Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Evan’s Dinosaur Birthday

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

This post contains affiliate links.

I asked Evan want kind of party he wanted for his 3rd birthday and he said “Dinosaurs”. I told him he could have anything he wanted – trucks, trains, pirates, diggers, ANYTHING – and he said “Dinosaurs”. So we went with a dinosaur birthday. It ended up being an excellent and fun birthday theme.


Dinosaur Birthday

Dinosaur Birthday

Dinosaur Birthday

Dinosaur Birthday

Dinosaur Birthday

Dinosaur Birthday

It seems that no matter how much I try to stick to a color scheme I always end up with ALL THE COLORS. But since according to Dino Dan the dinosaurs WERE all the colors I figured I was safe as long as I toned it down with some natural accents. I got lots of moss, fake leaves, and branches from places like the craft store and the dollar store. All the tablecloths are cut from one big roll of burlap I bought in the garden department at Lowes. I made a zillion dinosaur “terrariums” (an idea I got from Mandy) with a bag of garden rocks (also from Lowes – $5 and I barely used 1/10th of them!) moss and tiny dinos left over from the favor boxes. The backdrop to the food table is two rolls of cork I bought at JoAnn’s. I cut every triangle pennant by hand with pinking sheers and printed the banners on my little printer.

For food, I had three sections: carnivores, herbivores and dessertivores. I thought I was pretty cute and clever, until I started looking at dino party supplies on Etsy and saw I was DEFINITELY not the first person to come up with “dessertivores”. It was still cute.

Menu:

Dinosaur shaped sandwiches (PB&J and cucumber)
Dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets
Mini hot dogs
Mozzarella sticks
Fruit
Individual hummus and veggie cups

Ice Age punch (blue punch with tiny dinos frozen into ice cubes floating in it)
Juice for the kiddos

Dessert Menu:

Brownies
Fossil cookies (I made mine with almonds)
Cereal bar “bones”
No-bake nest cookies (I did peanut butter & chocolate)
Dirt pudding cups (chocolate pudding & crushes Oreos)
Dinosaur shortbread cookies with royal icing
White wedding cupcakes with cream cheese cake batter frosting
Dino fruit snacks and candy eggs

And an AMAZING cake made by my friend Heather (I HIGHLY recommend her if you’re in the Eastern CT area and would be happy to put you in touch with her)

Since Evan and his friends are all old enough now for games and activities but the thought of trying to wrangle 25 kids into organized activities makes me break out in hives I planned lots of free-play fun.

We filled our old kiddie pool with sand for a fossil dig and hid tons of green eggs filled with stickers and candy for a dinosaur egg hunt. I also ordered a couple of inexpensive dinosaur coloring books from Amazon and dinosaur shaped crayons for a quiet, inside activity.

A few more details:

I saw dino party hats on Pinterest but didn’t really have enough ambition to make them from scratch. Just a few days before the party Evan said he NEEDED party hats so I dragged last year’s 2nd birthday party hats from Target out of my paper goods storage box and turned them into dino hats. It was really easy – they’re folded together with a tab, not glue or tape, so I just opened them flat, cut a piece of colored paper into a “spine”, cut a slot in the spine for the tab and reassembled with a little tape to reinforce it. I did a terrible job of explaining that, but trust me – if you take a look at a store-bought party hat you will definitely see how easy this is.

Between the hats and the masks we had quite a few tiny dinosaurs terrorizing the party.

My friend Amanda mailed me these leggings 2 seconds after I said we were doing a dinosaur party. So perfect!

Brilliant idea I stole from my friend Cheri – Take’n’toss cups for all the kids. No worries about juice or punch spills on my floors and they’re cheap enough to toss out if they get ruined.

Adorable invitations designed by the very talented Denae at New Mom Survival Adventure and printed (as rounded-corner post cards) by Overnight Prints – an idea I got from Tam.

I think that’s everything! Scroll to the bottom of this post for links to where I got stuff and as always let me know if you have any questions. I’m more than happy to share and info!

OK, just a few more pictures (the not awesome ones were taken by me)…

Resources and Sources:

Pinterest party board
for inspiration
Template for straw flags
Custom stamp from Tickled Pink Paper + Ink
Paper straws & favor supplies from In The Clear
Evan’s dino shirt – Gymboree
Photography by Open Shutter (Website)

Dinosaur stickers
– Amazon
Dinosaur cookie cutters – Amazon
Dinosaur sandwich cutter – Amazon
Dinosaur coloring books – Amazon
Melissa & Doug dinosaur stamps – Amazon
Dinosaur cupcake wrappers & toppers – Amazon
Dinosaur banner (I disassembled half to put on my cork backdrop) – Amazon
Dinosaur skeletons for fossil dig – Amazon and Oriental Trading (cheaper from Amazon)
Dinosaur masks – Oriental Trading Company
Dinosaur crayons – Oriental Trading Company
Dinosaur candies – Oriental Trading Company
Inflatable dinosaurs – Oriental Trading Company
Giant inflatable T-Rex – Amazon
Brown paper bags – Oriental Trading Company

Let me know if you see anything I missed or forgot to link!

