Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Holiday Gifts on a budget

This is really a hard task. Staying on a budget while finding great Christmas gifts.

How about a personalized Deck of Cards with your family photo. Sort of a greeting card AND a great gift at the same time!
Another terrific gift are soups or baking mixes in a jar. Heart4home has a HUGE list for gifts in a jar. Print out a cute label with cooking instructions... stick to the jar & VOILA ... the perfect gift for teachers, neighbors, friend & family.

Personalized Microwave popcorn at & as a special treat... slide in a Blockbuster or Movie theater gift card.

Wax Firestarters

These are great to keep in the car or snowmobile as emergency heat or a basketful by the fireplace.

#1... Newspaper knots. Take the comics for colorful knots or any newspaper.
lay out a sheet & roll or fold from one corner to the other. Tie CAREFULLY into a "knot". Don't pull too tight & rip. Melt wax (leftover broken crayons or any wax).... dip the knotted corner & halfway up the ends. Let dry. Add to an inexpesive basket from the dollar store or a thrift store. Lighting instructions.... just light the ends that don't have wax & set into logs.

#2... Toilet paper tube firestarters. take the cleaned off empty toilet paper tubes & using a paper punch... punch 3 holes up each 4 sides. Stuff with shredded newspaper OR strip shred all that junk mail. Stuff the tubes pretty tight with the paper. Melt wax (crayon pieces or clear) & lay paper tubes in (making sure they are totally submerged in wax).
Let soak in wax for a few min. Take out with tongs & put on a cooling rack to drain & dry. Put wax paper or foil under rack to catch excess was. Light & add to logs. For Emergency heat... these will stay burning for about 20 min. So keeping in a car during the winter is a great idea.

#3 ... Pinecone firestarters. I use a little candle scent for this... get the disposable aluminum muffin tins from dollar store... Lightly spray with spray oil like Pam. Melt wax & add scent and color (optional) Cut a 2 or 3 inch piece of candle wick & set in tin with a pine cone. Pour in wax, let cool & pop out of tin. Fill a basket for a beautiful decoration at the fireplace. Just set a firestarter on top of log & light. Melting wax will scent the room & keep the logs burning.

Gifts for kids...
Chunky Rainbow Crayons:
Have lots of crayon stubs that are too small to hold on to? Don't throw them out! You can use them to create big, chunky crayons. Ask a local school, daycare or church for broken crayons.

Here's How:
Gather up all of your broken crayons, and cut them into small pieces.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Fill the muffin tin or aluminum "throw-a-way" tins from the dollar store with a inch-thick layer of crayon pieces.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the wax is melted.
Allow the tin to cool; then pop out the crayons, and they're ready for use.
Candy and soap making molds can also be used to create fun, shaped crayons.

Duck Soaps

Purchase glycerin soap from a craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels that melts in the microwave. add soap color & scent.

Rubber duckies at any dollar store or

Pour melted soap into molds or the disposable plastic sour cream type containers. Set in rubber ducks. Cool & pop out. Wrap in cellophane & add a bow.

So there are a few gift ideas that won't break the bank during the Holidays.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Holiday Parties on a budget ... decorations

Christmas time is always a financially tight time of year. Here are some "budget minded" ideas that won't empty your pockets.


Dollar stores such as Dollar tree or Craft stores like Hobby lobby or Michaels can be great places for inexpensive decorating products. Another place to find interesting items is

A beautiful Table centerpiece.... a 3 or 4 candle holder that holds taper candles ... hot glue garland or white fake poinsettias around the bottom of the holder. Add red or white candles.

Personalized Candles are also a great addition to your decorations.

Plenty of Garland can turn your home into a winter wonderland. Using Command adhesive hooks (by 3M) on walls or stairways. Wind lights ... wire berries ... pine cones in the garland.

Wind some garland around either a wire ring or Styrofoam ring.... add fake berries ... fake poinsettias & a red ribbon as a beatutifull wreath. Hang inexpensive ornaments from the garland.

Silver or gold garland with lights added are easily taped around inside windows, around doorways or arches.

Tie greens or ornaments to the chandelier with a little Christmas ribbon, just make sure they don't hang low enough for any candles on the table to catch them on fire.

Get a wicker basket with a handle ..... fill with pinecones. Hot glue them together & wind in some lights for a beautiful floor decoration or by a fireplace.

