Dr. Seuss (Cat In The Hat) Birthday Party

Dr. Seuss’ birthday is March 2nd.  When my boys were little, they LOVED Dr. Seuss books.  The Cat in the Hat was one of their favorites!  Several years in a row I made cupcakes for my oldest son’s class for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday.  Then when Jacob turned 7, he decided to have a Cat In The Hat Themed Birthday Party.

Jacob will be 15 in May.  Time sure flies!  But sometimes I look at him and I still see that sweet little 7 year old running around in his Cat in the Hat, red and white, striped hat.  Thankfully he’s still just as sweet, almost 8 years later, but we are well past the age of themed birthday parties.

So today I am taking a few minutes to reminisce.  With Dr. Seuss’ birthday  just a few weeks away, I decided that I would look through our archives of photos and share some of my memories with all of you.   The quality of photos isn’t the greatest.  I had no thought of starting a blog back then…just of keeping up with two busy little boys, but I’m sure there are some fun ideas for those of you who are thinking of hosting a Cat in the Hat Party or just looking for something fun to do on Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

For Jacob’s party, he wanted to watch some classic Dr. Seuss cartoons, so we made our house into a mini movie theater including a “red carpet” entrance made out of a red plastic table cloth.  Our snack bar included popcorn, red vines, water bottles, and m&ms.  We gave each of the kids some pretend money to “purchase” their snack items and ushered them into a curtained off room, lit only with white lights around the perimeter of the floor. We projected the movie onto a wall to make it feel like a movie theater and set up some cozy seating along the other wall.

DSC04597.JPGDSC04571.JPG

I decorated with a display of our own Dr. Seuss books and some cardboard cut outs that I purchased online.  For the cake, I bought a white plate and turned it upside down for the base.   I made 5 cake rounds and stacked them one on top of the other.  I frosted every other white and red and piped a bit of black frosting for the lines.

DSC04569.JPGDSC04568.JPGDSC04573.JPGDSC04575.JPG

The cupcakes featured are the ones I brought to Jacob’s class.  For the toppers, just layer white lifesavers and round cinnamon hard candies with frosting in between to “glue” them together.  Place the candy toppers in the refrigerator to harden before putting them on the cupcakes.  Frost the cupcakes blue and then add a circle of white in the middle before placing the candy hats in the center.  The white frosting becomes the base of the hat.

dsc05909

I filled a basket with Dr. Seuss pencil and eraser sets for each of the kids to take home as a “thank you for attending my party” gift.  This was definitely a fun and memorable birthday party for my oldest boy!

DSC04576.JPG

Valentine Craft: Cookie Cutters & Paint

Today I’m introducing a new series on Kerri Creates called “Craft Time with Karis.”  So many of my crafting inspirations have to do with my kids, so I thought it would be fun to bring my daughter in as my little crafting sidekick!  She’s always up for an art project and I love providing creative opportunities for her.

“Craft Time With Karis” debuts with a simple and inexpensive Valentine Craft that we put together with a few things we already had around our house…cookie cutters, paint, and paper bags.  Enjoy this little video tutorial we created, and subscribe to our youtube channel for up and coming “Craft Time With Karis” videos.  img_5838img_5840fullsizeoutput_d7a0

Valentine Words of Affirmation for Kids

Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to be intentional about expressing our love in creative ways to our children.  So why save it all for one day?  Take the beginning of February and create an “affirmation heart chain” for each of your children.  Hang it on their bedroom doors and write a word or phrase affirming something uniquely wonderful about who they are on one heart, each day, leading up to Valentine’s Day.

I will never forget the first time we did this with our kids.  It made getting up each morning a little more pleasant.  You could see the joy on their faces as they read the words written just for them.  I would even catch them reading down the list several times a day.

To make this a bit easier for me to stick to (as we all know how busy life gets), I like to print out a list of 14 words or phrases of affirmation for each of my kids before February 1st.  I cut them up and put them in baggies.  Then I just glue one on each of their hearts before I go to bed every night.

fullsizeoutput_d78ffullsizeoutput_d790fullsizeoutput_d791

Children’s Art Corner

My daughter loves art!  She will sit for hours drawing, writing stories, and coloring pictures.  I have several areas set up around our house with art supplies, but I recently decided to put together a more intentional art space for her.

