Father’s Day Gift Idea

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I wanted to drop in quickly to share what we did for Father’s Day gifts in case any of you procrastinated and need an idea for tomorrow. Actually, since the mugs have to cure for 8 hours this isn’t the best last minute idea. But it is do-able.

I’m not selling this very well, am I? There’s a reason I only lasted 3 days in retail (true story).

Let me try again.

Hey guys! I have a great Father’s Day gift idea to share with you! It’s totally original too–coffee mugs!

I know, totally not original. But honestly, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day gifts are kind of all the same, aren’t they? As long as it comes from the heart, mom and dad will love whatever you give them. Especially if the kids are invovled in whatever you put together.

Like my awesome and totally unique coffee mugs. I bought plain white mugs at the Dollar Store,


and Deco Art ceramic markers from Hobby Lobby. If you are reading this a year from now and have time, click the link to order them from Amazon to save yourself the hassle of going out to buy them. Anyone who has shopped at Hobby Lobby with kids understands what a blessing online shopping really is. I mean, why do they put all that breakable stuff right at the front of the store at the perfect height for tiny hands to reach? It’s like they want it all to be smashed into smithereens.


I went with the stupid expensive ceramic markers because I’ve tried the Sharpie trick before, and it washed off after a month (hand washing too, not even dishwasher). Mind you, when I say ‘stupid expensive’ I mean $4 a pop. Since I decided to buy every color of the rainbow, it added up quickly. What can I say? I over complicate things sometimes. But obviously you can use them again for other projects, so it’s not a total waste.

In case you’re wondering about the M&M’s cup in the picture, that is my husband’s coffee cup. I bought that for him when we first started dating 8 years ago and he has since drank his coffee in it every single day. I knew that he would never actually use a different cup, so I thought it would be cute to let the girls personalize his cup. Plus this way, his gift is almost free.

To prep the cups, clean the outer surface with a glass cleaner. Then give the markers a good shake, because they will run if you don’t. If they do run a bit while you’re working, you have a small window when you can very easily wipe it off with a paper towel.

Then for the fun part–let the kids doodle all over them!


Bonus points if you have a kid who can write their names.



Then you let them cure for 8 hours (I.E. Sit on the counter without the kids touching them). Last step is to bake them at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. When they’re done, turn the oven off, open the oven door, and let the cups cool inside the oven.

That’s it! Easy, right? Totally adorable, and dishwasher safe.

We did the same thing for Mother’s Day, but I forgot to buy myself a mug when I was shopping. So I took this opportunity to have them do mine too.


I almost told Eowyn that she forgot an ‘m’ in Mommy, but I like it better this way.

If you want fancier mugs, then you can also buy plain white mugs at Target for around $3-$5 a pop. Mine was actually from Target. Not because I’m cheap with other people, but because when I went to buy mine the Dollar Store was out of stock.

Regardless of where you get your mugs, I know the dads and moms in your life will love these homemade lovelies!

I hope you all have a wonderful Father’s Day celebrating your awesome dads!


Frozen Birthday Party Prep: DIY Coffee Cups, Sven Hats, and Marshmallow Pops

In my Olaf Games post I mentioned possibly using some of the extra Olaf cups that I made to be used for coffee for the adults. As it turns out, we are expecting a whopping 15 kids at this party, so we will only have 3 extra cups from the Snowball Fight Game. But I really liked the idea of having disposable cups for coffee because it’s just easier to throw them away at the end of the day rather than have a sink full of dishes. So I chose to do the environmentally irresponsible thing and I picked up another $.90 20 pack of styrofoam cups from Walmart; sorry Al Gore.

There’s no reason why the grown-ups can’t have fun cups too, so I decided to decorate them. Instead of drawing Olaf on these, I went with an Olaf quote written in a Frozen inspired font. Every time I sat down to nurse, I grabbed some cups and my Sharpie and made use of the time.


Since I’m an overachiever I tried adding a snowflake boarder with the girls’ blue Crayola washable markers.


