Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some Games for New Year's

This year for New Year's, we will be spending the evening with 3 other families (kids included). The kids will be sent downstairs to play games and hang out, while the adults do grown-up things, like play Rock Band. If you are hosting or heading to a party and need some ideas (that don't include Rock Band), here are a few games I have come across:

M&M Game

Pass around a bowl of M&M’s candy but don’t tell people what you are doing. Tell them to take as many or as few M&M’s as they want. Based on the # and the color, people are to describe themselves. (ie: If someone takes 5 yellow M&M’s, they are to describe 5 things that make them happy.) Feel free to change the colors to mean different things if you don't like what you see!

Red - Name a celebrity you think is good looking.
Orange - Name your favorite food.
Yellow - Something that makes you happy.
Green - Name a place you would like to visit.
Blue - Name a goal you would like to achieve.
Brown - Name an item you could not live without.

Two Truths and A Lie

Each person writes down 2 true things about themselves and 1 lie. The object is to decide who wrote down what and then which of the 3 items listed is the lie.

The Big Wipe

The leader hands out toilet paper to a group sitting in a circle. The leader tells the group to take as much toilet paper as they need for the week. After, they must share one thing about themselves with the group for every square of toilet paper.

I Have Never

Another good game for finding things out about others....
Have everyone sit in a circle except one person. The person in the middle says something that they have never done (ie. I have never drank. or I have never worn a dress). All the people who have never done that have to get up and find an empty seat (from someone else who just got up). The person stuck without a seat is now in the middle. This game has no time limit. OR THE WAY I PLAYED IT…Give everyone 30 M&M’s or other food item. Take turns going around the circle saying, “I have never…” If you have done that thing before, eat one of your food items. The person with the most items remaining wins.

Oh and I found 15 more FABULOUS game ideas for both adults and kids at How Does She?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year's Ideas

Like I said, we have been sick and things have been hectic. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and hopefully I was able to provide some useful Christmas ideas before the big day hit. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to post everything that I was hoping to, but I guess that gives me some ideas to roll over into next year. Since New Year's is next, I found a blog (Pioneer Party and Gift) that gives some great ideas for your New Year's party. I love the Christmas tree idea! Here's a sneak peek at what the idea is, but check out the link for more fun ideas!

Turn your Christmas Tree into a New Years one! Right after Christmas take down all decorations and store away. Get a combination of horns, blowers, balloons, garland, streamers, confetti - and decorate the tree! Keep it up for the week in between Christmas and New Years to get in the spirit! Right before midnight, guests or family members grab what they want off the tree to ring in the New Year!

Christmas Party

Two weeks ago, my daughter and her cousin/best friend hosted a Christmas party for their friends. Ok so her cousin hosted the party, but we helped. Here were some of the fun things that we did, keep in mind that this was for a group of 5th (and some 4th) grade girls...
The first game was a drawing game.

There were 3 teams and 3 posters hanging on the wall. Below each poster was a sack with items to draw for Santa. All of the bags contained the same items so that it was fair. Some of the items to draw were: beard, pants, boots, etc. The thing that made this game both fun and tricky was the order in which each team drew out the items. For example, a person might draw out the paper slip that said beard, before they even had a face drawn, or boots before they had the pants, etc. The girls got a kick out of this game!
We also played the Yes/No Game:

Here is the shoveling snow game:

Some of the other activities we did at the party were to play musical chairs (the girls' idea), decorated gingerbread men (a kit we got from Wal-Mart) and made a craft.

We made these mini magnet boards with the girls. The mom who hosted the party, got these scraps of metal from the welding teacher at the high school. The teacher was nice enough to not only give them to us, but also sand them to make life easier for the girls. The mom had scraps of vinyl words that the girls could choose from and also the ribbon they wanted. Then we helped each girl to make 2 marble magnets. They all loved taking these decorations home and had a blast making them too!
Oh and what party is complete without food?

I hope to get some more exciting food for parties in the future, but for this year (aside from other food), I brought these cookies. I made sugar cookies, melted some white chocolate chips and poured it on top for the frosting. Then I had my kids help me smash up candy canes and sprinkle them on top of the frosting before it hardened. I was in a crunch for time and these were definitely both easy and yummy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

I've Gone Facebook...

I have done the unthinkable. I have gone Facebook. I am still trying to figure out how to do it so be patient with me as I learn. I just thought it might be fun to get to know some of you and make it possibly easier for you all to share thoughts and ideas with me. I am sure I will be better at checking this blog for comments than my FB, but it's a start. Check it out... or visit

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Games

First of all, to all of my readers and followers, I am sorry for my last post, but I had big news and needed a way to get the word out there. If you are interested, you can still let me know, but I won't be doing any more posts of that sort on here.
Anyway, back to Christmas ideas because I am sure that is what you are all looking for...

