Enchanted Mommy

A Fun Valentine Card

My 4 year old is in the Gummy Bear class.  We went with the “beary special” theme.  She has worked long and hard to make enough for her class.  I think they turned out pretty cute!

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I got the clear wrappers from a craft store in the cake section (they are really for cake pops).

Check out some other great ideas here!

Monkey Birthday Cake!

I recently made this monkey cake for a special 2 year old in my life.  She loves monkey’s and is constantly singing “No More Monkey’s Jumping On the Bed.”  It was pretty time consuming making all the stars for the fur, but it turned out awesome!

I researched lots of different monkey cakes, but in the end I used this one from My Daily SAHM Life as my model. I know I could have just ordered the monkey cake pan, but who wants to pay for a pan you will probably never use again???

I used 2 cake mix boxes and made 4 round cakes.  I used Wilton’s buttercream icing and Wilton’s food colorings to get the desired colors.

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1.  Make 4 rounds cakes.  Take them out of their cake pans, wrap them in nonstick tinfoil or parchment paper and stick them in the freezer.

2.  Using construction paper, cut out your pattern.  I numbered each piece so I knew which cake I would cut it from to make sure all the pieces fit.

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3.  Once your cake is good and frozen, use your paper pattern to cut the cakes into their shapes.  Freeze the parts until you are ready to start frosting.

4.  Do a thin crumb coat frist.  Once the crumb coat is dry you can start frosting!  I used a basic star tip.

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5.  The tail is made from Tootsie Rolls.  Just heat them in the microwave for a few seconds then mold them how you want.

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Pumpkin Carving – Halloween Is This Week!

Every holiday comes too fast for me.  I feel like I never get to do all that I want with the girls before it is over.  This year I wanted to let them choose what they wanted on their pumpkins.

I picked up some pretty good pumpkins at our grocery store (Harris Teeter).  They were pretty big and they were 2/$10.00 – I didn’t have to pay by the pound.

We let the girls pick what they wanted on their pumpkin.  My five month old obviously couldn’t pick, so husband just drew and carved (see middle pumpkin).  My four year old wanted Hello Kitty and my two year old wanted Dora.  I’d say they turned out pretty good.

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In case you’re wondering, we did the obvious (obvious that we never thought to do before) and googled “Dora pumpkin stencil”.  It took my husband to the Nick Jr. site that has a TON of characters.  He also just googled “Hello Kitty pumpkin stencil” and Ella chose the one she liked best.

Here’s Ella with her stencil:

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What you need for the stencil is:

  • pumpkin
  • pumpkin carver, my neighbor let us borrow her electric one.
  • Big spoon for all the guts
  • stencil of your choice
  • lots of tape
  • candle (I used votive ones)

After we carved them, we noticed a lot of light wasn’t shining through, so I had to go back and kind of thin out the inside lining of the pumpkin and make the lines a little wider.  I’m not sure if all pumpkins are really thick, but ours seemed to be.

I will say that it was pretty tedious, but I was really happy with how cute they turned out.  In the end, husband and I did all the work, while these two ran around and looked cute.

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This was a no brainer pic.

Here’s a close-up!

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Happy Halloween!

A Fun 4th Birthday Party

I was so sad that it rained on Ella’s party day.  We have this awesome water slide that I wanted to use along with so many other outdoor fun stuff.  We were literally scrambling the day of to move the party inside and find fun things for the kids to do.  It all ended up great BECAUSE I made it simple, oh so simple!  If you recall, last year we did a pancake and pajama party (awesome theme!) for her.  This year, I went with the outdoor fun theme, but she insisted on pony plates and a cupcake piñata.  I did it on a Tuesday afternoon because I live in NoVa and everyone here is so busy on the weekends and only had stay at home mom friends and their kids.  Because of this, it was so chill and so much fun for all the kids.  Here’s my little princess ready for her party!

She could not WAIT for her friends to get here.

She could not WAIT for her friends to get here.

