Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween House Tour 2014

Living Room

Decorating the house for Fall/Halloween and Christmas is one of my favorite hobbies. I have been doing it ever since I first moved out of my childhood home. And every year I have gotten a little bit better at it. You just have to look at some of my first pictures to see that :)

The challenge this year was incorporate all the fun and spooky Halloween decorations in with the classic fall leaves and pumpkins.

Another view of the Living Room

These marquee letters from Grandin Road are my favorite! 

I love the glow at night

Living Room end table
And now for the fun stuff that makes my kiddos squeal with delight! This table and mirror is in the entry way. This is the first year I have put out anything bloody since my kids were born, but the older ones love it and the younger ones aren't bothered by it. The ghost picture is my son's footprints that grandma made for me a few years ago. I also have one with my daughter's hand prints made to look like spiders.

The Dining Room has been overtaken by spiders and mice
Skeletons too!!
Joining our Mr. Bones' this year is the butler....

I picked him up at CVS! Of course his eyes glow and he talks!

Kitchen window.

I made these eyeballs with styro foam balls and a black permanent marker. Easy and cute. Last but not least, our front porch.

Mummies from Grandin Road

Mr. Bones and company want to thank you for stopping by and hope you enjoyed the tour.

To see more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things
"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.

Halloween Happenings 2013

The boys first trip to Disney World and it was right before Halloween!
I still have lots of catching up to do on this blog and with Halloween just a few short days away I am determined to post all the Halloween happenings I have. My previous post Happy Hauntings 2013 was all about the boys' Halloween party we had for friends and neighbors. This post is all about what we did and do together as a family to celebrate Halloween. And for the record, taking a trip to Disney World does NOT happen every year :) Although, I would love to go back during the same time of year when the girls are old enough.

Some of my favorite books and magazines for Halloween inspiration and ideas!

The month of October, quite possible my favorite month of the year is kicked off with a family trip to the pumpkin patch.This year was a lot of fun because the girls got to participate in all the fun!

The boys leading the way through the corn maze.
Visiting a local apple orchard to pick our own apples, making home made applesauce, reading Halloween themed books, attending zoo boo, decorating the house for Halloween, making a Halloween craft, hosting or attending a costume party, and having our own little family party before we trick or treat on the 31st are our favorite things to do every October!

Our outside decorations last year. The boys like helping me decorate.
The last few years I have made a special Halloween lunch for the boys, this year the girls will get one too.  Since the boys have been in school, I have everything all set up and waiting for their arrival home. Fingers (carrots), mummy dogs, ghost bananas, eyeballs (grapes), and a sweet treat are our favorites. Although this year I may need to switch it up and try some new ideas.

Mr. Bones was also awaiting their arrival!
Last year, I purchased two 6ft. tall skeletons to add to our Halloween decorations, in this house we do double of everything! And being the festive and fun loving kids that they are, they fell in love and both appropriately named them Mr. Bones. Every few days I would place the skeletons in different locations for them to discover and howl with laughter when they found their Mr. Bones lying in their beds, sitting on the toilet, reading a book, or playing with their Legos!

On Halloween, once Daddy arrives home from work, it's party time! We sit down to an early dinner, last year it was Monster Pasta. Otherwise known as pesto, noodles, mozzarella cheese, black olives, and red pepper slices I found on This was served with a side of fruit and vegetable before the enormous amount of candy is collected! This year I have a new spooky spaghetti recipe to try. Look for that recipe in the weeks to come.

Minus the olives and pepper, they actually ate it too ;)
Then we squeeze in a quick game of Halloween bingo that my mom made for us before it's time to trick or treat and end our month long celebration of all things fall and Halloween!

What kind of Fall/Halloween traditions does your family like to do? Please feel free to comment!

To see more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things
"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy Hauntings 2013

Kid's table: dollar store table cloth, spider ring around the napkin,wax vampire teeth, vial of monster eyes (vials from Zulily with Reeses Pieces), mason jars and bat straws awaiting their beverage, and monster party bags to collect all the prizes and favors (Oriental Trading).
 Even though it had just been three months since we moved into our new home in another state, I was "dying" to have a Halloween party! We didn't have one the previous year and I was bursting at the seams with new ideas and Halloween decor! Plus, our new basement was just screaming for a party! Thankfully, this also put me on a strict timeline to get every last box unpacked.

However, while I spent many years trying to figure out how to put a limit on our party invites with an amazing abundance of family, friends and neighbors nearby, I was now faced with the task of finding enough party guests to make it a party. Thankfully, we had met some great neighbors with kids close in age to the boys and one of our favorite family friends just happened to be able to hop on a plane with one of their three kids and join us!

Before I get into the details, I need to say that this party wouldn't have turned out as fun as it did if it wasn't for my mom.Those of you who know me understand what I am talking about, and for those of you that don't, check her out on her own blog There you will see an abundance of creative, fun and amazing ideas for crafts, holidays, events and more!!