Here are a few more Christmas games that could be used for a classroom or family party:

* Christmas gift wrapping race. See who can wrap the box the quickest.
* Pin the nose on Rudolph.
* Present Scramble - This game requires a bit of prep but is well worth the effort. Put a small prize (such as a $10 bill) in a small box, tape it well, and gift wrap it. Put the box in a bigger box, wrap that box and put it in another, and so on, wrapping it as many times as you have the boxes and the patience for.
With everyone sitting in a circle, the youngest chooses a number from 1 through 6 and rolls a die, then passes the die to the next player. The first person to roll the chosen number puts on two oven mitts and tears into the present. The other players continue rolling the die. The next player who rolls the chosen number grabs the mitts and takes over the unwrapping. The person who unwraps the actual box with the prize gets to keep it.
* Have a "snowball" race. Create 2 teams and have them each form a line. Have a pile of "snow (cotton balls) dumped and scattered where the kids are in line. One at a time, the kids are to use the "shovel" (spoon) and carry the "snow" from one end of the room to the other, where they then dump the "snow" into a bowl. The kids can only use the spoon to carry the "snow" and can not use the other hand to scoop it up either. They can use a shoe or something along those lines, but not their hands! First one to shovel all their snow wins!

My (10 year old daughter) and her cousin are hosting a Christmas party tomorrow with some friends from school. More ideas from this are to come...

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Christmas Gift Ideas...

WRAP yourself up in a wonderful Christmas
(roll of wrapping paper)

We wish we had S'MORE friends like you!
(marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate candy bar.)

May your days be happy, your heart be light, your Christmas merry and the New Year bright.
(flashlight or candle)

We PITCHER you raising a little CANE during the holidays. Have a Merry Christmas!
(pitcher full of candy canes)

Here's the SCOOP: Hoping your holidays are a blizzard of fun!
(ice cream cream optional)

For a warm hand of friendship you've given me, and the wish for a joyous season with aplenty under the tree.
(pair of gloves)

Have a holly JELLY Christmas
(jar of jelly)

We just wanted to JUICE up your holidays
(tied to a bottle of juice)

This Christmas our ship has finally come in
We're feeling so wealthy and rich.
Instead of some small remembrance,
This year will be quite the switch.

We're giving a gift of high quality
No more cheap presents for us,
It's time we really went all out
But don't worry, it's really no fuss.

We considered giving you a sports car
or maybe a tropical cruise---
But we decided to be more practical
And give you something you really could use.

So, open the box and you may be surprised
To find not only ONE gift, but two---
We hope you will put your presents to work
It's a WASHER & DRIER, too!!!
(Dishtowel and hand cloth)

Grinch Toots
The Grinch went down to Who-ville and loaded up his sleigh.
He couldn't resist the yummy smells, and sampled along the way.
His tummy started to rumble, then it began to shout.
Just when he thought he might explode, he blasted these mighty TOOTS out!
(tootsie rolls)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Countdown

Did you know that Santa Claus chews bubble gum every day?
And did you know that Santa Claus blows bubbles in his sleigh?
Only 12 Days 'til Christmas...I hope it gets here fast!
I'll have to plan carefully to make my bubble gum last!
One gum ball each day is all that I will chew...
And with every bubble that I blow, Santa, I will think of you!

With this cute poem, you could attach it to a bag with 12 gum balls in it. You still have 2 days to get this together but I thought I would share the idea now so you can find what you need.

The 12 Days of Christmas Singing Activity

Here is another Christmas activity to play with a was also done at the Christmas party I went to the other night.

Hand out the lyrics to The 12 Days of Christmas (the group will probably need them!) Explain to the group that for their birth month, they will need to stand up when they get to that particular day. For example, my birthday is in June (SIXTH month), so for the SIXTH day of Christmas, I would stand up and sing "Six geese a-laying" and then sit back down.

Let's play it out, shall we? Everyone sings "on the ___ day of Christmas, my true love gave to me" and the January birthdays finish with "a partridge in a pear tree"...while standing. On the next round, the February birthdays stand to sing "two turtle doves" then sit and January birthdays stand to sing "and a partridge in a pear tree." It continues on like this until the whole song has been sung.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rudolph the Cotton Ball-Nosed Reindeer

Last night I attended a Christmas party and this was one of the games that was played. We were all seated at a table, when someone came around and scattered cotton balls around the table and left a bowl. Not knowing what we were playing yet, we had to choose a person at our table to be the person playing the game. Once that was decided, someone came around to the tables again and made the "it" person take a scoop of Vaseline from the container and wipe it all over their nose. When the game started the players had to race to pick up all of the cotton balls with their noses and NOTHING ELSE. They had to then drop the cotton balls into the bowl. (Sounds easier than it really is!!) The first player to have all their cotton balls in the bowl wins. This game turned out to be really fun (easy for me to say since I wasn't the one doing it) and was HILARIOUS to watch!