I LOVE how they turned out. Unfortunately, the Crayola markers smudge when you pick them up. I am completely out of time, so I won’t be able to buy proper markers to do the boarder in. But I still think the plain quote is cute (I only did the boarder on 1 cup, so they’re not all ruined).

We bought pre made princess Frozen crowns for the girls to wear, but I wanted some kind of birthday hat for the boys as well. Luckily, all the Christmas stuff came out at the beginning of October and I found a ‘make your own reindeer hats’ kit at Hobby Lobby on sale for $3.60 (makes 12 hats). All the pieces were cut out and already had stickers on them, so I was able to slap them together during one nursing session (like I mentioned in my food tent post–multi-task or die!)

Crafting from the Couch

Crafting from the Couch


Pardon the mess in the background, but I have 3 kids…

Sven hats for the boys–done!

Arya LOVES marshmallows, so I knew I wanted to do marshmallow pops. After bedtime, Daddy helped me get them all on sticks.


…We drink wine at the end of the day. Don’t judge us.

I ended up making my own sprinkles by mixing regular granulated sugar with gel icing color. Before you go and roll your eyes at me, let me ask you–have you ever tasted Wilton’s sprinkles? They taste like ass. I’m not going to go through all the trouble of making these marshmallow pops just to cover them in sprinkles that taste like ass. So I took the 5 minutes to make my own. I had another brand of silver sprinkles in my pantry, so I decided to do half of them in blue and half of them in silver. I’m not a fan of candy melts because they’re so thick and (I think) difficult to dip in, so I chose to do white chocolate. I only got about a third of them dipped so far, but I think they turned out pretty well.


I let the girls taste test a couple and they approved, which is all that matters : )


Now, I’ve got to get back to the cake, which is in desperate need of decorating.

Frozen Birthday Party Prep: Olaf String Cheese and Silly Putty Party Favors

Today was a very productive party prep day. We got 3 projects done, which is a lot with 3 kids 3 and under! I’m putting the third project, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” game, in it’s own post because it’s a tutorial.

I got the idea to draw Olaf on individual sticks of string cheese from this pin on Pinterest. It’s pretty straight forward–grab a black Sharpie and orange marker and draw the little guy on there! At first Eowyn was not into this idea, “But mom, that’s not safe for us to eat!” Once I explained that I would be drawing Olaf on the packaging and not the cheese itself, she was on board. I sat down with the supplies and banged them during a nursing session. Eowyn separated them and helped keep them organized, so she felt involved. Bam! We have some cute and healthy snacks for the kiddos (pretty much the only healthy snack I have planned. It’s a party; I say let them eat sweets!)


Next up was Frozen silly putty (also found on Pinterest). When I found this I thought it would make a great party favor, so the girls and I whipped some up. Ours came out a bit foamy; still unsure why this happened. But, still sticky, fun silly putty that I’m sure the kids will love! I picked up two 8-packs of small Gladware containers at Walmart for $2.60 each to package them in, and went the extra mile by writing “Frozen Silly Putty” in the Frozen font.


The best part was making it with the girls. They loved mixing it and watching it turn into the sticky guck we all loved as kids.


To make enough for 13 containers, I had to multiple the recipe in the link above by 4. Total cost for this party favor was $11.37, or $.87 a kid. Not too shabby ; )

Frozen Birthday Party Prep: Do You Want to Build a Snowman Game

I got the idea for this Frozen inspired game from this pin on Pinterest. It’s a take on the old bridal shower favorite where you put guests in teams and have them make a toilet paper wedding dress on a volunteer model. However, I didn’t like the part where they covered the kids’ heads with the toilet paper; kindy creepy. So instead, I decided to make hats and carrot noses for the kids to put on with their toilet paper snowman “outfits”.

I Googled “how to make a top hat out of paper” and found this awesome YouTube video:

At first I was going to have the kids color the plates black like the woman did in the video, but soon realized that it was going to take too long.


I decided to just glue black paper on instead; much faster. However I ran into a problem when I assembled it: the paper I was using was smaller than the one the lady used in the video and I had cut the hole in the plate too small, so my first hat looked horribly disproportionate.