The front of our new house looked like this....
2nd favorite buy from Grandin Road are these mummies
After greeting our guests at the door, they were instructed to follow the short path of pumpkin lanterns lit with non- flammable battery operated candles downstairs to the basement. 

After going though the Halloween curtain...

 Mr. Bones was waiting to greet you in his party attire...

Welcome scavengers!

My favorite addition that year, this skeleton from Grandin Road
While a table of Halloween themed treats awaited you, so did this spooky menu and small bar for the adults. Cider? Bloody martini? Or perhaps an Oktoberfest served in a glow in the dark glass? These fun martini and beer glasses came from Windy City Novelties and were a hit!

 And just in case you were wondering what's for it's not YOU!! Our guests dined on swamp chili, bat wings, mummy dogs, pumpkin poop (cheese balls), crispy cockroaches (chocolate covered nuts), witches fingers and monster parts (veggies). Pumpkins (Rice Krispy treats), chocolate covered spiders and frosted cookies also awaited hungry guests for desert.

The food was set behind a counter of pumpkins, ghosts, hanging spiders and a bubbling witches cauldron
In addition to the many battery operated and real wax candles, we had the lights dimmed and a black light behind the bar. This black light illuminated the creepy jars filled with glow in the dark water (tonic water + black light = glow in the dark water), filled with snakes, spiders and insects! One of our party favors, homemade glow in the dark ghost gak was also illuminated from the black light. The recipe I used can be found here.

And for the fun, we had carnival inspired Halloween games. First, you made your way here....

Both games are from Oriental Trading
 At this table, it was spin the wheel for a prize. Prizes were laid out and replenished according to the numbers. There was also Halloween Plinko. Each guest got three chances at dropping the disks down the board. Once the kids added up the numbers each disk landed on they got to pick a prize. We had an array of prizes consisting of spider rings, large plastic spiders, glow in the dark bouncy balls and little flashlights.

The next game was sticky skeleton darts designed and crafted by mom. The little ghouls and goblins got five chances to get their sticky dart on or near numbers.

A original

Once they added up their numbers it was off to the prize booth to pick out a reward.

The bower is from Hearth Song and once you pulled away the curtain, a table of sticky eyeballs, glow sticks, monster suckers and slimy snakes awaited patiently for your choosing.
Then it was onto pumpkin bowling....

Waiting patiently for their turn to roll the pumpkin
 And last, but not least we played the mystery bowl game. I covered the tops of bowls with tin foil and put a slit for the kids' hands and they had to guess what was in the bowls. Intestines (cooked spaghetti), Dracula's eyeballs (peeled grapes), bones (wet pretzels), and witches hair (clown wig) were the four we used. 

Overall, I have to say it was a great party and most of all, the kids had a blast! 

The party goers group shot!

 And for Mr. Bones, it was last call for alcohol...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Robot Halloween Costumes

Twin Robots
Before the days of my twins' requests for store bought Star Wars costumes I had a couple good years of designing and making them. One year, it was construction vehicles (you can read about those here) and the following year, my most favorite, the robots! Who doesn't love robots?! One of my sons especially loved them and asked me questions daily on what they are made of, who makes them, what they can do, etc. We did a lot of research on robots and when I suggested we make our own, they loved it!

After I "googled" robot images, I created a design that I liked and thought was feasible to make. Many times I get these grandiose ideas in my head, but when it comes time to make them I get stumped on something. These costumes actually turned out very close to what I had envisioned. The only hard part was figuring out how to make them so they were easy to take on and off. I solved that by using the cardboard box flaps and keeping them open in the back so they could almost "walk into" them. After all, these little guys had to put these on and take them off at their preschool.

The back flaps did stick out, but we didn't care :) You could use velcro or something similar to keep the flaps closed.
side view

Two boxes taped together and covered in tin foil were the body of the costume. I used diaper boxes around their middle which was a good fit, and I cut the cardboard of the second box to make the head piece. The cardboard was simple to cut with a box cutter knife.  

I used dryer vent tubing for the arms, this was the most expensive part of the costume at $20 from Lowe's. However, I loved how it looked and wanted to use it for the legs too, but that was just too complicated for a 4 year old to keep putting on and taking off for all the Halloween events we like to attend. To make the arms, I simply measured their arm length and the tubing as close as possible, cut it, and duct taped it to the inside of the box.

The fun part was roaming the aisles of Dollar Tree looking for "robot looking" items to attach. I found circle foam stickers, a travel game with pegs, and computer chip looking things (I wish I knew what these were called). I searched the internet for a gauge graphic, printed and glued it to an old CD. I also picked up a tire gauge at our local grocery store and my favorite find, the battery operated, bendable reading lamp that went on top!! It was cheap and looked so cute lite up at night.  I attached all of these items with either glue or grey duct tape.