Christmas Candy Gram

Here is a cute Christmas candy gram idea from 32 Flavors.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Marshmallow Snowmen

I am loving these marshmallow snowmen from Speckled Egg!

Monday, December 7, 2009

More Gift Ideas...

As promised, here are some more gift ideas for teachers, neighbors, friends, etc.

Great ideas from Rosy Cheeks! I love that she also has included tags for the gifts. Seriously...all the work is already done!

Living Locurto has a FREE download for a Christmas CD jewel case label. If you don't like the songs she chose for her CD, make your own and just use the front cover label. There are more FREE Christmas downloads HERE.

Creations Made By Moi has some more fun ideas. (I can't get any of her pics. to upload, so you will just have to see for yourself!)

Attach a key (rod iron or other) to the follow poem:

* We thought this would come in handy since everyone's a little short on DOUGH this year.
(Tape to a package of Pillsbury cookie dough OR tie to a package of cookie mix with a cookie cutter.)

*BLESS YOU this Holiday SNEEZIN'
From your SNOTTY neighbors
(Tie this saying to a box of Kleenax...they make them with holiday designs around this time of the year if you are interested!)

I happened to make some homemade pomegranate jelly, thanks to my in-laws over-producing pomegranate tree, so I will giving that out to the teachers as gifts this year. Hope they like it because I know my family has! I'm not quite sure what to do for the neighbors and staff I work with yet. Any more ideas you found and want to share?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Simple Neighbor Gifts (with sayings)

Here is a list of neighbor/friend gift ideas for Christmas. Some of these ideas I have used in the past, and some I have kept on file as gift ideas I have received from others. Some of these ideas are practical, but most just contain a fun saying with a simple gift. Hope it helps someone out!

We “WHISK” you a Merry “KISSmas”
and a Happy New Year!!
(Tie to wire whisk and bag of Hershey Kisses)

“TWIZZ” the Season!
(Tie to a bag of Twizzler candy)

“FLEECE” on earth and good will to all friends.
(Tie to a fleece blanket, scarf, etc.)

It has been a “JOY” to work with you/be your neighbor/have you as my teacher!
(Tie a scrubbing sponge to a bottle of joy dish soap/bag of almond joy candy bars.)
OR...along the same lines...
Wishing you “joy” beyond “measure” this holiday season!
(mini almond joy candies in a measuring cup)

Thank you for all of your
hard work and dedication!
It has really “mint” a lot to me.
Happy Holidays!
(Mint candy)

For our friends we love so dear,
We’re doing something different this year.
Sweets and treats are really great,
But this will help you watch your weight!!
So.. ..
Bake them and hash them,
Fry them or mash them.
For all you do,
These SPUDS are for you!!
(Tied to a bag of potatoes)

There ain’t “muffin” like Christmas time!
(Muffin mix or muffins from Costco :) )
There ain’t “nuttin’” like Christmas time!
(Nut or anything peanut butter)

Just “popping” by to wish you a Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a holly, “JOLLY” Christmas!
(jolly ranchers)

Hoping you have an “extra” special holiday season!
(extra gum)

We hope this helps to warm the soul during this holiday season.
(hot choco.)

Hope you have a rootin’, tootin’ Christmas! (root beer & can of chili)

We hope you have been “Chex”ed on Santa’s good list so you can enjoy a “Sparkling” holiday!! (sm. Bag of chex mix & sparkling cider)

Wishing you a “BEARY” Merry Christmas!
(cinnamon bears)

Hoping that the magic of Christmas will “stick” with you all year.
May you “attract” the spirit of Christmas all year.

Wishing you a “M”arvelous and “M”agical Christmas season!

Orange(s) with the story of The Christmas orange

May your Christmas be merry and “sprite”!

May your holidays “bubble” over with the spirit of Christmas.
(Tied to pop or sparkling cider)

We are “soda”-lighted to be your neighbor!

Wishing you an udderly MOO-valous Christmas

WARM up this holiday season TOPPED with Christmas cheer & lots of PIZZAz!

From your “nacho” ordinary neighbors.

Pop, pop, fizz, fizz; oh what good friends you is! (sparkling cider)
May the absorbing spirit of the season:
BLOT out your problems,
SOAK up sorrows,
and WIPE away difficulties.
(tie to a towel/dish cloth)

The M & M Christmas Story
If you hold these candies in your hand
and turn them, you will see. . .
The M becomes a W & the E is then a 3.
They tell the Christmas story,
it’s one I’m sure you know.
It took place in a stable
a long, long, time ago.
The E is for the east,
where the star shone “O” so bright.
The M is for the manger
where baby Jesus slept that night.
The 3 is for the wise men
bearing gifts when they came.
W is for worship, Hallelujah
singing praises to his name.
So as you eat these candies
or share them with a friend,
remember the spirit of Christmas
and never let it end!!!

Do you have any fun ideas you would like to share? More ideas to come...

