x13" baking dish.
  4. Season the top with the lemon pepper and garlic salt.
  5. Fill the bottom of the pan using the tomato juice; be sure not to pour the juice over the top of the ribs. Just pour it down the side of the pan so it makes a layer on the bottom. You may not need all of the juice, stop filling when the juice starts to come up over the the top of the ribs.
  6. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 400. When the hour is up DO NOT TAKE THEM OUT OF THE OVEN. Simply turn the oven off and let the ribs rest in the oven until you are ready to cook them on the grill.
  7. Baste in BBQ sauce and grill 5 minutes or until heated through.
Notes
  1. I cook my ribs in the afternoon, letting them rest for several hours.
Adapted from The Pampered Chef
Adapted from The Pampered Chef
This Is Do-Able http://www.thisisdoable.com/

Summer Party/Game Ideas

August 24, 2013 in Fun, Kids, Parties

Summer Party/Game Ideas
 
Ok everyone, I know the last days of July are sliding past us, but summer isn’t over yet.  There is still plenty of time for fun outside with family and friends.  So I challenge you to have one more big party before school gets back in, and I have to games to make your party a hit.
 
Every year Amy M and her family have a 24th of July party.  What is the 24th of July, you ask?  It’s Pioneer day in Utah, the day this state was founded.  Another excuse to eat, celebrate and set off fireworks.  She has a great view of the professional kind from her yard so she has the party, and then everyone gets to watch the fireworks at the end.  It’s super fun.  But what’s a party without food…

Drinks…

and FUN?!

Check out the cute signage Amy made…everything was labeled.  Drinks (to include specifying who can drink what…very important for under 21-ers), cupcakes, deserts…everything!  She just googled “4th of July printables” and then photo shopped them.

 Not to mention the sugar rimmed, chevron striped straws and mason jars for the drinks.  See them on the left?

The blue jug is full of home made root beer and how about the added detail of home popped popcorn in pre-made bags for watching the fireworks.  Adorable and delicious!

But I ask you, what’s a party without games?  Every year Amy and her very cool husband, Kelly, set up an enormous slip-n-slide on the enormous hill beside their house.  All it is is a long sheet of plastic you buy at Home Depot, a sprinkler at the top, a few well placed tent stakes and dish soap.  You heard me, dish soap.  The kids played on this for hours.  The plastic sheeting is about $20 but they rinse it off every year, fold it up and its good to go for the next year to come.  Classic.

Bounce house?  Um, yes.

This game was a blast, and the kids “ate it up”.  All you need are some paper plates, bubble gum, and a whole lot of whipped cream.  Every kid gets a plate.  Put an unwrapped piece of bubble gum on it and then cover that puppy as high as it will go with whipped cream.  Now they have to find the gum, with no hands!  Yes, we did prizes, the winner got a 4 pack of bubble gum, of course!

Here’s an idea to keep kids busy…buy a pack of water balloons with the nozzle that you hook up to the facet in the backyard and let the kids go crazy.  The kids all took turns working to fill up balloons for an epic battle for later in the night.  I bought special grenade water balloons for a classic balloon toss.  Everyone gets a partner and stands across from their partner and take turns tossing the balloon back and forth taking a step back every time they pass. You play until only one team has a balloon left.  Easy, fun, classic.

Next we played my favorite game to make and the play.  It was balloon darts and punch board.  Wanna learn to make your very own balloon dart board, click here.  How about the punch board, click here.
I loved these two games because it took a little longer, and everyone got a prize. 
Each balloon had a number in it….

 The kids threw darts until they popped a balloon and got their number…

 The numbers coordinated with numbers on these punch boards…

 They punch their number and get the prize inside.

Don’t worry, we’re not even close to being done yet.  The next game was easy.  You need a long pole, string, and doughnuts.  Tie a doughnut to a sting and then tie the string to the pole.  Have two adults hold the pole up limbo style.  Now, ready, set, GO!  The kids race to see who finishes their doughnut first…USING NO HANDS!  
 
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Hey, that kid is cheating! :)
 
Now, because you can only fit so many bodies under a pole you may have to do this one in waves.  Then you take the winner of each wave and they have a marshmallow-play off.  Parent lines up with kid and the parent has 1 minute to toss as many marshmallows into the kids mouth as he can.  Have someone count for each team.  At the end of the minute, the person who caught the most marshmallows in their mouths is the winner!
 
 
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Finally, at the end of the night everyone got glow sticks and they took their water balloon arsenal and had their epic water balloon battle in the dark.

A big thanks to Amy M and her husband Kelly for yet another fantastic 24th!

<3, SharlaWant to make he punch board and/or balloon dark board?
Click PUNCH BOARD or BALLOON DARTS to visit the tutorial.

 

Punch Board Tutorial

Fruit Dip

August 15, 2013 in Appetizers, Cooking, Deserts, Sides

Best Fruit Dip EVER!

