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Monday, April 16, 2012

Let's Play Ball! ---- St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Themed Birthday Party

Pin It Now! We are HUGE Cardinals baseball fans, so I'm not going to lie, when my son came to me and said he wanted a Cardinals themed party for his 9th birthday, I was thrilled!

I always make sure to ask the kids about what theme they want at least a couple months out so that I can begin keeping my eye open for things that would go with the theme (re: decor, party favors, etc.) when I'm out in the store .  It also helps me from getting stressed because I'm giving myself more time that if I CAN'T find what I need in the store, then I have time to order items online if needed.

This time, I happened to stumble upon a goldmine of baseball themed items at Hobby Lobby in their clearance area! I LOVE Hobby Lobby's clearance area and if you have never taken the time to go to the back of the store to look at it, I would suggest going and checking it out next time you are there.  Here are some of the items I found back there (by the way, I found out that they were getting rid of all of their baseball merchandise to make room for a new display, so I completely lucked out, but this is not the 1st time I have found wonderful items back there):

Baseball pinata, whistles & yo-yo's

Baseball drinking cups

Hot dog holders (how fun are these???)

Baseball window clings


The invitation for this party was so much fun to make and my son ended up loving it, so that's the most important part ;o)  I wanted it to look like a ticket...


I used shelf liner and cut them to look like homeplate and bases and used them as placemats on the tables...inexpensive and easy!

The baseball in the center of the table is actually a rug that I found in the bargain bin section of Target (LOVE that area!), I found the popcorn containers at the Dollar Store and I found the little STL Cardinals hats online on Amazon. The hats served double duty as snack holders as well as to serve ice cream in to the kids.

My favorite project was the "floating balloon picture collage". I had about 25 pictures of my son in his Cardinals gear over the past 9 years and tied one to the end of each balloon string and had the balloons floating all throughout the living was fun for all of the guests to walk through and see all of the fun pictures!

We had a couple of Cardinals balloons there as well that we tied to my son's chair when he opened up his presents...

We decided to go with a Cardinals jersey cake and some cupcake baseballs...I was really happy with the results! Before I could get started though, I needed to find something large enough to put the cake on, so my solution: an old wipe off board and a red t-shirt...

It may not look pretty on the back, but it turned out looking nice on the front and that's what matters :o)

The cake:

We had wiffle ball for the kids to play outside as well as this large baseball for the kids to hit/kick around either outside or in the basement...

Extras / Crafts for the kids:

We filled the baseball pinata with many of the typical items, but I also found these cute chocolate baseballs from the local candy store. I also put some foam water balls (for the pool) that look like baseballs that I found at the Dollar Store in there as well.

As you all know, I like to tie in some type of craft item for the kids that will serve as an activity, but also as a party favor.  This year, I had small canvas bags for each of the kids to decorate that they then used to put all of their "loot" from the pinata in.

Given the baseball theme, I couldn't resist getting some of the traditional baseball park treats to send home with the kids as well...

Overall, I would say that we "hit it out of the park" on this one!  The kids all seemed to have a lot of fun and I had A LOT of fun planning it!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Valentine fun...

Pin It Now! Yes, I realize that it's now April and I'm just now talking about Valentine's Day, but the kids and I did several really fun crafty things this year, so I thought it would be worth sharing :o)

One of the biggest projects that we took on was to make homemade Valentines.  We have always used store bought ones in the past and just added some candy to them, but with the wonderful influence of Pinterest, I was inspired for us to make our own!

One thing that is important to me is to find something and use it as inspiration, not a blueprint...I like to put my own special twist on anything I do.

Here is a picture of the Valentine that I found on Pinterest:

I LOVED the concept of this, but wanted to take it to the next level :o)  Here is what we did...we made our own fish bowls (hand cut), hand wrote each of them (I REALLY like a personal touch on things, and added some Nerds candy on the bottom of the "bowl" to make it look like rocks on the bottom of a fish bowl.

What made these Valentines really special was not only that they were homemade, but that the kids and I spent some quality time making them together Needless to say, these Valentines were a HUGE hit with all of their friends and teachers!

I had also signed up to bring a snack for my daughter's daycare classroom party, so she and I created these fun snack creations out of watermelon, strawberry flavored heart marshmallows and regular large marshmallows.  I put them on popcicle (or craft) sticks as opposed to skewers so that they were not pointy for the little ones.  I found a bag of the sticks at Michaels Craft Store and use them for various projects.

We used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the hearts and we preassembled them all the night before and stored them in the fridge on a paper plate in a large zip lock.  They kept very well and the marshmallows didn't even get soggy, which is what I was afraid of.

The kids, my daughter included, were REALLY excited to see the treats...I mean, what kid doesn't like marshmallows? ;o)

Some other fun things that I did throughout the week of Valentine's Day to surprise the kids:

Heart shaped blueberry pancakes. TIP: I always use blueberry muffin boxed mix when making blueberry pancakes now (got this tip from my mother-in-law) because they are quick and easy AND my kids love them because of the sweetness! I don't do anything fancy to shape them, I just use the spatula to shape them as they are cooking.

Heart shapped cinnamon rolls. TIP: I used store bought crescent roll sheets, made a cinnamon/sugar mixture (similar to that of a snickerdoodle cookie - 2 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon); lay sheet flat, sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture, roll up, cut into 1 1/2 in (approx) size rolls. undo the rolls to move them into a heart shape as shown below (VERY easy). Bake at 350 degrees for approx 8-10 minutes.

Having two little kids, it's a rare occasion that my husband and I get to go out to a nice Valentine dinner alone, so we decided to round out the week with a "fancy" FAMILY meal at home, consisting of shrimp cocktail, steak, baked potatoes, grilled veggies and homemade chocolate covered strawberries....YUM!

All in all, it was a Valentine's Day filled with fun projects, yummy food, and most importantly...lots of love! :o)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beautiful Mizzou!

Pin It Now! This is kind of veering off of my normal topics, but one of my all time favorite hobbies has always been photography.  In my personal life, my photos generally center around my children and my family. However, being the main event planner for my college, I also have been dubbed the college photographer not only because I attend pretty much every function (because I planned it ;o), but also because I never go ANYWHERE without my camera and/or my phone (with a camera on it) in tow.

I, by no means, claim to be a professional photographer, however, I love trying to look at objects from different and sometimes unique perspectives to add interest to the photo. 

Hopefully you will enjoy some of the photos I've included below from my album I've called "Beautiful Mizzou"...these are just a few of the beautiful things that I get to see everyday when I am at work :o)

The Columns on Francis Quadrangle

Landscaping at Jesse Hall
The Columns
The Columns on Francis Quadrangle
The Columns and Jesse Hall
The Columns
Jesse Hall
Jesse Hall dome
Springtime at Jesse Hall
Chancellor's Residence on the Quad
Springtime at the Chancellor's Residence
Thomas Jefferson statue and the Chancellor's Residence on the Quad
Thomas Jefferson on the Quad
TJ on the Quad
Memorial Union
Memorial Union
Memorial Union Tower
Landscaping between Memorial Union and Gwynn Hall

If you have never been lucky enough to visit the University of Missouri campus in person, I highly encourage you to do will NOT be disappointed!