Easy Balloon Arches

Tiki Torch Candles and Totem Poles

2017 update- I’m learning about cultural appropriation and I’m not entirely sure I understand the difference between appropriation and appreciation, so I’m not posting this to offend. I’m posting this because people like to have luau themed parties and they need supplies. Just know that there are people out there judging for this. I don’t recommend inviting those people to your party.

Party Games for Every Theme

Some party games are no-brainers. Everyone knows how to play these games and all you need to do is re-theme them to match your birthday party.

Pin the ____ on the ______
This is one of the most popular party game conversions on the planet. Originally Pin the tail on the donkey
, it’s been used and abused and reworked more times than we can probably imagine. To confuse matters further, people generally use tape instead of pins, but “tape the ____ on the ____” just doesn’t sound as good, does it? Here are a few ideas:

Pin the hat on the cowboy (game for a cowboy party)
Pin the crown on the princess (game for a princess party)
Pin the S on Superman (game for a Superhero party)
Pin the head on Scooby Doo (game for a Scooby Doo party)
Pin the frog on the lily pad (game for a nature themed party)
Pin the tail on the lion (game for a jungle theme party)

Musical Chairs
This game is so easy to convert to a new party theme because all you need to do is choose different music. For some themes it will be easy, Disney movies are all made with a soundtrack. For other themes you might want to get creative with your music selection. If you can’t think of special music, think of a way to decorate or arrange the chairs, instead. Musical chairs conforms to party themes easily.

Hot Potato (or something like that)

Basically, players pass a beanbag (or something) around a circle while the music plays. Whoever is caught holding the beanbag (potato) when the music stops is burned. The game could be converted for any birthday party theme. Maybe one of the following ideas will suit your theme

Hot lava bomb (luau party game)
Poison Apple (game for a snow white party)
Pass the goldfish bowl (Cat in the hat party game – use a real goldfish in a bowl for extra fun)

Beanbag Toss

The first time you make this game, you’ll have to use your construction skills, carving a hole in a piece of plywood for guests to toss a beanbag through. Be sure to make the hole rather large. You can make the game more or less difficult for each age group by making older kids stand further from the line and younger kids stand closer to it. Each time you use it afterward, all you need to do is repaint the background to conform to the new theme. You can use a similar method to make a ring toss game, too. Here are some beanbag toss ideas for your next party:

Feed the clown (circus party game)
Feed the shark (under the sea party theme, Sharks or the Little Mermaid theme)

Use your imagination to think of more party games that can be converted to fit your party theme. If a cake can go with any theme, so can a game.

Is everyone moving?

Earlier this week, we posted about moving and now there are more moving-related posts in the homeschooling world. I guess it really is a big deal. Families that have a lot of kids and a lot of books and a lot of toys and a lot of clothes and a lot of furniture probably all also have the same moving dilemmas, right? Imagine being a military family and having to move all the time, wouldn’t that suck? I know some people stay in one place, but really, I don’t think I would. I mean, if they’re paying for the move and you know you’re employed when you arrive, why wouldn’t you want to see more of the country, right?

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Moving on my birthday?

I couldn’t decide if it was the best birthday present ever or if it was the worst.  There was nothing wrong with the house, it was quite a nice little place bit moving on my birthday was really not the present I had in mind.  It’s so expensive that real presents were really not an option anyway but whatever.  Unpacking and redecorating a new place seem worth it, don’t you think?

Graphic Source


I think that decluttering before the move is really the very very very best advice ever.  Don’t plan a yard sale AFTER you move, do it before and then you won’t have to move as much stuff.  Also, there are barter, swap and trade pages on Facebook where people get rid of things, too.  those are options.  good luck.