Save all those Christmas cards & tape into a tree shape on the all or hang over your curtain rod over a window. You can also tape them into garland on the stairway.

So there are a few decorating tips for the holidays.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shiver Me Timbers, Pirate Theme Birthday Party

Shiver me timbers! Ahoy ye hearties and avast thy chase for a booty of pirate party ideas are right here on this blog which marks the X. For all sea dog pirates who are searching for party idea treasures for their young swashbuckler, look no further.

Are you ready to transform your home into a Caribbean port and your backyard into a pirate ship? Pirate parties only come once in a lifetime and you want to make it one that your little pirate will remember forever.

INVITATIONS: The invitation are a drawing of an island with various features labeled (eg., Deadman's Swamp, Pirate's Cove, etc.) The font is similar to Old English in keeping with the pirate theme. The party blurb is "Aaarrr! Come if you dare to (boys names) pirate party. They are turning 7 and need shipmates to swab the deck, walk the plank and look for pirate treasure. We set sail on, Pier located at.., RSVP First Mate." They are asked to wear striped t-shirts if they have one. The paper is aged by dabbing it with a wet tea bag and once dry the edges are burnt to give it that old "treasure map" look. The invite is rolled up and put into a bottle with some sand, small shells and skull confetti. Each bottle has a black label with a white skull and crossbones and the child's name on it, and are hand delivered.

Make a poster that says "Beware of pirates" and trace a skull and crossbone symbol next to it. Use the same lettering that is used on the invite. Chalk it brown and burned the edges. Hang that on the gate or door that the kids come through, next to the sign have a skeleton hanging. Find some pirate heads cutout at a party store and hang them around. The center piece for the tablecan be a ship. Have a four foot piece of wood that is about 5 inches wide and about 4 inches deep. Drill 3 holes for dowels and take 3 full size white poster boards and make sails. The middle sail attach a plastic jolly roger flag to the top. On the two other sails put a 8 1/2 by 11 piece of cardstock for some small sails. Place ship on a blue plastic table cloth. It looks fantastic. Cake can go next to ship. Nets hung with seashells from the ceiling.
Eating tables have plastic red table cloths and red and black balloons everywhere. I had black plastic utensils and blue paper plates. Paper cups and napkins with a jolly roger symbol at a party store. Throughout the party have music from Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride playing. The cd is called Haunted Disney. It has a few versions of "Yo Ho A pirates life for me" the music is a little more light hearted than the actual movie soundtrack.
Give each child a red sash to tie around their waist when they arrive then they can go to make the craft. Mom and helpers dress in black capris and white top with a red sash tied around the waist.

GOODIE BAGS: Plenty of chocolate engraved coins at

A pirate theme with a picture of the "Birthday Boy" on a Personalized candy bar wrapper at . Plastic beads, coins, play money all fron dollar store or party store.

ACTIVITIES: "Ocean in a Bottle".
INGREDIENTS: clean, empty individual soda or water bottle for each child - label removed, and child's name pre-written on cap with Sharpie marker; vinegar (enough to fill 1/2 each bottle; for example, for sixteen ounce bottle you would need 8 ounces of vinegar for each child); vegetable oil (enough to fill 1/2 of each bottle); funnels (at least one for every three kids. The ideal would be one for each child.); glue or hot glue gun; optional are blue food coloring (a few drops can color the whole batch of vinegar), glitter, plastic sea life beads that are small enough to fit through the bottle opening, and/or small shells that will fit in opening. Party stores or Dollar Stores carry alot of these items.
DIRECTIONS: Have a bottle at each place with the oil already measured out and poured in. Have the vinegar (already tinted blue, if you're doing that) pre-measured into paper cup at each place. The kids get to pour the vinegar in (and watch the oil rise through it to the top). They then can add any embellishments you might have -- beads, glitter, shells etc. Then have them take the bottles over to a glue station where an adult glues the caps on (so when the children play with their ocean there are no leaks).

GAMES: Treasure Hunt. Each child was given a plastic compass--Dollar General $1 for 4 to help them "find" the clues. Make two treasure hunt boxes filled with Mardi Gras beads from any party store and fake money. Place 5 clues around the house that each team had to find and read the clues: Time is Passing….tick, tock The next clue is… the rock A Famous Pirate saying is "Swab the deck" This is where you'll find The next clue! Hope these clues aren't a bore, Because the next clue is Hidden by the door The AC holds the final clue So go get it, Your team needs you! Look in the vacant lot for a BLACK "X" Look in the vacant lot for a RED "X" The last clue place had 2 plastic shovels, one for each team--the teams had to physically dig up the treasure and my husband buried it kind of deep, so it took about 10 minutes to dig up.