Teacher Gift - 12 Days of Christmas

I came across this fun teacher gift idea for Christmas...the 12 Days of Christmas! Check out the idea from How Does She before there isn't enough time to use the idea this year!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Santa's Sleigh

Here is a Christmas game that a mom made up one year when she came to my class to do the 12 Days of Christmas. You need a large area since this does involve a lot of moving, so I would suggest outside on the playground, or if it is too cold, the gym.
Gather the students together and explain the game and actions. Once all have been explained, begin yelling out different commands and have the kids do the action until the next action has been called out. If they don't do the right action, they are out of the game. Last one standing wins a prize.

FRONT OF THE SLEIGH - Run to front of gym.
BACK OF THE SLEIGH - Run to back of gym.
SIDE OF THE SLEIGH - Run to either side of the gym.
DOWN THE CHIMNEY - Lay on your back and kick your legs in the air (as if you have fallen down a chimney).
PARTNER WRAPPING - Partner up ("do-se-do") Connect arms and swing around.
ELF IN A BOX ON A BOX- 3 people. #1 on knees, #2 leaning against 1st person's back, and #3 standing in back.
LANDING ON THE ROOF TOP - Whole class/group sitting in a train position. (Sit in between person behind you's legs)
SAVE SANTA- (4 people needed) 3 people sitting in a train position and 1 person laying on their stomach being held by hands or feet by the first person of the 3.
SCREAMING ELVES - Everyone screams (not my favorite one!)
FLOPPY SANTA - Do the "worm"
FALLING SNOW - use both hands to motion like rain/snow is falling.
BABY REINDEER - Get on knees and make antlers by your head by using your hands.
RUDOLPH - Using both hands, twist them over nose to represent a bright red nose.

Feel free to change or add any actions that you think might be fun too. My kids loved doing this activity and I think they even played this at recess for the rest of December. This would also work perfect for a PE teacher!!

Yes/No Game

Everyone sits in a circle (on a chair). The person in charge begins asking yes and no questions. (ie: I have been to New York, I like ice cream, etc.) For every no answer, stay in your seat. For every question that you answer yes to, move one seat to your left. (You may end up on someone's lap!). The first person back to their original seat is the winner.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gift Giving Game Ideas

These ideas are great for Christmas Parties and Exchanges! Everyone brings a gift to the party, this is fun for gift exchanges during the holidays. TO BEGIN: Everyone stands in a circle holding the gift he/she brought to the party. Someone reads the story, every time the word RIGHT is read, everybody passes his gift to the right. Every time the word LEFT is read, gifts are passed to the left. The gift that each person is holding at the end of the story is the gift he keeps. This is a fun game for the older grades because they {hopefully} know their right from left. For the younger grades, try the game at the bottom of this post.

Story Example:
The Right Family Christmas Story

Christmas was almost here and Mother RIGHT was finishing the Christmas baking. Father RIGHT, Susie RIGHT, and Billy RIGHT returned from their last minute Christmas errands. "There's not much LEFT to be done," said Father RIGHT as he came into the kitchen. "Did you leave the basket of food at Church?" asked Mother RIGHT? "I LEFT it RIGHT where you told me to," said Billy RIGHT." "I don't have any money LEFT." The hall telephone rang, and Susie RIGHT LEFT to answer it. She rushed back and told the family, "Aunt Tillie RIGHT LEFT a package for us RIGHT on Grandma RIGHT's porch. I'll go over there RIGHT now and get it," she said as she LEFT in a rush. Father RIGHT LEFT the kitchen and brought in the Christmas Tree. By the time Susie RIGHT returned, Mother RIGHT, Father RIGHT, and Billy RIGHT had begun trimming the tree. The entire RIGHT family sang carols as they finished the decorating. Then they LEFT all the presents arranged under the tree and went to bed, hoping they had selected the RIGHT gifts for their family. Now I hope you have the RIGHT present for yourself, because that's all that's LEFT of our story, except to wish you a Merry Christmas, isn't that RIGHT?

* THE and AND Game (kind of like hot potato) - Read T’was the Night Before Christmas Poem. Each time the words THE or AND are used, passed the (1) wrapped present. The last person holding it gets it. Give everyone a gift at the end.
I used a large Symphony candy bar as the wrapped gift and then rewarded everyone with something smaller at the end, like a candy cane.

12 Days of Christmas

As mentioned earlier, I thought I would share this idea that I use to use when teaching. About a week or so before I started this activity, I would send home a sign up sheet with my students asking if any parents were interested in coming to the class (for about 30 minutes) to do a Christmas activity. The activity was up to the parent and the ideas were always creative. I always got an amazing amount of support and my students loved having a new activity each day. It was fun for some of the kids to have their parent come in the classroom, who might not otherwise have the time to do so.

The day before the 12 Days started, the class would make stockings. I had templates to trace so that I could guarantee they would be large enough. The students would trace two, punch holes around the edges and then lace the stocking together with yarn (making sure not to lace the top closed). Most of the time when the parents came, they brought some kind of treat for the kids to add to their stocking. On the last day of school (before Christmas break) they kids would have a stocking full of goodies to take home.