Lastly, we found grey sweatshirts and sweat pants to wear underneath. They were so cute and such troopers hauling those bulky, box costumes around with no complaints. After awhile, I asked them if they wanted to take them off and they both resounded with an overwhelming yes! Watching them run from house to house free as a bird without a big box on and realizing just how heavy they could get after carrying them around for awhile I told them next year they could pick their own costumes, and they don't have to be made out of a box!

However, my creativity and control of Halloween costumes doesn't have to end there!! I still have a few good years with two more ahead!!! This was the girls' first Halloween and my biggest success that year was making sure all four had their Halloween costumes!! Since these two weren't much older than a month they got a little break :)

My little pumpkins!! Their older brothers also wore these pumpkin hats.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boy's Airplane Themed Birthday and Neighborhood Memories

At age two and three my boys loved construction vehicles, click here to see their Construction Birthday Party, and by age four, they were all about airplanes. I know my husband's love for airplanes may have had a little influence on them. After all, one of our favorite activities was getting coffee and blueberry muffins, then heading to our airport's fantastic viewing area to watch the planes land and take off. We did this during the hot summer days and cold winter months. When it came time to plan their 4th Birthday, it was a "no brainer" as to what the theme would be.

I started planning a few months ahead of their late summer birthday because I was pregnant with the girls and knew they would arrive close to that time as well. Both sets of twins actual due dates were one day apart! The other reason I began planning so early was because I knew this would be their last birthday party in town with all our family, friends, and neighbors before we moved out of state the following year. So yes, it was going to be big, in many ways.

My first "big" idea was to have the boys be able to get on an airplane and meet the pilot since they had not been on one yet and they were fascinated with all those buttons and levers in the cockpit.  My husband's best friend happens to be a commercial pilot but he is based out of another state and would be nowhere near our city during that time, and of course with all the airline regulations this idea wasn't looking too promising.

That "big" idea was laid to rest and I began to focus on the location of this party. I knew that I would be very pregnant and possibly on bed rest so I did not want to host this party at our house with the large number of guests we were planning on inviting, When a new business opened with a ton of great inflatables, a large climbing structure, and party room I knew this was going to be the place. I was a little disappointed because I had a ton of great decorating and food ideas for an airplane themed birthday party that I would not be able to do at a business. However, I was also relieved not to be responsible for every single detail. We didn't have much of a choice when it came to the food selections as they do not allow you to bring in food (other than a cake) so pizza, bread sticks, and cake it was.

I did make a birthday banner...

and the gift bags which included: an airplane sucker, airplane fruit snacks (both from Oriental Trading) two small airplanes, and bubbles...

I got these bags at Dollar Tree and the stickers from Michael's Craft Store.

We used a local bakery to make this cake...

Fortunately, just about everyone we invited was able to come and play. The kids and parents had a great time on the inflatables and the boys made their rounds to greet everyone and play.

Birthday cheers!

Happy to celebrate with their friends

We had a solid hour of play time before lunch, cake, and presents. In all honestly, I always get so involved in the planning and hosting of the few birthday parties we have had for the kids that I almost overlook the fact they are about to receive some generous gifts. And generous gifts they were. The boys had so much fun playing with their friends, eating cake, and of course loved every gift they received. However, the ones that topped their list that year were the bikes, yes, I said bikes that a few of our neighbors got them! I had no idea they had done this and was just as surprised as the boys were! The boys were very excited to say the least.

While our neighbors at "the Hills" did get the boys some amazing birthday gifts, that's not what made living there a wonderful five years. When I eventually did need to rest on the couch the last couple weeks of pregnancy, they helped out by watching the boys play outside, and again when we first brought the girls home. They brought over delicious dinners and precious baby gifts. We had girl's night outs and instant evening "play dates" for the kids and moms since the whole street consisted of kids the same age. You could count on them for anything, whether it was a helpful driveway plow during the winter when your husband was on a work trip, a much needed last minute baby outfit for pictures, or an egg for the dinner that was already underway. We are so blessed to have lived in such an awesome neighborhood with neighbors that I could also call friends.

At one of the neighborhood holiday parties
Watch out for these guys on the road!

So many great memories!
 And, not only did these two little cuties have an amazing birthday party at the bounce house with all their friends but the next day we had a"family only party" for the three birthday kids (the boys and their cousin who is exactly two years younger)! My husband grilled out, my parents who did not attend the previous party gave the grand kids their presents, we had cake, and let off the traditional Chinese wish lanterns on our front lawn to conclude the big, fun-filled birthday weekend!

Enjoying their own personal Birthday cake

Opening presents from Aunts and Uncles
Family silly string battle
Sending off the wish lanterns

Not only was it a fantastic end of the summer, but two short weeks later we welcomed our beautiful twin girls into the world!!

To see more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things "Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.