(Oh and in case you are confused compared to previous party set-ups, we rearranged the house a few weeks ago and flipped the dining/family rooms. I was worried it wouldn’t be a good for the party but it was great! With the new set-up – and the patio – I have tons of space to invite even more people next time.)

Thank you to everyone who came and made our day so special!

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What’s For Dinner? Volume 10

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Dinners have been my downfall when it comes to Weight Watchers – I can eat healthy, reasonable portions all day but by 6 pm I’m incapable of eating less than my body weight in pasta and cheese. It doesn’t help that my husband thinks ketchup is a vegetable and would rather starve to death than eat a nice spinach and goat cheese salad. But between my Weight Watchers cookbook (see What’s For Dinner? Volume 8) and healthy recipes I’ve found online, I’m doing pretty well so far in 2012.

This week’s recipes are almost all from Skinny Taste, my newest obsession. Luckily she’s got years of archives plus new posts every week so I don’t think I’ll get tired of the recipes any time soon.

1. Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice – Skinny Taste
2. Chicken with Leeks Sun-Dried Tomatoes in White Wine Sauce – Skinny Taste
3. Carne Bistec – Skinny Taste
4. Chicken Panini with Arugula, Provolone and Chipotle Mayonnaise – Skinny Taste

I also made Pollo in Potacchio, which was so delicious I forgot to take a picture before shoving it in my face.

1. Spinach Lasagna Rolls – Skinny Taste
2. Skinny Baked Macaroni and Cheese – Skinny Taste (I chopped up the broccoli really tiny and even the most veggie-adverse members of my family ate it.)
3. Dr. Weil’s Broccoli (for those who think they don’t like broccoli) – Girl’s Gone Child (I hate broccoli, I LOVE this – I made it without the olive oil so it was only 1 Weight Watcher’s PointPlus for a huge bowl)
4. Chicken Pizza Quesadillas – I used the leftover chicken thighs and tomato sauce from the Pollo in Potacchio , threw in a little basil and some cheese and put my quesadilla maker to use. SUPER fast and I was so proud of myself for using up leftovers (We have a real leftover problem in my house – no one eats them).

And for dessert:

Phyllo Fruit Tart – Skinny Taste

So what have you been eating in 2012? Any really amazing new recipes? Found anything on Pinterest you’re dying to try (or want me to try first)?

(Sorry for the terrible, terrible pictures – it’s winter and my kitchen s a cave by 5 pm.)

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CSA Week 1

Friday, June 10th, 2011

We got our first harvest from Town Farm Organics, the CSA we joined this year, on Tuesday. (You can read more about it here.) This is what was in our bag:

Note to self: next time try taking picture of green things in front of a non-green background

 

1. Lavender plant
2. Sage plant
3. Zinnia plants
4. Snapdragon plants
5. Summer savory
6. Cut sage
7. Beet tops
8. Sprouted lentils and mung beans

And the great big bag in the middle is two different kind of lettuce (red leaf and something else).

It’s early enough in the season that my half-share was the same as a full share (in the future I will get more variety each week but less of each thing). The potted plants were a super nice surprise – now I have fresh sage any time I want it – I plan to try a potato, sage and rosemary pizza (recipe) and grilled tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese and sage (recipe) – and I planted the zinnias and snapdragons in my garden. I have no idea what to do with the lavender, besides make those little satchels that are supposed to make your underwear smell nice – AS IF THAT IS AN ACTUAL CONCERN OF ACTUAL PEOPLE – so suggestions are welcome.

So far I’ve eaten about half the lettuce in salads and sandwiches and used the savory and sage when I cooked a chicken. (Which I am sure would have been delicious had it actually cooked all the way through. The recipe was for a whole chicken cooked on the grill, but even at 2x as long as the recipe called for it was still raw in the middle. I’m blaming the grill. We had burgers instead.) I plan to saute the beet tops with a little butter and Parmesan for dinner tomorrow but I am totally at a loss as to what to do with “sprouted” mung beans and lentils.  Google tells me HOW to sprout them and that they’re SUPER nutritious and an GREAT IDEA…but all their serving suggestions involve just tossing them in a salad and I don’t think I’ll be able to trick anyone in my family into eating them that way.