Michael’s was having a huge sale one day, so I headed over (with my coupons of course) and picked up these metal A R T letters,  the chalkboard box for crayons, and the off white tray for paper.  The rest, I already had around my house.

These adorable chairs were made for me by my brother when I was a child.  They were in my childhood room, painted light pink, with dark pink carpet covering the seats.  My mom gave them to me several years ago and I repainted and recovered them for my daughter.  The wicker table belonged to my mom, who passed away a year and a half ago, so it means a lot for my daughter to have something so special to remind her of her sweet Grandma.

I bought the metal bucket years ago at the dollar store and it has held colored pencils in various locations around our house.  Now it has a permanent home.  I had used the mini white shutters last year for my Christmas mantle, but realized they were the perfect addition to this little art corner.  The finishing touch was this bright and cheerful pennant banner.  I had already cut the triangles for another project, so it only took me a few minutes to thread them through a piece of twine.

I absolutely love when I can use what I already have to create an inviting space for my children to enjoy.  This little art corner has already gotten a lot of use in our home and is the perfect setting for inspiration to take place!

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is always a much anticipated night for our family.  It is, of course, the one night a year that my little night owls are given permission to stay up until midnight!  We started the tradition of celebrating a “family friendly” New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago.  Some years we have joined together with other families.  This year it was just the 5 of us at home for the evening.

fullsizeoutput_d589I kept things inexpensive by hitting up our local Dollar Tree for supplies, and then I went to work.  I already had paper bags, card stock, and glue sticks, so our “On the Hour Bags” didn’t cost a dime!  My plan was to start our evening festivities at 6:00, so I made a bag for each hour from 6:00 pm – Midnight.  I googled “free printable clock templates” and then added the clock hands to each one before printing them out onto white card stock.  I traced around a bowl to get perfect circles on the shiny blue and sparkly card stock behind the clocks.  A few finishing touches later, and the bags were done.

What was in each bag?  Each bag contained something that had to do with the activity for that hour.

6:00 pm: Time Capsule Printouts & A Mason Jar     We started a new tradition this year, and it was a huge hit!  I looked up some ideas for the time capsule template on Pinterest, and then created my own for our family.  We began our evening by sitting at the table together and filling in our favorites, reflections from 2016, & resolutions for 2017.  Then we read them to each other, rolled them up and placed them in a mason jar.  Our plan is to open them up on New Year’s Eve 2017, read them together, and then create a new time capsule.  I’m pretty sure this will continue to be a treasured tradition.

fullsizeoutput_d58dimg_53897:00 pm: Glow Sticks & Balloons     This was SO….MUCH….FUN!  We put glow sticks in balloons and then had an epic living room battle.  Boys vs. Girls with Dad as the DJ.  We turned off all the lights and made a line of glow sticks dividing the floor in half, girls on one side, boys on the other, with 6 glowing balloons on each side.  When Dad played the music, we would try to get all the balloons onto the opposing side.  When the music stopped the team with the least balloon on their side was the winner.  The girls started off strong, but after 5 rounds, the boys were the ultimate winners!  I’m telling you…I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!     

img_53948:00 pm: Popcorn & A Red Box Movie     Popcorn and movie nights are a family favorite for us, and my kids really wanted to see the movie Storks!  Perfect for one of our New Year’s Eve activities!

img_54039:00 pm: Gummy Worms with a “Dessert Break” note attached     We took an intermission from the movie to get dessert.  This year, I made a delicious ice cream pie with a clock face.  I used gluten free Joe Joe’s cookies from Trader Joes to make an “oreo” crust, filled it in with vanilla bean ice cream, and poured homemade chocolate fudge frosting over the top.  While it was setting in the freezer, I made a clock on wax paper out of melted white chocolate and placed it on top of the frozen pie.  We also included gummy worms for the “non ice cream eater” in our family.

fullsizeoutput_d5bc10:00 pm: M&M’s, Marshmallows, and Straws     Game Time: I found this idea under “minute to win it” games on Pinterest.  I set the table with two paper plates for each player.  One plate contained M&M’s and marshmallows.  The other was empty.  Each player was given a straw (cut to about 3/4 size).  At my “GO” the players had to suck up the candies and mallows to make them stick to their straw and transfer them from one plate to the next.  The first player to get all of theirs transferred had to call out “Happy New Year!”  Micah for the win!

img_541311:00 pm: A Big Bag of Skittles     Make a rainbow science experiment!  I had seen a couple of videos on youtube of this simple and fascinating science experiment, so I thought it would be a fun way to keep my tired children awake that last hour before the ball dropped.  Check out our “make a rainbow” video!