(If you decide to try doing the 12 Days of Christmas, make sure to count out the days before Christmas Break so that you don't short yourself any time.)

Here are a couple of ideas I have seen parents use in the past...

* Crafts from Oriental Trading (including the picture frame ornament
* Christmas Caroling (parent brought in a key board)
* Watch the Grinch Who Stole Christmas (cartoon version) while eating milk and cookies.
* Decorate icecream sugar cones (upside down) as X-mas tree with green frosting. Add red hots as the lights/ornaments.
* Read The Polar Express and gave each child a bell on a string/bell-shaped candy.
* Made ornaments by using pipe cleaner and beads.

Be creative when coming up with ideas. Share family traditions, stories, games, stories, or songs. Hope this idea of the 12 Days of Christmas can help someone out!?!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Countdown Ideas

I have seen all kinds of ideas and ways for counting down until Christmas and since today is December 1st, I thought I would start sharing some ideas/finds out there...

The Christmas Tree Countdown from K McKay Designs:

12 Days Advent Ornament Countdown (also from K McKay Designs)

24 Mini Muffin Tin Countdown from Somewhat Simple (with tutorial)
Another Tutorial (with movie) from June Campbell

A Calendar Countdown using an art canvas from Split Coast Stampers

Countdown Blocks from Not So Idle Hands:

I am loving this countdown using a pizza pan from Crafts and Deals!

So clever and cheap...pocket {gum} advent countdown from My Little Mochi. Seriously...ridiculously clever!

If you own 24 Christmas books, (I know I do!) wrap them all up indiviually. Each night have a child pick a book to unwrap and read the story together as a family.

A recipe countdown from Good Things Utah. Yes that's right, it's a recipe box with 25 different treat ideas inside. Each day you take a recipe from the box and make a yummy treat! What a fun new tradition to start! As if keeping those holiday pounds off wasn't hard before! :) (I say while finishing off a cookie!)

Any other cute or clever ideas you have seen and want to share?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Crafts & Centerpieces

Studio 5 had a guest, Kristine McKay, on the show the other day who featured several great Thanksgiving ideas.
The ideas are mainly craft and centerpiece ideas. I love the idea of using the same table cloth every year and having your guests sign their names each year. After each year, embroider over the signatures to preserve the names and watch the family and guest names grow over the years.

The other idea I really like was the crayon turkey the kids can make and use at the kids' table. Such fun and easy ideas for entertaining! Check out more of Kristine's ideas and FREE downloads on her site.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cornucopia Treats

Tonight my kids and I made cornucopia treats for dessert. I had bought sugar cones back in October thinking that I would make witch hat treats with them, but life got hectic and that never happened. Since I had the cones on hand, we made cornucopias instead. I tried heating a cone in the microwave first, thinking that maybe I could soften and bend the cone. Unfortunately it didn't work the way I had hoped so we had to leave the cones as they were. We melted some chocolate chips over the stove and then rolled the cones in the melted chocolate. Then we put some sprinkles on the chocolate and set them in the fridge to set up quicker. Once the chocolate was set, we filled each cone with some Runts candy. My kids all thought it was a fun idea and they didn't taste too bad either. Really though...can you go wrong with chocolate ANYTHING?!?

What Is A Room Mom???

With this site, I have realized that one thing I have failed to do, is to mention what exactly a room mom/parent is and what their responsibilities are. Oops. I guess I have just assumed everyone knew so I never broke it down, but here is goes. For everyone it might be different, but here is my definition...
A room parent is a parent of a student in the class who helps out the teacher. Each teacher might have a different idea of what they want done or what they need help with, but generally I have found that the room parents' main task is to help with holiday parties.
Generally, teachers have helpers for other areas of help. (ie: reading helpers, field trips, take home projects, etc.) This could be the room mom's responsibility to find those helpers, but at the schools I have been at it has been up to the PTA to help out with this assignment.
When I was the room mom for my son's class, I planned a Halloween and a Valentine's party because that is what the teacher wanted. She had other thoughts for Christmas, so I didn't have to worry about it but other teachers may want to hold a Christmas party/activity.
When I was a teacher, the PTA held a room parent luncheon at the first of the school year. This is where the teachers and room parents could get together and talk about ideas, parties, etc. for the year. It was very helpful!! I asked my room moms plan a Halloween and Valentine's party only. I told them that I had ideas in case they wanted to use any, otherwise they could come up with their own. For Christmas I always did The 12 Days of Christmas (idea to come) so I used several parents at that time and not just for one party.

Has anyone ever been a room parent before and have anything to add? How has your school handled room parents? Feel free to share any thought or ideas that could benefit others! Thanks!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Backpack Made From Uno Cards

Ok so this may be more a purse or messenger bag, but my (10 year old) daughter is SUPER EXCITED to use this for school tomorrow. I saw this idea a while back on Studio 5 and FINALLY got around to making one. It took about an hour to complete and my daughter is THRILLED! Now my son wants to know if I can make him a backpack out of baseball cards.

