Party

Paper Snowflakes // Table Runner


Paper Snowflakes // Table Runner

Making paper snowflakes can be one of the most frustrating or most satisfying exercises ever. For little hands with dull scissors, it can be tough. Depending on the child, I think age five-to-seven is a good time to start practicing and letting them handle a sharper scissor. At first, make the snowflakes simple with just a few cuts and notches. As they grow and become more dexterous and patient, they will automatically start making their snowflakes more complex. At our house, we finally all LOVE making them. My youngest is seven and he thankfully is not a perfectionist, so anything will do. There are some great patterns on Pinterest…here is a good board for ideas.

Today I am sharing how I made this snowflake table runner (easy!) and how we make our snowflakes on You Are My Fave.

xo, Bar

 

Kid Made: Thankful Table


Kid Made: Thankful Table

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday because it is all about food, family, and relaxation. The absence of gift-giving takes takes away all pressures, and the long weekend that follows is always lazy and perfect. Sleeping in, family hikes, football games, leftovers, making crafts (of course)…it’s all good for the soul.

Last year we had a mini Thanksgiving before the big day. I’m sure some of you know the drill – having both sides of your family close-by means sharing the “big day”. Our mini Thanksgiving was with my mom, Oma. We decided to roll out some craft paper and draw the place settings (idea from Trula Kids). We dotted the paper with white circle stickers which became spots to write thankful words. My favorite one was “me”, written by my six-year old son. Turns out he was thankful for himself! It’s good to love yourself, I always say. (Hopefully he won’t become a politician. He was also thankful for art, football, food, mom and voices. Phew.)

I left the crayons and markers out all weekend so that by Sunday night, it became a true work of art. I didn’t want to take it off. I wanted to freeze time and remain in the glow of Thanksgiving.

Try this for your next big family gathering (it doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving)!  It’s such a nice way to connect with and honor the people they love, and to show gratitude for the little things in life that we so often overlook. We really do have so much to be thankful for!

xo, Bar

 

25 Halloween Ideas


25 Halloween Ideas

Here is a list for all of you out there who, like me, doesn’t get very excited about decorating for Halloween. My kids are always begging me to ramp it up. And we get over 600 little trick-or-treaters coming to our house every year (that’s a fact), so the pressure is always on! Over the years I have become less of a grinch and really tried to embrace the season. I have collected lots of vintage goodies, and we are always making our garlands and decorating pumpkins. But still…I have to really try hard when I bring up that box from the basement.

In this list I tried to stick to things that I could see myself doing or making. There are decorating ideas, kid crafts, DIYs, food creations, printables, and lots of links. Here we go…

1st row: DIY easy paper garland by The House that Lars Built // stuff candy into a plastic glove for goody bags // homemade paper pumpkins by Mer Mag // DIY felt ghost garland by Live Laugh Rowe

2nd row: vintage cat garland (and lots of other goodies to purchase) found at Vintage Halloween // DIY paper ghost garland by Skip to my Lou // paint stripes on your pumpkins (plus tons of other great pumpkin ideas) from A Subtle Revelry

3rd row: washi tape your pumpkins! (find wash tape on Etsy) by The Grant Life // candy wrapper garland (save wrappers from this year for next year) by Art Bar // DIY “boo” wrapped pipe cleaners by Cakies // zombie pumpkins by Valley Girl (get giant eyes here)

4th row: vampire teeth make a gruesome but healthy-ish snack by Learn Create Love // orange paper garland found on Etsy but that you could make yourself with this stamp // cutest pumpkins with carrot noses by The House the Lars Built // hang witch hats for easy decorating (see image for more details)

5th row: cutest clementine jack-o-lanterns by Buzz Mills // pretty yet still creepy front entry decoration by Martha Stewart (includes templates) // black cat and other free clip art by Matthew Mead

6th row: DIY paper spider webs cut like snowflakes by The Heart of Mine // scatter fake bones and dirt in a wheelbarrow (this is my fave…so easy) // simple white pumpkins on the mantle from my own house // mummy dogs by Our Ordinary Life

7th row: DIY ghost garland with tissues and cotton balls by Peppermint Plum // mummy making craft with masking tape by No Time for Flashcards // DIY goblin garland is a great collage craft for a group of kids by Art Bar

Last year I posted about 31 homemade costume ideas, so check that out if you need inspiration! Also, here is a little article on decorating for Halloween with things you have around the house. And lastly, these blogs all have great Halloween ideas: Babble, Apartment Therapy, Good Housekeeping, Design Mom, Creature Comforts, and Handmade Charlotte.