12:00 pm: Cups for Sparkling Cider and Party Horns     We opened our final bag about 10 minutes early.  Little Sister put on her party hat (she was the only one willing to wear one this year).  We filled our cups with cider and got ready to ring in the New Year!  We found a countdown on TV, and when the clock struck midnight, we ran outside yelling Happy New Year!!! Oh, and Micah finally got the chance to use that blow horn he got for Christmas! fullsizeoutput_d5ba

Nerf Target Practice

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned Nerf Battle?  My 10 year old son was who I had in mind when I added Nerf Wars and Target Practice to our Advent activities this year.  But let’s be honest…this is fun for any age…even the grown ups!

We started our evening by creating these spinning targets, which were a big “hit!” I prepared everything ahead of time by cutting circles out of empty food boxes and setting out markers, tape, two circles per person, large craft sticks, straws cut to size, pennies to weigh the spinners down at the bottom, a piece of string, and a couple of push pins.  Then we sat down at our coffee table to create.  Check out my tutorial to see how we made the spinners.

Next we each selected our Nerf Gun, grabbed a couple of soft bullets and had target practice.  We also stacked up some red cup pyramids to shoot down and then ended our evening with a boys vs. girls living room Nerf Battle, using a jump rope to divide the room in half.  The last one standing was the winner.  Want to know who the epic champion of the night was?  You guessed it…little sister for the win!

img_4671img_4672img_4678

Dolphin Birthday Party

My daughter, Karis,  fell in love with dolphins after watching the Dolphin Tale movies last year.  The day after her 5th birthday party she declared that for her 6th birthday she wanted to have a dolphin party.  This was so much fun to plan!  With the help of the dollar store and Michael’s,  I was able to create all of the under the sea decor for under $20.   I used paper lanterns cut in half and ribbon to make 3 jellyfish. Crepe paper in two shades of green worked perfectly as seaweed.  White balloons in various sizes and thumb tacked to the wall formed a line of bubbles.  The net held several stuffed dolphins that my kids had won years ago at Circus Circus in Reno, NV.  The hula hoop and blow up dolphin were the perfect addition.  For the dolphin garlands I used card stock in several shades of blue and gray.  I cut these dolphins out by hand and then sewed them with a regular needle and thread.  These hanging dolphin garlands created a dramatic entry into our underwater experience.  I reused some circle and square garlands left over from my son’s birthday party the previous year because they looked a bit like floating bubbles.  I love when I get to reuse decorations from past events!   I decided to do mini cupcakes and marshmallow pops for dessert, and to go along with our dolphin theme, I created mini dolphins out of Wilton’s bright white candy melts.  I used Celebration Sixlets as pearls and Wilton’s white sugar pearl sprinkles as bubbles on the marshmallow pops.  I lined my round of styrofoam with a blue and white polka dotted ribbon and pinned on a sparkly blue dolphin.  I also glued a blue dolphin to a flat toothpick to place on top of the cupcakes.

Because the party was in June, and because we have a pool, the main event for Karis’ party was swimming.  I found 2 huge blow up dolphins for the kids to swim with, and although my daughter was hoping she would get to swim with a real dolphin, she was pretty happy with her two dolphin friends.  The kids had a blast and my big 6 year old girl was all smiles!  As the party was coming to an end, I brought out a crate of bubbles with a “thank you for coming to my party” note attached to each.  I would have to say that Karis’ dolphin swim party was a huge success!

cropped-img_2677.jpgIMG_2684IMG_2665IMG_2768IMG_2765IMG_2667IMG_2688IMG_2698IMG_2701Version 2Version 2IMG_2663IMG_2690