What does it take to make this bag? Get your pen and paper ready for this long list...
A pack of Uno cards
Clear Packing Tape
Magnets (optional)

You can probably make 2-3 bags from a pack of cards. In fact, I bought my Uno cards from the DI (a local thrift store) for $1. Some of the cards could have been missing from the pack but for this project, it didn't matter! All in all, I spent less than$2.00 on this bag and the best part's an original! After the first picture (above), I decided it needed a flap. Here is the newer version of the bag:
(Magnetic closure)

Oh and if some of you are wondering if this bag can really hold anything..the answer is yes! All of my daughter's (5th grade) books, papers, etc. are already loaded and have been tested!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanksgiving Ideas

Crafts and Deals left a comment so I decided to check out her site. I love blog hopping and seeing all of the creative people and ideas out there! She has some really fun and great Thanksgiving ideas (along with other non-Thanksgiving ideas!). I love the Thanksgiving memory game,

Paper Bag Turkey,

and Fall Fingerprint Tree.

I know I will be trying out some of these ideas with my kids. Thanks for sharing!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coloring Pages for Thanksgiving

Need a way to entertain kids at the table this year while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to be served? Here are some links to free, printable coloring pages and activities...



TONS of pages to chose from HERE

Hope this helps keep the little ones busy and happy!

Thanks and Giving Tree

Chocolate on My Cranium has this fun idea for making two trees during the month of December. One tree to list items we are thankful for and the other tree for acts of service (giving) that we can perform. What a great idea. Hop over to her site to download the templates for the trees and leaves.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pine Cone Turkeys

Live near pine trees? Looks easy enough. Check out how to make these darling turkeys using pine cones HERE.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Memory Game From Recycled Lids

I just found the best idea for recycling those Gatorade bottle lids. Check out what My Little Gems decided to make as a fun and cheap Halloween game. I know Halloween is over, but I thought I would share anyway so that you can keep the idea in mind for next year. Besides, the concept could work for any occasion or holiday. Just change up the stickers! You could even place letter stickers underneath and have the kids match upper case letters to lower case letters. The possibilities are almost endless.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Turkey Treats

How funny is this? Last year for Thanksgiving, I had the kids in the family make these yummy turkey treats. I had gotten the idea from a friend. As I was looking at Family Fun today, I came across a link with the directions on how to make these. My turkeys are a little different, but the idea is the same. The kids all had a fun time making these turkeys! The hardest part was not eating all the ingredients before the turkeys were made!!

**If you like the way my turkeys turned out, here's what I used:

*Oreo Cookies (1/turkey, unless you want them to stand upright. In that case use 1 1/2-2 cookies)
*Candy Corn (6/turkey: stick 5 between the Oreo cookies, into the white frosting of the cookie. Bite down a candy corn to make a tip for the beak)
*Miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (For the body. Attach with frosting.)
*Whoppers (For the head. Attach with frosting.)
*Chocolate Frosting (Use as the "glue")

Thanksgiving Treats

Here are some fun food ideas found over at Family Fun. Check them out!
The Fruit Gobbler

Tepee Treats

Turkey Cupcakes

Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Food Ideas

Mousse filled wtiches hats, bat wing soup, and jack-o-lantern pancakes are just a few of the fun Halloween recipes you will find HERE.

There are many other spooky and yummy looking Halloween treats found at Super Punch.

I think the Invisible Pops look like a fun and creative treat for a Halloween scare!

A page full of Halloween recipes at Britta. Including:

Brittle (Meringue) Bones

The Food Network has plenty of great food ideas too!

Check out Delish for even more spooky dishes.

A site for sore eyes, and other ideas are at Wilton's.

Here is a Frankenmallow idea, where the kids can help make these spooky creations. More Halloween ideas can be found at Family Corner, including crafts, coloring pages and more!

I am sure there are many more great ideas out there. If you have something to share, let me know. Otherwise...happy baking!

Witch's Brew

This eerie green brew is best made by mixing a yellow beverage with a blue beverage. Try using Mountain Dew, Gatorade, or Lemonade for the yellow beverage. Blue Kool-Aid or blue sports drinks work well for the blue liquid. Your goal is a radioactive shade of green, so keep adding a little bit of each colored drink until you get the right mix. Pour the punch into a plastic witch's cauldron (available at discount and holiday stores). To keep the punch cold, try any of these ice ideas:
* Wash and fill a plastic latex glove with ginger ale, tie it at the wrist and freeze it. Remove the frozen "hand" from the glove and float it in the punch.
* Place small plastic spider rings into ice cube trays, and fill the trays with water. That way, every drink will contain a small party favor, too.
* Place a gummy worm in each cell of an ice cube tray, add ginger ale, and freeze the tray to create tasty, creepy-crawly ice cubes.