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No, really, I’m not just saying that so you will click on my blog.  I use this fruit dip as a side for fruit (go figure), for strawberry short cake, and for secretly eating out of the fridge shamefully in the middle of the night with my fingers.  It’s that good.  Oh yeah, and it’s only two ingredients.  Your welcome, in advance.

Recipe:

1 Bar Cream Cheese, softened

1 Small jar Marshmallow Fluff

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The Method:

Um, mix them together on high speed for a bit.  

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Then EAT, EAT, EAT!

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Told ya it was easy….<3, Sharla

Fruit Dip
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 8 oz bar cream cheese
  2. 1 7 oz jar Marshmallow Fluff
Instructions
  1. Let cream cheese soften on counter for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Put both ingredients in mixer and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
  3. Serve with fruit!
Notes
  1. The longer the cream cheese sits out, the better. 30 minutes is the minimum but a couple hours is idea. You can also put it in the microwave for 20 seconds if you're in a hurry.
This Is Do-Able http://www.thisisdoable.com/

 

 

Sesame Seed Grilled Chicken

August 5, 2013 in Cooking, Healthy, Main Dish

Sesame Seed Grilled Chicken

I am so excited that the season has finally come to clean off the grill, stop using the oven and get outside!  I am serious about grilling, so much so that I have a built in grill (I’ve been known to grill with snow on the ground).  It’s healthy, fast, yummy and seriously cuts down on clean up.  
 
So, this recipe has been kicked around in my family since we were kids.  My twin, Sharma, and I have done some serious tinkering with it and we feel we have reached perfection, and you’re going to love it!
 
Grilled Chicken
 
The Recipe:
 
4-6 Boneless skinless chicken breasts or your choice of fish
1/2 cup honey, heated
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 finger ginger, pealed and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
3-4 healthy shakes from your sesame seed shaker
 
The Technique:
 
First things first, put your chicken breasts in a large bag and add all of the ingredients.  I love to marinate in a bag, it’s clean and easy.  I actually put the breasts in frozen, added all the ingredients and then let the chicken defrost in the marinade.  Let marinate 8 hours or over night.  If you’re doing fish only marinate 30-60 minutes.
 
When you’re ready to cook don’t dump your marinade down the sink!  Pour it into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer while you cook the chicken.  You don’t need to add anything, just cook it and it’s fantastic as a sauce.
 
Now for the awesome part, the grilling.  You are about to be let in on the grilling chicken secret to perfect breasts (hee hee).  I’m pretty sure this technique came from Food Network, but I don’t know by who.  Preheat your grill to high then scrape and clean it off.  Turn the heat to medium and give it a few minutes to adjust.  Place your breasts on all going the same direction then set the timer for 2 minutes.  I cut my breasts in half because they were huge, so they look more like giant chicken tenders.  The hot grill will give you a nice seared line, and at the end of the two minutes do you flip it?  NO!
 
You turn the breasts 1/4 of a turn and keep grilling them on the same side another 2 minutes.  When you flip it, they will look like this…
 
So pretty!  Now you’re going to do the same thing on the other side.  2 minutes, turn a 1/4 of a turn and cook another 2 minutes.  Now check the internal temp of the chicken.  You want it to be 180 degrees.  I usually have to cook an additional 2-4 minutes to reach that temp.  When they’re done, pull them off and tent with foil until you’re ready to serve.  Now, let’s go back to the sauce…
 
Once it’s had a chance to simmer you can either just spoon it over the chicken and rice and/or I sliced yellow squash, brushed it on top and then broiled it.  It is a very delicious and sweet taste for veggies.
 
I actually served mine over wheat bulgur. with the squash and a pasta salad.  This will not be the last time I make this recipe this season.  ENJOY!
 
<3, Sharla

Punch Board Tutorial

August 1, 2013 in Fun, Kids, Parties

Punch Board Tutorial
 
This is one of the best games I have ever made.  I have used the punch board in primary (put scripture quotes in some holes, songs in others and stories in others), for class parties, and for summer parties.  Really, this thing could be used for kids and adults for a million different ideas.  I made two and used them both every time, the tutorial is for one board so double it up if you want two.
 
 
 
You Will Need:
-1 piece corrugated poster board (you know, the kind with the foam core, its with regular poster board, I’ve also seen this done with plywood)
-15 paper lunch sacks
-Scissors
-Elmer’s Glue
-Gift Paper or Tissue Paper
-Tape
 
Let’s Do This:
 
1. Prepare the poster board.  I was able to get 5 holes across and 3 holes down for a total of 15 holes.  I did not grab a compass and protractor to accomplish this, I just found a bowl that was a good size and eyeballed it.  I traced the bowl on the board with a pencil for all of the circles and adjusted if one was too close or too far and, voila!  You’re ready to cut.
 