This weekend we will be getting our act together and putting out all of the decorations, carving the pumpkins and finalizing costumes. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see what my kids will be wearing (at this point it is still a mystery)!

xo Bar

 

A Backyard Birthday


A Backyard Birthday

To some, the thought of a backyard birthday party is terrifying. I will agree that it is so much easier taking your child’s party to Pump it Up or Chuck-e-Cheese! If my kids would ask for one of those parties, I would be more than happy to oblige. However, except for the movie theatre party last year, my three kids have always wanted their parties to be at home. I did the math recently and this means that I have planned and executed 29 kid birthday parties at our home. I guess that makes me an expert. But the fact is, you are never really an expert because each party is different. They all have their own vibe depending on the age of the kids, the amount of kids, the weather (of course) and the activities. The only truly predictable part about having a party at home is that things never go as planned. You have to be able to relax and let the party take you where it wants to go. You have to relinquish control and focus on just one thing… the birthday child. As long as they are smiling, your party is a success!

The birthday child rarely, if ever, cares about what your vision is for their party. They (and their friends) would be more than happy to just run around the house and swing on the swing set. Nonetheless, most of us moms are crazy enough that we plan for weeks to make the party as creative and pretty as possible.

You can find my Backyard Party To-do List here.

For party themes, game ideas, and arts + crafts, download this PDF to help you plan.

My free printable Treasure Hunt Party invitations can be found here.

My flubber and playdough recipes are always big hits at a party. Either at a table for those kids who want to be mellow, or as favors.

Speaking of favors, here is my post on the Art Kit party favors I did for this party.

You can hit my Pinterest boards for more kid + party ideas.

I hope these lists help you plan your next outdoor party. Just do it!

xo Bar

{photography by Alix Martinez}

 

 

Mini Rainbow Garland


Mini Rainbow Garland

This simple garland is easy to make and can be used anywhere…anytime. I recently used mine as part of a photo backdrop at my son’s birthday party. I used safety pins to fasten it to the side of a white sheet, and despite gale force winds that day, the garland never ripped or blew away! I like this garland very much.

Here’s what you’ll need and how to get it done:

Supplies: colored paper (I get mine at Staples), twine, double sticky tape, scissors

Step 1: Cut your paper width-wise into 2″ strips. Cut your strips in half so that they are now 2″ x 4.25″.

Step 2: Lay out your string on the floor or a long table, and organize your paper strips into whatever color scheme you like. My string was between 9 – 10 feet long.

Step 3: Put a piece of double-sticky tape on your paper strip, slide it under the string, and then fold it in half.

Step 4: Cut the bottom of your flags. You can cut them the way I did it, or into little triangles (or leave them square).

Voilà. So simple and festive. You could use scrapbook paper, too, for a patterned garland. Or newspaper, recycled art, maps, or fabric strips. So many possibilities!

xo Bar

{party photography by Alix Martinez}

 

 

Donut Cake Awesomeness!


Donut Cake Awesomeness!

How brilliant is this cake? It pains me to say that it was not my idea. I was reading this fabulous blog, A Cup of Jo, and she made a donut cake for her son’s birthday. So I copied her idea.

The donut cake is genius for several reasons: 1) no plates or forks needed, 2) no cutting of cake means all sizes are equal, 3) husband can pick up donuts and even make cake! And last but not least…the look on your child’s face when he sees his cake for the first time will stay with you forever.

xo Bar

{photography by Alix Martinez}

 

A Birthday Party that Celebrates Giving


A Birthday Party that Celebrates Giving

Oh, the birthday parties! You plan and work hard to make the day unforgettable, and usually things go really well. Then everyone goes home and you are left with a pile of presents to open. This is the part that causes me angst. We have so much already! My house is filled to the brim and my kids do not need to get one more thing. I used to collect the gifts and put them in the “gift closet” when they weren’t looking, usually to take out on a rainy day or give to our local toy drive every Christmas (sound familiar?). Then I discovered ECHOage! The answer to my worries of over-abundance. I wrote about this impressive company last year, but I wanted to mention them again because I think every kid should have an ECHOage party!

Basically, EHOage sends your guest list an e-vite that includes a way to donate to the charity of your choice. There are over 200 charities to choose from. This year my son chose Blessings in a Backpack, a charity that provides food for needy kids on the weekends when they are not in school. This is the fourth year my son has done an ECHOage party, and he always choses a food related charity (the kid loves to eat!). Since age four, he has been able to thank his friends for helping him feed hungry kids. I can’t tell you what an impact this has had on him. He’s developed an understanding that not everyone is as privileged as him, and that it feels really good to help and to give. The genius of ECHOage is that they split the donation so that your child gets a check for half of the money, making it possible for them to chose a gift for themselves. This way, the giving is associated with a good feeling, versus sacrifice (it is their birthday, after all).

Founded by two moms, ECHOage is a brilliant and easy way to teach your kids a little bit about being socially responsible. (This is not a paid endorsement or anything, I just really love this concept!)