Husband, the balloon maker, did balloons for all the kids when they arrived!  They also jumped in the bounce house and played with toys in the basement until everyone arrived and got settled in.

A party guest with her balloon!

A party guest with her balloon!

Luckily I had a game leftover from her party last year that we didn’t use, so I brought it out.  It was pin the heart on the necklace.

Ella's putting her heart on.

Ella’s putting her heart on.

I also had bought this little fun face kit for Anna’s party that we didn’t use, so I brought it out too.  These are my nephews and niece!

This was fun!

This was fun!

Next, we went upstairs for food and cake!  I got pizza, watermelon, gogurts, capri suns, animal crackers and goldfish.  There were 14 kids inside my house, but it really couldn’t have gone any smoother.  Luckily, all the moms are my friends too so they all helped with serving food.  As a host, I ALWAYS suggest feeding the parents that come.  They take time out of their day to bring their child to your party as well as buying the gift.  I also always serve a meal or at least a semi-meal.  For me, it’s party throwing etiquette.  Kids shouldn’t leave parties hungry.  Of course, I convinced Ella to get a cookie cake.  Oh so delicious.  It was from Sam’s Club ($16 !).

Ella blowing out her candles.

Ella blowing out her candles.  Notice her outdoor themed cake.  Boo.

Oh, since I made a last minute trip to Wal-Mart for any party ideas, I bought these blow things for $1 and some change.  The kids LOVED them!

After cake, blow toy!

After cake, blow toy!

After cake, we went to our garage and did the piñata.  I hope piñatas never get old.  The kids LOOOOOOOVE them.  Trust me on this one.

Best party item.

Best party item.

Lastly, and I’m SO mad, I bought each of the kids a bubble wand as a favor and my phone somehow deleted the pics or maybe I did it.  Okay, the wand was $1 and it was PERRRRRFECT.  They all opened them at the party and played with them in the driveway because of course it stopped thundering at the end of her party.  They had so much fun with the bubbles.  Do it at your next party, trust me on that one.  That and for sure a piñata.

A few tips:

These kids are 4.  They love the cheapo things such as party hats, blow things and bubbles.

Piñatas are always a hit.  They do cost a bit (approx. $20 for piñata and $20 for candy)

Don’t clean your house before a kid party.  Of course pick up, but be ready to do a deep cleaning afterwards.  No one cares, trust me.

Try to have help.  I’m telling you, my friends were beyond amazing.  They all chipped in and helped so much.

Why not do a play date?!  It was great that so many people could come and I bet it would have been a lot harder on a weekend.

Try Sam’s Clubs cookie cakes… Bwhahahahaha.  SODANGGOOD!

 

This was another successful party!  Love her!

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes You Just Need a Mommycation!

We got a phone call two weeks ago from our builder telling us the house will not be ready by our agreed upon closing date after all.  Closing on the house was pushed back until the end of the month.  Boo!

We currently live with my sister and her family of 5 in a two bedroom, one bathroom house while our house is being built.  That is 10 people in said 2 bedroom house.  Yep.

So you can imagine how I was feeling after having the closing date delayed. Ha!  I decided to take a little mommycation for a couple days.  Needed to get out of the house and have a little luxury alone time if you know what I mean!

At first I felt bad about going… who takes a vacation by themselves for no reason?!?!  My husband was really sweet about it though and encouraged me to go and have some fun.    He took over everything with the boys and even babysat my 18 month old nephew for me since I watch him on weekdays for my sister.

This gazebo by the pool had my name written all over it!

This gazebo by the pool had my name written all over it!

I had such a good time!  I got a hotel in Orlando (couple hours from us) and just chilled!  I slept in everyday, got some fresh highlights, got a pedicure, went shopping at the outlets, and sat by the pool to read.  It was AMAZING!

Technically it was was only 2 nights, but I am so glad I did it.  I came home refreshed and motivated.  I think I can make it now…  8 more days until we close!  We have been waiting since August, so what is 8 more days now that I am refreshed and de-stressed!