I don’t care if this is just for a stupid game at a kid’s party–I can’t stand behind something that looks that ugly. So I cut the hole in the plate to be a bit bigger and cut the circumference of the plate, and it looked much better!

If you are wanting to make these and are using regular construction paper instead of the jumbo sized kind like the one in the video, here’s the way I found worked best in making these.

First, fold the paper about a 1/3 of the way down lengthwise and cut fat fringe at the bottom:


wpid-wp-1416365200616.jpegThen, tape down the folded side (great part for the kids to help with):


Next, glue one end of the paper to the other, making a cylinder shape. Make sure to have the taped side facing in. Then, trace the outline of the end of the cylinder in the middle of a paper plate (make sure the plate is upside down):



Cut that circle out of the plate, and cut the rim of the plate off as well. Next, center the plate on a piece of black construction paper, and trace around the hole. Cut that circle out of the paper.


Put glue (I used tacky glue, but a glue stick or white Elmer’s glue would probably work too) over the entire surface of the plate, and then stick the paper on, being careful to line up the holes. Cut the excess paper off.


Then shimmy the cylinder inside the plate, leaving the fringed end on the white side of the plate. Tape down the tabs to secure the cylinder to the plate.


Next, cut a piece of blue construction paper lengthwise into 5 strips.


Cover the entire length of one strip with glue, and carefully place along the bottom of the cylinder, just resting on top of the plate.

I bought two 8 packs of party hats at Party City for $1 each (they are also sold at the Dollar Store), just to use the strings. Remove the string off of a party hat and tape to the inner rim of the snowman “hat”. Voila! An adorable paper top hat, worthy of a snowman.


Next for the carrot noses. My husband actual helped me with these. He cut a piece of orange construction paper in half width wise. Then he rolled them into cones and taped them down. I then cut the open end to make them a bit smaller. I again stole a string off a party hat and taped the ends to the inside of the “nose”.


Eowyn tried them on, just to make sure they fit right.


Meanwhile, Ary made a skirt out of the scrap rim of a plate and danced around.


I think this game will be a hit! The best part is that the only thing I needed to buy for this project was the birthday hats, so this cost a whopping $2.

So, what do you think–



Frozen Birthday Party Prep: Marshmallow/Troll Bowling and an Ugly Pinata

I went to place the balloon order a couple of days ago. I had intended to also buy the pinata while I was there because Party City is a 20 minute drive one way and it’s hard getting out of the house with a newborn, a toddler, and a pre-schooler. But Laurelyn was fussing which made me panic and I was so focused on placing the balloon order and getting out of there that I completely forgot about the pinata. The idea of trekking out in the snow with all three kids was so awful to me that I decided it would be less stressful to just make my own pinata. Plus I would save money doing it myself. How hard could it possibly be to carve a snowflake shape out of cardboard?

The answer: it’s really hard. I spent about 40 minutes trying to draw the shape out on paper, with zero success. But before throwing in the towel completely I tried cutting it out on cardboard. The result was just plain ugly:

wpid-20141113_174852.jpgEowyn, God bless her, insisted that it was a beautiful snowflake. But let’s be real here–it’s a hot mess. I promptly threw that mess out and called Party City to see if they even had Frozen pinatas in stock. They have 9, so I’m going to head over there this weekend and gladly hack up the $20 for a ready made one.

Tyler–you were totally right. It wasn’t worth it. See? I can totally admit when I’m wrong.

With there being so much to do, I couldn’t let the day go by without getting at least one thing accomplished. So even though it was 7:30 at night, I banged out a game of my own invention: ‘Marshmallow/Troll Bowling’.

For those of you who haven’t seen Frozen a gagillion times, ‘Marshmallow’ is the name that Olaf bestows on Elsa’s evil snowman. I saw this Frozen inspired Olaf/Troll bowling game on Pinterest, but wanted to use a character other than Olaf. Don’t get me wrong–Olaf’s awesome. But he’s cropping up in a lot of my decor/food ideas and it’s not an Olaf party; it’s a Frozen party. Since it’s a bowling game, I thought it would be better to have a villain on the pins and that’s when I remembered Marshmallow.

