Thursday, June 30, 2011

More Gender Reveal Party Ideas - At Last!

A VERY long time ago, I believe I said I would post more "gender reveal" party suggestions.  I am here to say - I slacked off.  Or was just too busy.  Or maybe a little of both. 

But every once in a while, my mind starts whirring in that direction again (usually when I see someone else's gender reveal party or someone announces a pregnancy, etc.).  So, today I am going to post some ideas for gender revelation parties because there seem to be so few online. 

Now, I will not have time to go into great detail or creativity like I did with the "What Will it Bee" party or "What's the Scoop?" ice cream reveal, but I will at least get the ball rolling with some themes and if anyone out there wants me to suggest creative ideas to go along with one or two in particular, just leave a comment or send me an email and I will see what I can come up with for you!  :)

I DO ask that if you happen to choose one of these ideas, you would share the love and mention or link back to my blog.

AND if you would like to send me pictures of your own gender reveal or child related party, please do so!  I'm on the hunt for creative suggestions implemented in parties and pretty photography helps too!  :)  I may just feature you with a post and a link to your blog if you have one!  :)  Please understand I may not be able to respond to all requests due to time constraints - but I'll see what I can do!  :)  

Okay, without further ado, I give you....

GENDER REVEALING IDEAS (I may add to this list later on):

**Introducing the Main Attraction!  
   - Theme would be circus related. 
   - Gender revealing moment - decorate a large box in advance to look like an old fashioned circus stand with a large question mark on it.  Fill it with helium balloons in the color of baby gender and maybe write the gender on some with marker.  Seal the box with a big bow or tape.  Choose someone special to untie or open the box at the end of the party and let the balloons tell the rest of the tale!  I believe I saw the balloon gender revealing idea on a forum somewhere and thought it would tie in well with this theme.  :)

**Sugar & Spice or Snips & Snails? 
   -Theme would be sugar/candy/spice and "snips" of different kinds of blue cloth/paper and toy snails, of course. 
   -Gender revealing moment could be when guests receive their favor bags.  Beforehand, make cookies (snails if it is a boy or candy shaped sugar cookies for girls and frost traditional pink or blue).  Place inside simple cloth favor bags with a question mark stamped on the outside.  When guests get ready to leave, pass out the bags, count to three and let everyone open their bags to reveal the gender.

**Vintage Toy Baby Reveal
   - Theme would be vintage style toys.
   -Gender revealing moment - spell the name of the gender with toy blocks  glued to the bottom of an old glass container/jar.  Then fill the container with more blocks or vintage toys or vintage candy and have it be an activity for people to guess the number of items in the container (saw this guessing blocks idea online for a vintage toy baby shower and loved it!).  At the end of the evening, take each item or block out and count altogether as you remove them.  Once they are all gone, the gender will remain and be revealed as well as the number of items in the jar.  The person who guessed the number of items correctly gets to name your baby - just kidding - they get a small prize of some sort.  :)

**"Who is the "Ducky" Winner?" or "I'm So 'Ducky' to be Joining My Family in (month due date)" 
   - Theme would be ducks or rubber ducks. 
   - Gender revealing moment -write the gender of the baby in permanent marker on the bottom of a rubber duck and float the duck in a special jar or bowl as a centerpiece with a large question mark on it.  At the end of the party, choose a person to pick up the duck and reveal the gender.

**Mystery/Puzzle (wording could be something like:  Enjoy a good mystery?  So do we.  Solve the question: what will it be?).  
   -Theme would be mystery of course.  Invitations could be a puzzle that the guests must put together to learn the event time and place and details.  Another invitation idea would be a riddle which, once solved, takes guests to a baby website you have set up and which lets them know the event details.
  - Gender revealing ideas - use lemon juice to write the gender reveal name on paper and let guests have a fun night of mystery and clues (you could have people be on teams according to what they think the gender will be) which lead up to the moment when one team finds the secret envelope (question mark on the front of course) and figures out how to reveal the gender (use a heat source or hold up to the light).

**  Our Little Treasure - Boy or Girl?
  -  Theme would be treasure and treasure hunt.
  - Gender revealing moment - send guests on a treasure hunt or give guests a map when they arrive (could also split people into teams according to what they believe the gender will be).  Have the treasure hunt end when one person or team finds a bag of keys you have hidden.  In advance, amid the other keys, hide a key inside which will unlock a chest (could decorate it to look like a treasure chest) with the name of the gender inside (you could use sparkly rhinestones, etc. glued to the bottom of the chest to form the gender word.).  Hand each guest a key, letting each person try his/her key in the lock until one fits and reveals the surprise.

** "Meet Our Little Monkey" or "Boy or Girl - Not Knowing is Driving Us Bananas!"
- Theme would be monkeys and bananas.
- Gender revealing moment - in advance, write the gender on the outside of a banana with permanent marker. Hide the banana at the bottom of a container full of bananas with a sign that reads "We are going to go bananas if we don't find out soon!". At the end of the party, let each guest take a turn grabbing a banana from the container and searching all over it to see if theirs reveals the gender. Eventually, someone will find the one which tells the surprise!