Fresh highlights! Woot Woot!

Fresh highlights! Woot Woot!

Nothing beats a good foot rub and a pedicure!

Nothing beats a good foot rub and a pedicure!

Eating healthy by the pool.  Yes please!

Eating healthy by the pool. Yes please!

 

Baby Gender Reveal Cake Party!

No, it’s not my baby reveal party.  It is my sisters.  Just had to clarify that before going any further! Ha!  My sister likes to do things old school… she doesn’t like to find out what she is having, she does not like to get induced, and she does not like to have an epidural.  She would love to just stay home and have her baby at home or in the bath tub with her immediate family (she is so much cooler than I am!).

Her family started pressuring her to find out the sex of the baby very early… especially her 9-yr old daughter.  After listening to her kids and husband beg and beg, she finally agreed to having a cake reveal party!

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We took the envelope from the doctor in to the bakery and requested blue icing in the center of the cake if it says boy on the card and pink frosting if it says girl.  Of course, my sister being a naturalist didn’t want to trust them alone with the information.  She insisted that my husband take a look at the card as well… just in case the bakery wanted to be funny and make the icing purple! ha!

Anyway, off to the party! We  had a lot of people there and had the party at a park along the inter-coastal.  Beautiful place!  Those guessing it would be a girl got on one side and those guessing boy got on the other.

This is the side cheering and voting for a girl!

This is the side cheering and voting for a girl!

Team "boy" was not nearly as enthusiastic.

Team “boy” was not nearly as enthusiastic.

My sister and two of her beautiful blondies!  They all wanted to cut into the cake together.

My sister and two of her beautiful blondies! They all wanted to cut into the cake together.

Here they go… cutting

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My cute little nieces face when she first saw the color on the inside of the cake… priceless!!!!!

What the!!!!!!!  She could have sworn she was getting a baby sister!

I bet you can guess what she saw!

And it is…

Blue baby blue!

Blue Baby Blue!!!

Just in case there was any doubt, the doctor included this picture in the sealed envelope… definitely a boy!

No doubt here!

No doubt here!

Don't worry, she eventually cheered up once she got to eat cake!

Don’t worry, she eventually cheered up once she got to eat cake!

Here’s my sister… she is happy to have a boy, but not especially happy to find out early.  Lucky for us, she is humoring us well!

My sister with her blue frosted cake!

My sister with her blue frosted cake!

 

 

 

 

 

Universal Studios with Young Kids

I have a 7yr old, 5yr old, and a 3yr old.  We just moved to Florida late August and have slowly been making our way through the different tourist sites and amusement parks here.

We did Disney, Sea World, and the water parks first and we have just now made our way through Universal.  We kept putting off because everyone told us that Universal is best for older kids.  We finally went and I have to say it was an amazing time!  Despite the ages of our young kids, we had plenty to do and it was one of our most enjoyable trips yet!

Universal with younger kids ages 3, 5, and 7.

Universal with younger kids ages 3, 5, and 7.

We broke the trip up into two days since there are two separate Universal parks.  You can get a park hopper pass if you’d rather go between both parks on the same day.  We wanted to take our time and experience everything.  The two parks are Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.

Universal Island’s of Adventure is more thrill rides and roller coasters.  It has several different themed areas: Jurassic park, Harry Potter World, Dr. Seuss Landing, Marvel Super Hero Island, The Los Continent, and Toon Lagoon.

We loved all of it!  There were only three rides my 7 year could not ride, Incredible Hulk Coaster, Dragon Challenge, and Doctor Doom’s Fearfall.  There was one more coaster (Harry Potter Coaster) that my 7 year old road that my 5 year old could not. Then two more that everyone but our 3 yr old could ride.  There were plenty of things for all of us to do together!

The Jurassic Park.  They loved exploring the caves, climbing the nets, and walking the bridges!  Make sure to plan for at least an hour at this place!