Instead of using tissue boxes to create the body of the character like in the inspiration post, I opted for a more traditional bowling pin look and used cleaned out chocolate milk containers from Happy Meals (yes, my kids eat McDonald’s from time to time; get over it). I took my handy-dandy Sharpie to them, and voila! Marshmallow bowling pins.


He proved to be more difficult to draw than Olaf, so none of them are perfect. The one pictured above is hands down the best one; there’s a few that even Eowyn said looked bad. I’m doing my best guys!

To make the Troll bowling ball, I took one of the girls’ play balls and put it inside a brown lunch bag. Then I taped it so it formed to the ball, and used a paper towel to dab green paint on top to look like the rock trolls from the movie.


The only thing I had to buy for this was the paper bags, which I got a 100 pack of at Walmart for a few bucks. You can’t beat the price, and I know the kids will love it!


Frozen Birthday Party Prep: Olaf Games

My oldest daughter, Eowyn, turns 4 on the 23rd. It happens to fall on a Sunday this year, so her party gets to be on her actual birthday again (last year it was on a Saturday). Since I was 38 weeks pregnant on Arya’s birthday, we decided to throw them a combination party on Eowyn’s birthday. The party is Frozen themed, which couldn’t be more perfect with the sister theme : ) Of course it wouldn’t be one of my parties if I didn’t do way too many crafts, and I’ve decided to share them with you as we make them. Notice how I said “we”? That’s right–I’m letting the toddlers help. Which can be hard because I lean towards the perfectionist side, but it’s so much more meaningful that we made everything together, rather than it looking Pinterest perfect.

So today’s Frozen crafts were for 2 of the party games: ‘Pin the Nose on Olaf’ and ‘Snow Ball Fight’.

There’s a ‘Pin the Nose on Olaf’ game that you can buy online, but I’m cheap and knew that I could make it myself. I bought a poster board at Walmart for $.90, and all the other supplies I had at home. Although I don’t draw, Olaf is a very simple shape; I mean, he’s a snowman for goodness’ sake. I practiced on scrap paper, and once I was satisfied, I drew him out with pencil (so I could erase mistakes 50 times) on the poster board. Tip–the back of the poster erases much easier than the front.

My Olaf Pre-Toddler Invasion

My Olaf Pre-Toddler Invasion

Not too shabby. Obviously, I left the nose off because…that’s the whole point of the game.

Then I handed over my Mona Lisa to my almost 4 year old to trace with a Sharpie.


Ary started throwing a huge fit because she wanted to color Olaf too, so she added her own touch.



Good thing Olaf likes colors, because he has a pink foot now.

Then I made some carrot noses out of orange construction paper. To make sure they were all the same size I used the first one I made as a stencil for the rest.


For the party, we’ll throw some scotch tape on the noses and voila! A homemade ‘Pin the Nose on Olaf’ game that cost a whopping $.90. Even if I wasn’t such a cheapskate though, I think I would still opt to make things myself, especially when my kids are involved. I just get so much more satisfaction out of things that I know I made with my own hands. Plus I get to teach my kids something new. Winning all around.


Is it Pinterest perfect? No–it’s better, because my kids made it.

‘Snow Ball Fight’ is simple: give each kid a cup of cotton balls and let them have at each other! The kids and I played this last winter during polar vortex days when you’d get hypothermia if you looked out the window for too long, and we always had a blast. With the snow theme attached to Frozen, I thought it would be a great game for the party.

I was going to make these generic snowman cups that I saw on Pinterest, but once I realized how easy Olaf was to draw, I drew him on our cups instead. Then I let the kiddos fill them up with out “snow”.



Done : )


I don’t know how many kids are coming yet, because I just barely got the invites out on Monday, so we filled up 6. The pack of styrofoam cups came with 20 (God, please don’t let 20 kids show up to this thing!), and I drew Olaf on all of them, figuring the extras can be for the adults to drink coffee from. I’ll probably write a quote on the coffee cups like, “I’ve always loved the idea of summer and sun and all things hot” or something.