OR, here is another recipe for BAT'S BREW:

Make "Bat Brew" by filling 7-up and grape juice in a punch bowl and putting in scoops of green sherbet. This looks awful when the sherbet starts to melt but even the parents go back for seconds because it tastes so yummy. Serve it with a gummy worm hanging off the side of the cup.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Poop

I came across this funny Halloween poem on Teaching Heart and thought others could maybe use it as a cute/funny Halloween gift. There are other cute saying found there too, along with ideas for popcorn, hot chocolate and more.

Spider Pops

Need a treat for a Halloween party? Check out these cute Spider Pops. You could either have the kids make these treats or just send them home with the kids as a fun treat.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Graphing Activities for Halloween

I just came across this FABULOUS site that has all kinds of graphs that can be used during the month of October. Just to name a few, there are graphs for Dem Bones candy, Ghostmallows, and Lucky Charms with Spooky Marshmallows. If you are a teacher, you don't want to miss this site!!

There are more great Halloween ideas from this site (Teaching Heart), including glyphs, writing prompts,centers, crafts, writing and more. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page so that you won't miss anything!

Pumpkin Treat Bags How-To

Fill orange mini craft bags with candy. Twist the top of the bag up into a stem. Pull floral tape off roll and stretch it so it becomes sticky. Wrap floral tape around stem, starting at the top and moving downward. Rip off take, leaving 3 to 4 extra inches hanging on the bottom. Twist extra tape into tendril, wrapping it around finger until it curls.

Idea from Martha Stewart

Tomb of Gloom

As part of some of my Halloween parties in the past, I use to have what I called the Tomb of Gloom. I put a table in the hall with a sheet over the items so the kids couldn't see what was on the table. I then had a parent volunteer supervise the table. One at a time, the kids would stick their hand under the sheet and feel around. For example, one item they were to touch were "eyeballs", but they were really peeled grapes. The kids always had a good time with this and it was funny to watch their reactions and hear their guesses on what the items really were. If you are interested in incorporating The Tomb of Gloom into your party this year, here are some ideas that have been used before...

Eyeballs - Peeled Grapes
Fingers - Carrots/Baby Carrots
Teeth - Dried Beans
Ears - Dried Apricots
Intestines - Cooked Spaghetti Noodles
Stomach/Fat - Jell-O

The Tomb of Gloom always ended with a bowl or pot of warm soap water (to rinse their hands off). The kids were told it was a pot of acid or witch's brew (for the added effect.) Be creative and I am sure you can think of more items to add!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spook-tacular Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

Dipped in melted chocolate chips and decorated with a variety of spookalicious candies, these festive treats are a frightfully fun way to celebrate the haunting night ahead.

Wax paper
1 1/3 to 2 cups NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, melted according to package directions in 8- or 9-inch microwave-safe dish
1 bag (10 ounces) pretzel rods
A few NESTLÉ CRUNCH and BUTTERFINGER Fun Size Candy Bars, chopped
WONKA Halloween Candies such as Spooky NERDS, NERDS Giant Chewy Bumpy Warts and SweeTARTS Skulls n' Bones *
Line baking sheet with wax paper. Place each candy on separate sheets of wax paper.
Dip pretzel rods halfway into chocolate; shake off excess. Roll rods in candies (one candy type per pretzel rod); place on prepared baking sheet.
Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to harden. Once hardened, remove from baking sheets and store, covered, in cool place with wax paper between layers.
Makes 30 pretzels.

Estimated Times
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooling Time: 30 mins refrigerating

*found in bags of WONKA Halloween Assorted Candies.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/30 of recipe): Calories: 130 Calories from Fat: 35 Total Fat: 4 g Saturated Fat: 2 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 130 mg Carbohydrates: 23 g Dietary Fiber: 1 g Sugars: 14 g Protein: 2 g

(Recipe and photograph are the property of Nestlé® and, used with permission. Recipe found HERE. )

*I have also seen a variation to this idea. Same concept, but dip the pretzel rods in green Wiltons candy melts (or white and add green food coloring) and add a almond slice to the tip of the pretzel. This makes a great witch finger! Or you can view HERE at allrecipes for a cookie recipe with the same concept.

Change up the color of the chocolate and add candy/sprinkles according to the season and these work for every holiday!

**Wilton's candy melts can be found at JoAnn Crafts, Wal-Mart, Robert's Crafts, Michaels, online, and I am sure many other places. These are just the places that I have found them before.

Math Halloween Games

Here are a few more Halloween games, focused on math. These would probably work best for older kids (2nd grade and up).