Birthday Gifts for Dad

Dad has had some of the worst back pain lately, I’m thinking an adjustable bed might be a great gift.  It’s so hard now to know what to get when you think someone has everything already.  So I was thinking about one of those memory foam mattresses but then the more I thought about it, the more I realize that an adjustable bed is so much smarter in a situation like this.  What do you think?  Have you ever bought an adjustable bed?  I hope he likes it. It’s really cool that it adjusts differently on both sides so that each person can have it adjusted the way they choose. So it’s not just about comfort, it’s about circulation and healthy sleep patterns.  The thing is, that lack of sleep is really super unhealthy and can cause so much organ damage and mess with your brain chemistry in a really bad way.  So as far as I’m concerned, the best birthday present I can think of is one that makes every other day of the year worth living.


Birthday Party Planning Worksheets

Timeline for Party Planning Kids Birthdays

It can be so helpful to have party planning worksheets, they take so much of the guesswork out of planning a birthday party. If you’re like me, you thrive on to-do lists and maybe even charts and spreadsheets to help you make sure everything is covered. I used to call these visual aids my “external brain” because I found it easier to keep my mind clear when the details were easy to reference and look up when I needed them.


When it comes to planning kids’ birthday parties, there are a lot of things to remember and a best-practices time line for sending invitations, reserving a jumper, hiring entertainment and even decorating the house. Busy moms have enough things to worry about without adding all of these extra things into the mix. I think this is one reason the “easy” birthday party businesses survive, because all you really need to do is give them your list of guests and show up on party day. Aside from being expensive, these types of parties are generally all the same and your child’s party will be a carbon-copy of every other one the facility offers.


Worksheets for Planning a Birthday Party


There are two ways to use these worksheets. Actually- if you’re creative, you could find other ways and I’d love to hear about it in the comment section if you want to share.


Hang it on the fridge: This method is easy, just fill out the worksheet with the details you’ve chosen for your party and hang it on the fridge as a visual reminder of what each “next step” is.


Amend Your Calendar: Go through your calendar and mark off however much time you’ll need on each designated day for every task. Assembling goody bags a few days before the party will take less time than purchasing the goodies the week prior.


Birthday present for teenage drivers

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of AutoAssure for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

OK, I know we’re not the only family to buy a late model vehicle for our teenager, right?  One thing we fear sometimes is that she’d end up having engine trouble. I mean what if she needs like her whole engine replaced, right? Or just a transmission or something? AutoAssure is the company that offers Auto Coverage As Seen On TV. They have personalized plans so that everyone gets what they need, whether it’s trip interruption coverage, your choice of ASE certified mechanics, rental car coverage and you can even get a plan with no out of pocket cost for repairs.  It’s really awesome to have Customized Vehicle Protection Plans available like this, know what I mean?

Anyhow, I strongly urge you to go check out their website and see what they have to offer. You can get a free quote and learn more about how the program works, it’s really a great deal, especially if you have teenagers in the house.  We’re thinking my aunt shouls have a plan, too. She’s about 70 years old and she’s on a fixed income. I know that if she had an auto repair issue, she would probably not be able to cover it without help, but she could afford AutoAssure. Can’t you?

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The best gift you can give your unborn baby

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of CryoCell International. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you’re pregnant, stop whatever it is that you’re doing right now and head over to www.Cryo-Cell.com to order your free belly bag. Learn more about the miracle of cord blood banking and get a cute little tote bag in the process.  As a mom, you’ll use more tote bags than anyone else on the planet AND- this one has the added bonus of providing you with tools to help you learn about more than 70 different diseases and disorders that science is CURING with stem cells. With leukemia, for example, stem cells can be used in place of a bone marrow transplant. No stress of finding a donor when you’ve preserved the amazing cord blood that holds the key to life, instead of allowing it to be discarded like so much medical waste.

So you owe it to your unborn baby to check out the www.Cryo-Cell.net website and order the belly bag. 