FOOD: We had a snack table. I used a pirate themed table cloth on this table. I had a red plate and napkin caddy that I used to hold pirate themed plates and napkins, along with red and black forks. I used a black bowl to hold chips and dip, another black bowl to hold goldfish snacks, and a red bowl to hold Pirates of the Carribbean fruit snacks (individually wrapped). I cut out the picture on the box of fruit snacks and used double tape to tape it to the back of the red bowl. It made a cute display for the snacks. I then made a center piece for the table. I used a cardboard pirate treasure chest (matched the table cloth, plates, and napkins), a large skull (halloween decoration), a map(came with party supplies). I set up these three pieces, added a pirate eye patch to the skull and then added gold, pearl, and colored beaded necklaces (left over from Mardi Gras) around the area. I also added lots of gold coins, and all different color gems (bought at craft stores near the floral department). I hung a pirate themed banner above the table and then anchored two bunches of helium balloons the each side of the table with smaller versions of the big cardboard treasure chest. I put a balloon wieght in each treasure chest and then tied the ballons to the lid of the chest and closed it. On the side of the snack table I had the drinks in an ice chest. We had canned drinks and bottled water for the adults and ocean water (blue juice) and sharks blood (red juice) for the kids. The kids loved the named of their drinks.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Princess Party Theme

Hear ye, hear ye. All Queens and Kings across the land who are searching for party ideas for their young ladies' royal birthday celebration, should look no further. For here are Princess Party Ideas!Are you ready to transform your home into a castle and your porch into the palace bridge? Will you welcome guests with a red carpet and entertain a party wearing crowns of gold? Princess parties only come once in a lifetime and you want to make it one that your little princess will remember forever.

INVITATIONS: Princess party invitations can be royal scrolls, glass princess slippers, castle invitations, or knights on royal steeds. Just be sure to make them really special by using a fancy font, calligraphy, or a golden glitter ink. Be sure to give the start time, end time, date and location of the royal ball. Since they are usually hand delivered, you can roll them in a scroll and tie them with a bow or seal them with an official royal wax seal.

DECORATIONS: Set the mood for your party with great decorations like a balloon archway and a royal red carpet entrance. Cover the party table in pink accented with streamers, balloons and confetti. Create a throne for your princess to sit in when it's time for punch and cake. If your really ambitious you can create a castle out of some large boxes for a special play area just for the party.

ACTIVITIES: Sometimes the memories are even more special when guests get to take home the artwork that they've created themselves at the party. Whether they make tiaras, crowns, paintings or sugar cube castles, it will be something special that helps them remember and share their event with others.

GAMES: What princess party is complete without some royal games and events. Games like kiss the frog, pin the wings on the dragon, pass the poison apple or a musical princess walk, add excitement to the party and provide a time for everyone to interact.

COSTUMES: A princess party just isn't the same without all the princesses dressed in their royal attire. If they are attending a royal ball or just having a princess tea, somehow the magic of dress-up makes the party special.

PARTY SNACKS: Don't forget snacks and drinks for all of your royal guests. Certainly snacks and drinks that are colored in princess pink are always top of the list. But sometimes it's best to incorporate some healthy vegetable snacks while providing a pink colored dip.

CAKE: Although any royal cake will do, a castle cake is popular with those who like to bake. For those who prefer a simple and less complicated treat, individual cupcakes and ice cream in individual cupcake liners can reduce the mess of serving princess treats under pressure.

Party favors are loved by everyone and say thank you for coming. In fact, adding a thank you to every favor bag, or sending them out after a party is always polite and appreciated gesture.

Top Party Theme ideas

Looking to plan a birthday party your child will never forget? From pirates to princesses, you can host your best fest yet! These are the top ten party themes! All themes can be made into
great Candy bar favors with personalized candy bar wrappers!
1) Princess Party
2) Pirate Party Ideas
3) Sweet 16 Party
4) Tropical Luau Party
5) Scavenger Hunt
6) Sleep-over Party
7) Tea Party Theme
8) Fear Factor Ideas
9) Dora the Explorer
10)Beach Party Ideas