The 20 pack of styrofoam cups was $.98 and the bag of cotton balls was $3.68 at Walmart. Just like that, you have a fun, under $5 party game that is sure to be a hit : )


Well, I’m off to go clean up the disastrous mess the toddlers made while I did these crafts.

Wait, scratch that–#2 is crying. I guess nap time is over.



How I Made Girly Dalek Costumes

When asked what they wanted to be for Halloween, our 3 and 2 year old girls said to our great delight, “Daleks!” To make sure they weren’t going to change their minds, I waited 2 weeks to start making the costumes (no one sells Dalek costumes for kids). They never wavered, but continued insisting on Dalek costumes.

I know what you’re thinking–our kids are awesome. Be jealous as you shank each other over the last Elsa costume in Target. In case someone else creates an awesome little girl who wants a girly Dalek costume, here’s how I did it.

The Dalek

The Dalek

First, I scoured the internet for ideas. My girls may be young, but they know what they want. So I presented them with two different options: this realistic, but cumbersome to walk in Dalek, and this girly interpretation of a Dalek. It was no surprise to me that they wanted the tutu version. Now the first problem with this design was that I can’t sew, and it’s obvious that whoever made our inspiration Dalek dress could sew. No problem some ribbon and hot glue couldn’t solve (I hoped). I wasn’t exactly sure how I would get it to stay together, but I decided to figure it out later.

Off to Michael’s we went, aimlessly wandering the aisles trying to figure out how we were going to create these things. I made sure to pick out strong ribbon so that it wouldn’t crumble under the weight of the tulle and Dalek balls. The 3 year old wanted to be a purple Dalek, and the 2 year old wanted to be a pink one, and of course they gravitated towards the glitter ribbon and tulle. Even though I knew the house and all it’s inhabitants would be covered in glitter for the next year if I brought that home, I decided to be a cool mom and said “Yes” to the glitter.

While wandering, I came across sheets of felt and decided that they would be the best option for the Dalek ball panels, because it would be strong enough to hold the balls, but not require hems to be sewn like fabric would (read: I can’t even sew a button on a coat).

For the Dalek balls, I had two options: styrofoam balls or plastic Christmas ornaments. I went with the ornaments because I didn’t want to worry about painting styrofoam. The ornaments that I found were made to open so you could put pictures inside, which saved me the step of cutting them; I already had a perfect flat bottom. Since spray paint is expensive, I made the executive decision to paint the Dalek balls the same color for both of the dresses. I was going to do silver, but then I found a glitter spray. I had already committed to the glitter thing–go big or go home, I say.

This whole thing was a learning experience because I went into it with a very vague plan that pretty much got thrown out the window immediately. I was making it up as I went along, so I’m sure there are things that I did that could have been done better. I’m not writing this trying to say that my way of doing things is superior. The whole time I was gluing these babies together I was praying they wouldn’t fall apart! I’m just sharing my process so that if anyone likes the finished product, you can take what I’ve done and put your own spin on it to make it even better. On that note, if anyone does make their own interpretation of my Dalek dress, please share it with me! I would love to see how someone else does it.

Once I brought all my supplies home, I tied the ribbon around the bust line of each kid and cut it. I tied a bow in the back so it would stay in place, allowing a fair amount of extra ribbon to hang so I could adjust the tightness if I needed to.


Next, I wrapped another piece of ribbon around this base ribbon right in the middle of the chest. I wrapped it three times for security.


wpid-wp-1414769788896.jpegI figured it would be stupid to hot glue the ribbons together while the 3 year old was wearing it, so I pinned the ribbon in place with safety pins so I would know where to glue it later.


I then laced either ends of the second piece of ribbon over her shoulders, and through the back of the base ribbon. Again, I pinned them in place.



Then I carefully took it off my wonderful model and hot glued my ribbon together, creating a halter.

Next, I measured for the length of the dress. This part is entirely up to the person making it. For the sake of not using more than one spool of tulle per dress because I’m cheap, I opted to make them hit just above the knee (although the 2 year old’s dress came out too short; wiggly subjects are difficult to measure). Then I cut a piece of cardboard to that length (I used the flaps of a diaper box). Next, I wrapped the tulle around the cardboard and secured it with rubber bands. I then carefully cut the layers of tulle on either side of the cardboard piece. I was left with pieces of tulle that were all exactly the same size, but I only had to measure once and cut twice.