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Best Baby Shower Gifts

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you’re planning to go to a baby shower, make sure the gift you get will be useful. Some of the products they have on the market for babies are just plain ridiculous. Baby baths, for instance. I mean, come on… bathing with a newborn is one of the sweetest, most special times together. And what about car seat covers? For infant car seats, there’s really not much of  chance that anything will get on them, unless the baby is a vomiter (most breastfed babies are not) And then there’s the bottle warmer that plugs into the car’s lighter.  Seriously? Don’t even get me started.  Whenever I find out a friend is pregnant, the first thing I do is subscribe them to Mothering Magazine. Then, at their baby shower, I give another year’s renewal, a homemade blanket and a tub of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. I know it sounds lame to give the same gifts, but each has a reason. the homemade blanket is filled with love. I always use 100% cotton and a small stitch, so little fingers and toes don’t get caught in the holes. Sometimes, I’ll make baby a matching hat or booties, too.  The magazine is special because it’s the only one that stresses natural parenting, with a respect for intuition, a worldview that extends beyond corporate USA and a respect for the rights of women & children everywhere.  But the Butt paste, that’s a different story.

At first, I included it because the name was funny.  I bought a tub for myself and a tub for a friend whose baby shower was later in the day. I didn’t even have a chance to use mine before I got to the shower. When she opened it up, the other moms were raving about it. It wasn’t until I got home that I had a chance to try it on my own daughter.

The first thing I noticed was that it goes on and wipes off easily. I was using a different product before and it was so hard to wipe off of my own hands after each diaper change I always hated having to scrub it off of my hands with harsh soaps, so my baby never quite made it clean because the last thing I wanted to do was expose her skin to those soaps and scrubbing. The Butt Paste just wiped away and it smelled clean and fresh. There’s one product out there (I’m not naming names) but it smells kinda fishy. Who wants a fishy-smelling baby bum?

It’s also pediatrician recommended, i saw it on Oprah and in People Magazine. if you visit their website, they give you a free sample, but if I were you, I’d just head over to target and pick up your own. They come in several sizes. The 3 ounce tube lasted me through two children. Seriously. But for gift-giving, I always get the big tub. 

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Biodegradable Birthday Parties

Eco-friendly party ideas for Going Green Birthdays

Sustaining the earth is a hot topic and now that “going green” is such a mainstream concept, everyone has access to environmentally friendly party products. There are several ways to have a green birthday party, here are a few of my favorite:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and make Homemade Party Invitations

It’s easy to make birthday invitations from reused materials. Check out ArtsyFartsy Family’s File Folder Thank-you cards. This technique can be used to turn file folders into birthday cards, instead of the thank-you cards that they show in the article. The folders can also be cut down to make smaller cards, for birthday invitations and thank-you’s.

Biodegradable Party Foods

Keep it fruity, for a sustainable birthday party, serve local organic foods in season. Factory-made foods are lower in nutritional value and pollute the earth. Whole and natural foods, straight from the source are an earth-friendly option. In the summer, try homemade pico de gallo with free-range chicken fajitas. In the winter, local organic squash can be served roasted, in a stew or cut into “fries.” In the spring, serve baby greens in a sandwich wrap. In the fall, grilled corn-on-the cob and pumpkin-pie-spiced punch are a tasty treat.

Paper plates are biodegradable, but definitely not green, since the papermaking, bleaching and production process is very wasteful and destructive.  If you choose to use paper plates, be sure to compost them and don’t choose the ones with plastic or wax coatings.  Otherwise, your normal everyday dishes are best. if your party is larger than your dish collection, consider renting them from a wedding supply company.

“Green” Party Games

You can have the kids transplant flowers or plant seeds in flowerpots. To ensure success, make sure you discuss the things that plants need to survive.

Have a recyclable relay race. Set up two sets of recycling bins at one end of the room and a large box or bag of things to recycle at the other. Have the kids get into teams and see who can sort the most recyclables. When there’s nothing left to recycle, count to see who sorted the most items. Items sorted into the wrong bin aren’t counted. You should have paper, plastic and corrugated cardboard. Glasses aren’t smart at birthday parties.

Volunteer to pull weeds, replant or otherwise spruce up a public garden. Whether it’s the planter outside of the school office, a nursing home or even a private business. Paint a commemorative rock and have the kids sign their names with permanent markers, to memorialize the event.