 
 
I admit, cutting is the hardest and most time consuming part of this project.  You need your scissors to be good and sharp, and get to work.  It’s going to be messy work.  Yes, the edges of the holes are going to be jaggedy, but its ok!  You can either go back and use a file to smooth them out or just leave them be.  I found that once the board is put together it wasn’t noticeable.   
 
2. Now you’ve got holes, yay!  Time to make the “chambers” so you can put stuff in the holes.  I created this using paper lunch sacks.  A full lunch sack is too long to use and unnecessary, so I cut about 6 inches off of the top.  It’s best to make sure to measure the same for every bag so you have a nice uniform project at the end.
 
 
Now we need to prepare the bags to be attached to the board.  Cut a 1 inch slit at the four corners of the bag so the end result looks like this:
 
 
See how the flaps are folded out?  Make a crease at to fold the flaps out, and place the bag mouth down over the top of your first hole.  My holes were slightly larger than the paper bag, no big deal.  I stretched the bag a little so the hole was completely covered.  I have repaired my boards many times and found the this part is best done using good old fashioned tape.  Tape each flap to the board.  Move onto the next hole and do the same.  If your taped flaps overlap, no big deal!  This is the back of the board, no one will see it.  :)
 
3.  Closing the holes is last and most fun.  Now pick your board up and take a look at the front…
 
 
Mine has a lot of color on the front because I have used this so many times, but you get the idea.  Small holes in the bags or gaps where you couldn’t stretch the bag to are no big deal, you are ready to fill and close.  What are you going to put in there?  Like I said, I have actually used this as a teaching tool many times but today was a party so in go treats and small prizes.
 
 
 
Now we need to close them up.  Tissue paper is the best for this.  It is opaque so you can’t see in and light weight so it’s easy to break and easy to glue!  
 
Grab the same bowl or object you used to cut the holes, this is going to be our template for making the circles to glue on.  I fold my tissue paper into thirds so I’m cutting 3 circles at a time and lay the bowl on top.  I trace a circle around the bowl with a generous 1 inch boarder (that’s for gluing).  Don’t stress getting the circle perfect.  Just as long as you have an edge to glue down, it’s not going to matter if it was a perfect circle.
 
 
Now cut and repeat until you have enough to cover all the holes.
 
 
This next part is fun, easy and quick.  Lay the board down flat on it’s back and lay a line of Elmer’s Glue all the way around the edge of the hole.
 
 
Lay your circle of tissue paper on top and smooth down until it is well adhered to the glue.
 
 
Move onto the next circle.  Don’t stress if your circles overlap, just make sure the holes are getting covered.
 
Once you’ve done them all you are good to go.  Some ways that I have determined which holes to punch are to number them, or use certain colors of tissue to signify what’s inside (red holes have candy, green holes have toys, or pink holes have a song to sing, blue holes have a scripture to read, ect). GET READY TO PARTY!
 
 
 
 
<3, Sharla

Balloon Dart Board Tutorial

August 1, 2013 in Fun, Kids, Parties

Balloon Dart Board Tutorial
 
I LOVE this project.  It is so fast, easy, and has a big pay off.  I made my dart board to use in conjunction with my punch board but this is a game that  can stand on its own.  You don’t even need prizes!  What kid doesn’t want to through sharp objects at something to try and make a balloon pop?  I mean, I wanna make one just for me!What You Need:
Board to staple on.  Below is a pic of the sticker on the board I used.  My hubby got it at Home Depot for pretty cheap.  It’s a 2 foot by 4 foot composite board that was 1/8 inch thick.  Cheap and light weight.

Balloons.  I blew up 30 balloons, but I could have really pushed it and gotten 10 more on the board if I wanted.
Staple gun and short staples.  All people must have a hand operated staple gun.  This is what mine looks like…

Let’s Get Started:

I played a game where the kids had to throw darts until they popped a balloon to get the number inside. So, I started by writing 1-30 on small pieces of paper.

Then I folded them small and stuck them in the balloon.  My original plan was to fill the balloons with small toys, but my husband pointed out how completely difficult that would be, and after putting numbers on papers into balloons and then blowing the balloon up, I see what he means.  Numbers on paper…easy, anything bigger…not easy.

Then blow up and tie.  My 11-year-old daughter loved helping with this part.

Looks like we’re ready to staple.

Lay your board flat and start at one corner.  Use a short staple in your gun and staple the knot of the balloon to the board.  I did not try to make the balloons perfectly lined up, it seemed like a lot of effort for a look that wouldn’t be noticed.  I just eyeballed it.

And, there you have it!  In the game I did, the kids took the number they got out of the balloon and had to punch that number on a punch board to get their prize (click here to see punch board tutorial or click the Crafting button at the top of the page).  It would also be fun to put clues in the balloons for a treasure hunt, or clues about what a big prize is.  Numbers can also designate order for hitting a piñata or first choice in picking a prize.  Be creative, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

<3, Sharla

Don’t worry, balloon darts works for any holiday.  Check out Halloween…

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Or Christmas…

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