Obviously this one bag of produce doesn’t cover the full cost of the CSA for summer but even if we only got this much stuff each week between now and October we’ll have saved over $300 on fresh, local, organic food. That’s money I can spend on other stuff, like chocolate or electricity to power these air conditioners or a plane ticket to San Diego. Thanks CSA!

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A Tisket A Tasket

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Help my friend Erin put together a baby shower basket!

Like many of the childless who lurk among us, Erin needs a gift for a friend’s baby shower but has no idea what differentiates a nice baby shower gift from an AWESOME baby shower gift. Especially because, like so many first time parents, her friend forgot all her guests were NOT millionaires and filled her registry with things like $400 car seats. Or maybe Erin just forgot the first rule of baby showers, which is “Don’t wait til the last minute to buy something off a registry or you’ll end up being the person who brings the guest-of-honor 10 boxes of breast pads.” (True story. I was the guest-of-honor. 10 boxes of breast pads, all individually wrapped.)

So Erin needs our help. What sort of things did you get at your shower that maybe you didn’t actually register for but ended up being some of your favorites? Here are a few of my suggestions, feel free to add yours in the comments:

Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether. And every mom reading this just went “duh”. I was so reluctant to spend $20 on a stupid teething toy it took me MONTHS to break down and get a Sophie. Little Evan STILL loves it so much I’m going to have to buy another one for Caroline or there will be an epic battle.

Belly Button Book (Boynton on Board). So the baby might not be super interested in books for the first couple of months but once they are you need books that don’t drive you freaking crazy. Sandra Boynton books are perfect – short, cute, and pretty indestructible.

Pacifier clip from Hugs & Kisses Designs.  Not every kid is going to take a paci so this can be kind of a crap shoot, but it also works on those toys you’ve shoved into the baby’s stroller in a desperate attempt to keep them entertained while you run through Old Navy tossing random sized clothing into the basket so you’ll finally own something not covered in milk stains. Not that I’ve ever done that. But I can assure you it goes much faster when you’re not stopping every 30 seconds to pick those stupid interlocking rings up off the floor.

Koala Bear 4-Pack Receiving Blankets. I was going to put “four million burp cloths” on this list but decided receiving blankets made for a better presentation. I got a TON of these for my shower and thought “Really, who needs this many blankets?” But they are so USEFUL. They can be blankets, play mats, burp cloths, nursing covers, towels, and sun shades. I picked these because they’re gender neutral and cute but still really inexpensive. Feel free to buy the fancy, expensive kind but don’t be insulted if you catch the new mom using it to wipe baby puke off her jeans.

Ok folks, what would you suggest for Erin’s baby shower gift?

*The first two links are attached to my Amazon Associates account, so if you click through them to purchase I get approximately 4 cents commission. One of these days someone might actually do that, because so far I have made exactly zero cents. I don’t know why I even bother anymore.*

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Feedback

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I read a lot of blogs. A LOT. I probably read yours, especially because you have a really cute kid/interesting life/beautiful house/great taste in…whatever and you commented here once. I currently subscribe to 151 blogs in my reader and add at least one a day.

Wow, do I sound awesomely cool or what? I swear sometimes I do other things besides the internet. Although that probably explains the sink full of dishes and the baby currently entertaining himself with a McDonald’s cup full of ice. I wish I was joking.

Anyways, what I’m getting at is that I look at SO many blogs on a regular basis I sometimes forget to look at my own. And then when I do look at my own I’m always depressed. My blog is not elegant or beautiful or inspiring in any way. When I switched over to self-hosted WordPress I just picked a free theme and went with it, so the design is all Atahualpa and my itty bitty bit of HTML skill. I’ve considered changing it about, oh, a BAZILLION times but I hate to lose the parts I do like – I love the rotating photo, I love the blue & orange, I love my tag line – and I’m too cheap to spend $500 on a custom design when I don’t know EXACTLY what I want. Or really, I’m too cheap to spend $500 EVER. I already have one expensive hobby (hello yarn addiction!) I don’t need another.

So here’s today’s question: Name one thing you LOVE to see on blogs and one thing you HATE. You can say whatever, it doesn’t have to be specifically about my blog right now, but don’t feel like you can’t be honest. You can say you hate my rotating photo or my ads or the font or whatever. I won’t take it personally. Feel free to plug your own blog/blog designer/blog design business and leave me lots of links.

p.s. Don’t bother saying you hate blogs that auto-play music. That’s like saying you hate Nazis or lutefisk. EVERYONE hates blogs that auto-play music.

p.p.s. If you think maybe I DON’T read your blog, let me know. I promise I will. I like you.

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