The Jurassic Park. They loved exploring the caves, climbing the nets, and walking the bridges! Make sure to plan for at least an hour at this place!

It was really easy to use the parent swap as well.  Ride with everyone tall enough while the other parent waits in the exit lane, then as you exit you switch places.  Parent waiting goes straight on ride while you wait with kids to young.  The best part is that they let the older kids ride again with the other parent so the kids got to ride those rides twice!

There are plenty of rides for the younger kids!

There are plenty of rides for the younger kids!

My favorite part of the park for my 3yr old and 5 yr old was Dr. Seuss Landing and Camp Jurassic in Jurassic Park Land.  Dr. Seuss landing had a ton of younger kid rides (trains, a flying fish ride, interactive play area, etc..).  Camp Jurassic was this huge park with slides, climbing nets, and caves to explore.  We could have stayed at that one spot all day!

Fun in Dr. Seuss Landing!

Fun in Dr. Seuss Landing!

My favorite part for my 5yr old and 7yr old kids would be the 3D Spiderman ride and Harry Potter World!  It was pretty cool!  We also love seeing all the Marvel characters come out riding four wheelers!  My boys are obsessed with the Avengers so they thought this was “so so so AWESOME!!!!!!”

I would highly recommend paying the extra money for the EXPRESS pass at Universal Islands of Adventure if it is a crowded day.  It is worth it when you consider how much time you will have to wait in line.  The express line will move 3 times faster!  I watched them load 3 full coasters from the express line to everyone one coaster from the regular line.  It was killer!

Universal Studios was awesome too!  This park wasn’t thrill rides as much as experiences.  There was one ride only that my 7 year old could not ride.  It was the only big coaster in  the park (Hollywood Rip Ride Rock it).  He was literally a “hair” too short.  Besides that ride,The Revenge of the Mummy was the only other ride my 5 yr old could not ride and only two more rides my 3yr old could not do (Despicable Me and Men in Black).

Just a "hair" too short for the big coaster!  He will probably hate me for this picture!

Just a “hair” too short for the big coaster! He will probably hate me for this picture!

There was a ton we could all do together and we used the parent swap for everything else.  Fieval’s Playground and Curious George Goes to Town playground are at the top of my list!  Kids loved it and we took a whole hour playing at each of these places!  We pretty much loved everything in this entire park.  Twister and Mummy were awesome and would rate more in the “thrill” area (my 3yr old and 5yr old closed their eyes at several parts).  Distaster was fun, but more of a comedy than thrilling.

Seriously, so many AWESOME 3D rides!

Seriously, so many AWESOME 3D rides!

The Men in Black ride is a shoot aliens as you ride a 6 person car and see who has the highest score at the end.  It was fun and the kids loved it, but I am still trying to figure out why my 3yr old couldn’t ride.  I wouldn’t recommend taking the younger kids to see the 3D Terminator 2 show.  It is not just the robots getting shot at and some of the robots still look human.

We used this fabulous calendar that tells you what the crowds will be like on any given day.  We went when it said the crowds would be moderate and had a great time and felt like we got to do everything we wanted with the kids riding some of their favorites twice when using the parent swap.

This part of the Curious George Play park was so much fun!  Balls everywhere for you to collect and load nerf guns.  We stayed here for over an hour while the boys had nerf gun wars!

This part of the Curious George Play park was so much fun! Balls everywhere for you to collect and load nerf guns. We stayed here for over an hour while the boys had nerf gun wars!

Make sure to save an hour for this place too!

Make sure to save an hour for this place too!

Meeting Transformers and the Simpsons.

Meeting Transformers and the Simpsons.

My 3yr old's first coaster!  Plenty to do here for even the younger kiddos!

My 3yr old’s first coaster! Plenty to do here for even the younger kiddos!

I would highly recommend going to Universal!  Ignore people when they say it isn’t fun for younger kids! We LOVED it!!!!!