**  "B" is for Boy and "G" is for Girl - an alphabet gender reveal
   - Theme would be alphabet.
   - Gender revealing moment - see the blocks idea from the vintage toy reveal idea above or make letter cookies according to the gender and hide in favor bags.  Another idea would be to hand each guest an alphabet card in a sealed envelope as they arrive.  At the end of the party have everyone gather together and take turns opening their envelopes one at a time and pulling out the alphabet cards inside.  Depending on the gender - you will need to decorate the "b" or "g" card to make it stand out from all the others.  Eventually someone will open the envelope with the sparkly letter inside revealing the gender.  OR you could just have an envelope ready with the letter inside and when everyone is gathered together, have all assembled sing the alphabet song while passing the sealed envelope from person to person.  When the song is finished, the last person holding the envelope is the lucky one who opens it and reveals the "g" or "b" card.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Busy Baby Blocks!

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If you have an infant, then you probably already know about the "changing table wiggles (or maybe I should say -woes)". Simply described: you place your infant on the changing pad and instantly the body of the child becomes a twisting, grasping mass where anything remotely close by (and even some things you thought were unreachable) is considered fair game in said infant's eyes.

Solution? Well, you could always put toys nearby, but then they might not be readily available for play later on when you need them. And who really wants to wash a teddy bear or toy that came into accidental contact with a dirty diaper? Not I.

Then I had an "AHA!" moment.

Now, I am not sure when the "aha" moment actually occurred - but does it really matter? What is more important is that I HAD an "aha" moment. :)

I had been storing up a few small Gerber baby food containers because they just seemed so perfect for...well...for something. So I thought, why not put objects inside them to create noise, glue them shut and keep a few close by to hand the baby as a distraction during a diaper change. And of course, I didn't want them to look...well.."blah", so paint would have to be involved. Thus, "busy baby blocks" were born.

Now, before I tell you how to make these easy, peasy "blocks" - PLEASE keep two things in mind:

1. NEVER leave your baby alone with these. I tried to make these safe in case my baby did manage to pop one open, but they are NOT something I would be comfortable throwing in a crib or pack-n-play while I have my back turned away.  

2. These are not the "holy grail" of distraction. Yes, they may keep your child occupied for a bit - but eventually (like most toys) your child will outgrow them or just start looking for another sparkly or noisy thing nearby. Don't be discouraged - just eat some chocolate and think of this as an opportunity for finding another creative solution. :) But in the meantime, enjoy the moments when your baby is enthralled by his/her new "busy baby blocks".

What you will need:
**Gerber containers
**paint (non-toxic)
**glue gun
**safe items to put inside the "blocks".  This is VERY important.  For safety's sake, just assume your infant will one day figure out how to pry open a lid, so you want to make sure that whatever is inside the block will not be a problem if the child does. (Examples:  just a few grains of rice - if your child managed to open a block and swallow too many, it could be dangerous so only use a very small amount, little bit of dry oatmeal flakes - again use only a very small amount, broken cheerios, large jingle bells. I used VERY large jingle bells that would be hard for my baby to swallow (although not impossible for him to get stuck in his mouth) if he ever did manage to open the block.  HOWEVER, keep in mind that if the small ball in the jingle bell falls out, that could be a serious hazard.  You may want to further safety proof them by placing the bells in a small mesh bag first and then placing the bag inside the block OR just skip the bells altogether. 


1. Paint the INSIDE of the Gerber container and lid. If you want to have a two color design, paint with one color first and let it dry. Then go back over the inside with a different color (see photo below). 
P.S.  My daughter helped me paint some of these, so this might be a fun activity for older siblings to work on with you.  :)
IMPORTANT: Don't paint the inside rim of the lid that overhangs when the container is closed. That part is exposed to the outside ultimately and thus exposed to baby's mouth.  Your paint SHOULD be NON-TOXIC, but who really wants paint of any sort in their baby's mouth?

2. Add items to each container.

3. Working rapidly with your glue gun, make a line of hot glue along the edge of the container and quickly press the lid onto the container.

4. Check the entire block to make sure all paint on the outside has been removed. Check to make sure the lid is  really secure on each block.

5. Place in a box or basket close to the changing table and let your baby enjoy!

BTW: I am participating in a blog contest for the top 25 creative mom blogs and would LOVE it if you would cast a vote for me!  :)  The button is on the sidebar and you don't have to be a member or sign up or anything to vote - just click the button which takes you to the site and cast your vote.  You can vote once a day so if you feel extra generous and want to cast a vote on another day - I would LOOOOVVVVEEEE it if you would!  Thanks so much!

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sweet Ballerina Snack

Don't you love getting packages in the mail - the good kind with fun things inside that you ordered with a birthday or Christmas gift certificate?  Weelll, the delicate pink muffin cups you see in the snack above were part of said wonderful package.  :)  They were practically begging me to be part of a ballerina snack as soon as they left the box.