Then I folded each piece of tulle in half lengthwise twice, and hot glued it onto my ribbon halter one by one. To glue it, I folded each piece over the ribbon, gluing it on the back and front of the ribbon. I layered the tulle pieces on top of each other to create a pleat effect.




The felt pieces needed to be 3 1/2 inches wide in order for the ornaments to fit. I only needed 3 felt panels for each dress, which I was able to get from one sheet of felt. This was my first time working with felt and I learned the hard way that it is extremely hard to cut. Do yourself a favor and buy sharp fabric scissors, because it took forever using my cheap-o paper scissors. Then I hot glued the panels on: one in the middle and the other two on either sides. I wrapped the felt around the ribbon like I did with the tulle, gluing it on the back and the front of the ribbon.

Next, I sprayed the glitter on the ornaments; they needed two coats to get full coverage. Then I sprayed them with spray Modge Podge to make sure the glitter wouldn’t budge. Unfortunately, it dulled the sparkle and dried in weird splotches. Don’t spray with Modge Podge if you try this. Once they were dry, I hot glued them onto the felt panels (which were already glued onto the dresses). The panels for the 3 year old’s dress required 5 balls each (15 total), and the 2 year old’s dress required 3 per panel (9 total). The ornaments were sold individually, so I ended up using 12 (because I used them as halfs).


Then there was the issue of the Dalek’s head.


Although I started working on these costumes at the beginning of October, I did also just have baby number 3 on October 20th. I was already biting off more than I could chew by choosing to make costumes this year, but there was no way I was going to steer them towards being princesses when it was THEIR idea to be Daleks. I knew that it would take shopping around to find a construction helmet like the one in our inspiration picture, plus I would have to paint them, which would mean buying two different colors of spray paint. Remember–I’m cheap. I chose to make the Dalek light ear thingys using a headband, electric tea lights, and Dixie cups. I knew that by doing this I wouldn’t be able to incorporate the Dalek eye, but we’re going for a cutesy interpretation, not a realistic copy.

These were super simple. I took my Walmart headbands and hot glued the tea lights on, making sure that the switch was accessible. Then I hot glued the Dixie cups to fit around the tea lights. Voila! Dalek ear thingys. Why blue Dixie cups instead of clear, you ask? Because Target only had blue and I just had a baby. You couldn’t even tell what color the cups were in the dark anyways. These headbands acted fantastically as flashlights so the kids didn’t get run over while trick-or-treating. Mom for the win!


Of course the 3 year old decided to add her own touch:


The last part to sort out were the Dalek arms:

dalek_series7_figure1-001Most people on the internet opted to send their kids out with a toilet plunger in one hand and a wire whisk in the other. I knew that my kids were not going to want to carry them all night though, and that for the time that they did carry them would be using them to hit each other with. But I really wanted to incorporate them in some way. Then I got the brilliant idea to make custom candy bags. I found a purple cloth one at the Dollar Store and a purple felt one at Walmart for $3. Then I spray painted halved styrofoam balls black that I got at Walmart for $.97 each. The spray paint did not cover the styrofoam very well at all. I gave up after the billionth coat and just hot glued them on.



I couldn’t think of a clever way to attach the whisks, so I decided to just let them hold them and throw them in the bags once they were sick of them.

To complete the look, I put the girls in solid long sleeved shirts and pants (that they already had), color coordinating to match the purple and pink. It was the coldest Halloween in a decade, but luckily enough the girls had pink and purple jackets/scarves/mittens to match.


The total cost for the supplies for each Dalek getup was $30. Although I didn’t save any money by making it myself, I didn’t really have a choice because no one sells Dalek costumes for kids. Honestly, I really enjoyed making my kids’ Halloween costumes. The girls were so happy with their costumes, which made all the work worth it.


And there you have it! Girly Dalek costumes. Happy Exterminating!