MY BEST TIPS

1.  Use the parent swap!  Kids get to ride twice and it is so easy!

2.  Check out the crowds calendar and try to go on a lower crowd day.

3.  Suck it up and by the EXPRESS pass at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  It is expensive, but when you are already paying so much anyway, it is worth it to pay a little more to shave hours off your total wait times.

4.    Bring food!  You can bring in all the snacks and drinks you want (no glass containers).  Keep the kids full and spend less on food in the parks.

5.  Don’t skip the parades or character greets.  The characters are so much fun and more in this era.  It is worth giving the kids some time to meet and greet!

Goof balls can't resist a chance to pose for the camera!

Goof balls can’t resist a chance to pose for the camera!

Fiesta Baby Shower

{ Kelcey is one of the best party throwers I know!  She has some amazing ideas so we are thrilled to have her guest post for us!  Hopefully we can get her to post more of her ideas in the future!   -Jamie }

Our good friends (and former neighbors in London last year) H and S are having a baby girl next month!  I decided on a “fiesta” theme for the shower because S’s family is from Mexico and bright colors inside are a cheery contrast with the grey winter outside.

Since H and S live about an hour away, we hosted the shower in the “common room” at their apartment complex.

FOOD

Heavy appetizers are perfect for an afternoon shower.  Mini snacks in cute cups and bowls made munching easier, less messy, and fun.  Since H and S are healthy eaters I did my best to make it a menu they would approve. PicMonkey CollageLargeQuesadilla

Shredded chicken and carne asada quesadilla bites were a big hit.  To make them easy to eat on a small party plate, I used a colorful mini fork or cactus toothpick ($0.99 for 25 at Oriental Trade) in each bite.

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Mini fiesta fruit salads add a tropical, sweet kick: chopped mango, papaya, kiwi, and fresh mint tossed in orange juice.  (The fresh mint is the secret ingredient).  I found these cute spoons and mini cups/cupcake wrappers at ShopSweetLulu.com, my favorite party accessory website.  I like to get one or two cute, original items from the site to mix in with my Costco/Target finds.

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Mini corn and black bean salads with basil lime vinaigrette.  I love Giada’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/corn-and-black-bean-salad-with-basil-lime-vinaigrette-recipe/index.html

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A salsa bar is essential to any fiesta… and always seems to become the center of the room when there is guacamole involved!  I picked up three kinds of salsa, fresh chips, and guacamole at my favorite Mexican restaurant and filled colorful bowls.  I had the bright place mats from a recent trip to Mexico and the red plastic table cover left over from Christmas.  The mini maracas are from Oriental Trade, recycled from another fiesta party.  For the chips in the center, I used a pink basket from the dollar bin at Target and added a few pieces of natural brown tissue paper to help absorb some of the grease from the warm, fresh chips.  You could use any colorful containers you have on hand.

DRINKS

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Jarritos (Mexican sodas) from Shoppers and raspberry and mandarin orange Vintage seltzer water.  I love that the blue vintage cans had polka dots to match the pink polka dot paper straws and napkins.

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GAMES & DECORATIONS

I placed colorful sombreros around the room on chairs, filling the dual purpose of decorations and fun party picture accessories.  The boys helped me hang some fiesta bunting and pom poms before the guests arrived.

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We also played two games: “Baby Shower Price Is Right” and “Guess How Many Diapers.”

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For the winners, I wrapped up (clear cello and pink polka dot ribbon) cute bottles of OPI “It’s A Girl!” pink nail polish.  (There was also one for H, the guest of honor).  Everyone else snacked on pink “It’s A Girl!” Hershey kisses.

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Since H worked at a hair salon in London, we also made hair accessories for Baby S. The girls had so much fun getting creative with glue guns, ribbon, buttons, and hair elastic.  H went home with an armful of cute hair bands, bows, and clips for Baby S made with love.

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Then we opened gifts.  I think sometimes gift opening can drag on at showers, so the giver of each gift said something nice about “why H would be a great mom.”  This gave H a little pep talk and reminded her how fantastic she is.