PUMPKIN WEIGHT – Purchase a 6-7 pound pumpkin, weigh it on your bathroom scale, and record the weight. Ask the children to pick up the pumpkin, guess the weight, and write down their estimates. The child who comes the closest to guessing the actual weight can take home the pumpkin or a mini pumpkin as a prize. (You may want to have a few favors on hand in case more than one child makes a close guess.)
PUMPKIN CIRCUMFERENCE - Modify the above guessing game by having the children guess the circumference of the pumpkin using pieces of string. (You'll need a ball of string and scissors to do this.) One at a time, ask each child to cut a length of string that they believe is the distance around the pumpkin. After everyone has cut a piece of string from the ball, wrap a length of string around the pumpkin and cut it to get the exact circumference. Ask each child to measure his or her string against the string representing the actual circumference, and determine the winner(s).
HALLOWEEN GUESSING JAR - Fill small jar(s) (mayo jar, baby food jar, etc.) with candy corn, plastic spider rings, or other Halloween items. Ask the children to write down the number of pieces they believe to be in the jar. As a group, count the pieces of candy corn in the jar. The child who's guess is closest to the actual number gets to take home the jar of candy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Candy Corn Dessert

...without the candy corn taste. I'm not sure how you feel about candy corn. It seems it's one of those treats that people either love or hate. My sister LOVES it and can't wait for fall every year so she can stock up. I, on the other hand, could live without the stuff. I found this cute candy corn recipe that layers butterscotch pudding, banana cream pudding and whipped cream to give that candy corn look. What a cute and yummy looking treat!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween Games

Here are a few Halloween games you can try out at your Halloween party this year. These ideas can be used for a class party, birthday party or a Halloween bash.

WITCH'S BREW – Cut about ten pieces of paper in Halloween related shapes, such as ghosts, bats, pumpkins, or spiders. The shapes need to be about the size of a Ritz™ cracker. Place the shapes in a pile beside a small bowl or witch's cauldron. Have straws available for each player, along with a stopwatch, or a watch with a second hand. Using the straw as a vacuum, have each child try to pick up the shapes and drop them into the cauldron. The player with the fastest time wins. (Ages 6-12)

PIN THE WART ON THE WITCH – Instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, try Pin the Wart on the Witch (or Pin the nose on the Jack-o-lantern). Draw a witch's face on a piece of poster board. Use little balls of green Play-Doh ™ or paper cutouts as the warts. Blindfold each child as his/her turn arrives, spin, point in the right direction, and watch your wicked witch become even more wartful! (All ages)

EYEBALL RELAY – Before the party, buy about 12 Ping-Pong balls. Using permanent markers, draw irises, pupils, and bloodshot veins on the balls. Divide your group into two teams and give one spoon to each team. The kids are to try to carry the "eyeball" from one side of the room to the other without dropping it. If they drop the "eyeball", they should return to the starting point and try again. (Ages 7 & up)

HALLOWEEN BINGO - You might be able to find Halloween Bingo games at stores during this time of the year. (Try Wal-Mart but I think I got mine at A Teacher's Closet). If you don't want to buy the game, you can make it or download/make a blank template and have the kids write in their own Halloween words. Use Smarties candy or other candy pieces as the markers.

There are other great Halloween games at Family Fun. Check it out!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Salt Dough Ghosts

The other day my daughter came home from a friend's house with a plate full of ghosts. They were all labeled on the back with the names of our family members and they have made a cute addition to our Halloween decor (minus the plate of course ;). Check out Family Fun for the directions and materials needed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween Spider

I have made these spiders for several 3rd grade class parties, but I am sure they would work for a variety of ages. The kids enjoy the activity and they turn out pretty cute. Once they are made, treats can be put inside the pocket and sent home with the kids.

Items Needed:
black spray paint
paper plates (1/child)
pipe cleaners (about 4"/leg)
puffy paint (mouth)
scrap paper (eyes and teeth)

Spray paint the bottom side of the paper plates(not where you would put food). When the plates are dry, cut them in half. Put 2 halves together (paint side facing out) and staple. Make sure that you staple the pipe cleaners in too! Yes, I know that spiders have 8 legs, so you might want to change yours a little from mine! :) Have items ready to decorate the spider and let the kids be creative.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Halloween Ideas...First of Many

Holy cow! A whole month has past since I have done anything with this blog. So has been hectic with me returning to work and with the time devoted to recently running my first marathon. Anyway, I have noticed all of the Halloween decorations starting to come out and thought that I should suggest some Halloween ideas to anyone in search, so here it goes...
Festive Halloween Sugar Cookies from Good Housekeeping:

Glittered Pumpkins from Martha Stewart:

All kinds of ideas from Tip Junkie...too many to mention just one. If you click on the link, it will take you to all the Halloween ideas she has!

These darling candy corn cookies from Tidy Mom:

A caramel apple kit for anyone looking to give a gift. Thanks Mish Mash!

Skip To My Lou has plenty of great ideas too, including her paper witch shoe. Think of how fun this would be to give as a party favor!

I am excited that fall is here! Time to get ready for all the upcoming holidays. I will have more Halloween ideas to come...