Have a happy weekend!

xo Bar

{The poster my son is holding was designed by me, but ECHOage does provide “awards” that you can print and hang up at your child’s party.}

 

 

Art Kit Party Favor


Art Kit Party Favor

There are many ways to go when planning a party favor. I love the one-gift idea very much, like a puzzle or a ball or some princess wings. Last year we made flubber for everyone which was awesome. We’ve also done our fair share of paper bags filled with junk. These happen to be a parent’s least favorite, but the kids love them. The more useless dollar store toys + candy the closer they feel to having won the jackpot. My very favorite favor to give is arts + crafts (of course!). I am so excited to share this favor idea because it’s affordable (about $5.00 if you make 10 or more) and so cute!

Art kit party favor items:

muslin bag (10 x 12, set of 25 for $28, $1.12 ea) or (muslin bag 8 x 12, set of 10 for $12, $1.20 ea)

wooden star (5.5 x 5.5, $0.47 ea)

paints (I got mine at Michael’s, $2.99 for set of 3, $1 ea) – you can also find these at CVS or Walgreens

brushes (I got mine at Michael’s, 25 brushes for $4.99, $0.20 ea)

glitter glue (I got my 5-pack at Michael’s for $2.99, $0.60 ea) – you can also find these at CVS or Walgreens

pom-poms ($8.90 for half-pounder bag, about $0.10 per handful) – you can also find these at Walmart or Michael’s

mini plastic bagettes (2 x 3.75, $5.35 for box of 175, $0.03 ea) – you can also get these at Walmart or the same place as the wooden stars

lollipop (24 pops for $9.15, $0.38 ea)

I used alphabet rubber stamps and some perler + letter beads to embellish the muslin bags. But honestly, you could put all of this stuff in a paper bag or a plastic bag, too.

I envision the kids racing home to pull out their stars, paints, glitter + poms. Then propping their finished stars up on the mantle for everyone to admire. Well, that’s at least what’s happening over here!

Happy Monday Tuesday!

 

One Word Resolutions


One Word Resolutions

Last night we had a few neighbors over, which is always the best way to spend New Year’s Eve. It’s easy, and no one has to drive! I fringed the fridge with one-word-resolutions…a little takeaway for my guests. It was interesting and insightful to see what everyone picked. My daughters and son picked one, too. I picked focus and accept. At the end of the night my husband tore some words off and put them in a hat for everyone to pick. This was a fun way to play, too, because the word you picked become more like your fate. Or, if you really want to stir the pot (and who doesn’t at 1am after a few jello shots!) you can pick one for your spouse. Look out! I picked adventure for my hubby, which got me a giant eye roll. Subtle, I know.

If you want to make a fringe wall of your own, email me and I will send you the templates!

Here are the words I used plus some extras:

love / listen / focus / simplicity /  laugh / friends / create / play / read / adventure / patience / exercise / pray / peace / breathe / persist / evolve / connect / smile / appreciate / relax / compassion / forgive / accept / joy / balance / harmony / give / grateful / calm / authentic / remember / release / health / floss / happy

Cheers to a happy 2013 and best wishes for good health, happiness and well being! xo

 

 

Homemade Wrap // Part 1


Homemade Wrap // Part 1

My mind is racing these days. How could it not? It’s THE HOLIDAYS, which in theory are supposed to be warm and cozy and a time to give and share with family. Don’t get me wrong, I was actually one of those kids growing up who forced her parents to buy a big tree when they just wanted a mini with less mess. And I would decorate the life out of that sucker with as much handmade goodness as I could fit. I have always loved Christmas. But it’s just not simple anymore. Gifts to buy, gifts to make, when to fit in Christmas with all of the different relatives, what food to cook, recitals, teacher conferences. What am I forgetting? Christmas cards, stocking stuffers, decorate the house. I have not yet perfected ‘planning ahead’, so late nights are my December standard.

What this means is that I have to channel my inner child. The one who just wants everyone to be happy, and who can’t wait to share stuff she’s made. I can do it! And not only that – you can, too!

You might think it’s crazy to make your own wrapping paper during this time of stress (there, I said it). But for me, I still have at least one child who would spend all day making these papers, so it’s actually not any work for me at all. And I get to wrap all of the teacher gifts with this beautiful art, which always makes them smile.

Here’s how to do it: Buy a roll of white paper. Put out sharpies, watercolor, markers, rubber stamps…whatever you have around. Clear the dining room table, and create! Circles, stripes, flowers, patterns…it’s that simple. The bubble wrap printing is a little more involved, I wrote about that here. Perhaps save that for another time.

Here is a link for the cute teacher gift tags.

May the force be with you…and keep smiling, it really does help the mood. ♡