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FAVORS: MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE CONES

Since it is still winter after all, Mexican hot chocolate was my first thought for a cold weather fiesta favor.  Hot chocolate cones are an inexpensive and super easy take-home treat.  Here’s what you need to make 25 hot chocolate cones:

  • 50 clear cone shaped cello bags (Hobby Lobby, $1.99)
  • Small, clear hair elastics
  • Ribbon, twisty ties, or string– whatever best fits with your event theme
  • Toppings — sprinkles, mini marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, M&Ms… anything you like!  I used mini marshmallows and sprinkles.
  • Hot chocolate mix
  • Stickers or favor tags.  I ordered personalized event stickers online, but you could also easily make your own or use a sticker. PicMonkey CollageCones

Just fill the cone cello bags (be sure to use two bags per cone to prevent leaks) about two-thirds full with hot chocolate powder.  Then add marshmallows and sprinkles.  Tie off the bags with a small, clear hair elastic.  Tie the ribbon over the elastic and add your sticker or favor tag.  Fast, easy, cute, and delicious!

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Group photo

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S came by after the shower was over for a quick picture with H.  We can’t wait to meet Baby Olivia!

 

Enchanted Mommy’s Easter Crafts

Below, I’m linking to three Easter crafts and two yummy treats. Easter is right around the corner (March 31), so live it up before it gets here!

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Easter Bunny Cup Craft – So adorable!

I just think this craft is so adorable.  It would even make a great party favor with some candy in it!

 

This is made out of a paper plate, cotton balls, pipe stems, construction paper and googley eyes.

This is made out of a paper plate, cotton balls, pipe stems, construction paper and googley eyes.

Check out this Bunny craft!

 

popcorncake

Such a delicious and adorable Easter dessert!

Click here to find out how to make this yummy popcorn cake!

 

Learning words with Easter eggs!

Learning words with Easter eggs!

This is such a fun way for kids to learn words that rhyme and how to sound out different words!  Check it out!

 

Easter Egg "Nests"

Yummy Easter Egg “Nests”

Look at these adorable little nests for candy eggs!

 

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Easter Puppet!

I just posted this two weeks ago, but it’s a good chance to pull out all those craft supplies!

It’s amazing how quickly the holidays come and go the older you get.  I feel like I get so caught up in time (and possibly the fact that I’m 29 weeks pregnant) that I forget to do things with my kids.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

Christmas Craft Party

One of my friends (I spent 6 college years with her) invited us to a Christmas craft party!  It was so much fun for the kids.  Ella was so excited for it and couldn’t wait to go.  She had food and four fun crafts for the kids to do.  The food was absolutely adorable and the crafts were at the perfect level for the kids.  This post may be picture overload, but it’s the best way for me to show all the effort and creative thinking!  I took my snowman cupcakes that I just posted about as a little dessert for the kids.

We got there and I admired the food and even the juice boxes.

Three pizzas looking like a snowman.

Even the juice boxes were decorated:

Rudolph juice boxes.

Check out these cute snowmen!

Powdered donuts on a stick!

Ella loved them, can you tell?!

My munchkin loving the powdered donut snowman.

The four crafts included:

Making reindeer dust so the they can find your house.

The bag the reindeer dust went in.

In the bag they put:

Oats “Carbs Do A Body Good”

Flour “Flying Powder”

Raisins “So The Reindeer Can Poop”

Gitter “Star Dust”

Fry Chips “Energy Boost”

Then, we went and made a bird feeder:

Roll a pine cone in peanut butter and then roll in bird seed. Perfect little bird feeder.

Next, we did a letter to Santa:

Letter to Santa.

Lastly, we made a gum drop snowflake using toothpicks and gumdrops.

Snowflake made out of gumdrops!

The best part of all…… SANTA showed up!

Even a cool Santa arrived!

It was definitely a cool party.  Thanks Catherine!!!  Maybe one year I’ll get around to doing one!