Pink baking cups:  "Pleez, oh pleez, Michelle!  We have leeved (lived) for dees (this) moment!"

I am thinking their accent was definitely French.  Anyways, who am I to refuse talking pink muffin cups?  So without further ado, I give you "The Sweet Ballerina Snack":

**Leotard:  peanut butter sandwich with strawberry cream cheese on top.  The bows on the leotard are made from canadian bacon.

**Muffin cups #1 and #3 (sides of "tutu"):  strawberry banana yogurt

**Muffin cup #2 (middle of "tutu"):  canadian bacon

**Pink Fluffy Stuff:  cotton candy.  Please forgive the clumpy look of it -  my vision was for the puffy, wispy kind.  I quickly learned that cotton candy doesn't necessarily stay nice for long periods of time and definitely not when moisture is added (like when you touch it with wet fingers).  It just seemed to fit the fluffy tutu idea so well, I had to give it a try.  Although it didn't turn out quite as "tutu-y" as I had hoped, I think my daughter didn't care so much what shape it was in when she ate it and enjoyed the unexpected little treat. (The stuff we bought at the store had some blue cotton candy mixed in which is why some of it might have  a slight blue tinge here and there.)

**Garnishes:  strawberry hearts, string cheese flowers with red center added using a food marker, kiwi fruit leaves.

**Not shown are muffin cups #4 and 5:  bananas and string cheese

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homemade Chipotle Peach Gummi Bears - YUMMMM!!

Peach, chewy goodness with a hint of yummy chipotle for an added kick!  Not only are these little bear gems a cinch to make, they taste good too!  When I first realized that one could make one's own gummi bears so easily, it quickly became part of my "To-Do-With-Kids" list for the summer.  Fortunately, Father's Day was right around the corner so I decided after our first gummi bear attempt (grape flavor), we would jazz up the next try to give it more of a manly adult flair.  A quick taste test and I knew we had a winner!  My husband felt the same way and polished off the gummi bears the same day we gave them to him!
(Word of caution:  if you are trying these with small children, make sure YOU handle the chipotle part and warn them that the chipotle part of the gummi bear will be hot/spicy.  You might want to try one first!)
We used the basic recipe from this blog (Skip to my Lou) and then added our chipotles (in step #5):

** 1 - 3 ounce box of jello (we used peach)
** 2 - 1/4 ounce packages of unflavored gelatin (I think we used Knox brand and I think we used maybe an extra half a package to increase the chewiness of the gummi candy)
** 1/3 cup of water
** small saucepan
** mold for making candy (We used one we found on clearance at a craft store.  Make sure it is safe to use for heated purposes because the gummi mixture will be hot at first.   Sorry I could not find a link to the exact mold I have; BUT if you cannot find one at a store near you, you might be interested in some of the other fun possibilities I found while searching - see links below.)
**minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (if you want to make the peach chipotle gummi bears)

1.  Mix the jello and unflavored gelatin and water together in a saucepan (not over flame yet).
2.  Heat ingredients in the pan over medium heat until the gelatin has dissolved.
3.  Pour the mixture into a container for pouring (remember that it will still be hot so don't use a pouring container that will melt when heated).
4.  Pour mixture into your mold.
5.  If you are making peach chipotle gummi bears, this is where you would quickly add a small piece or pieces of your minced chipolte pepper by pushing them gently into the gummi filled mold - just enough so they get covered or semi-covered with the gummi mixture.
6.  You can let these cool completely on the counter or speed things up by placing them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes (just don't forget them in the freezer!).
7.  Peel out of the mold, eat, and ENJOY!!  :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dress Up Doll Snack

If you have a daughter then you know how much little girls love to play dress up!  Why not carry that passion right into snack time with a dress up doll theme.  Simply cut out little shapes from fruits and veggies for her to use when making her "doll" fancy.
Snack Details:
* Dolls (there is another doll shape underneath in case my daughter wanted to decorate a second doll) - flour tortilla with strawberry cream cheese spread.  Chocolate eyes, strawberry mouth, cheese hair.
* Muffin Cup #1 (top) - cranberries
* Muffin Cup #2 (top) - pear flowers
* Muffin Cup #3 (bottom) - avocado flowers
* Muffin Cup #4 (bottom) - strawberry flowers
* Garnishes - chocolate words and vines and blue fruit roll up flowers

Links to some items I used below - you should be able to find most in a craft or food decorating/kitchen specialty store.  If not - there's always online shopping.  I could not find a link to the exact girl cookie cutter I used, so I just posted a couple of links to some cute ones I found.  :)

And of course, if you would like some more "snackspiration" - check out these two blogs: and

Linking to:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Delights

Happy Father's Day to three of the most amazing men:  my father, my husband, and father-in-law!!!

I found this free printable door hanger for Father's Day Room Service (see the pic above) here: .  You simply download, print, and add yummy menu items - then let dad pick what he wants for his breakfast on Father's Day.   So, you may ask, what scrumptious fare did my husband choose from the list I gave him?  The wonderful father of my children breakfasted on Grand Marnier French Toast, Baked Egg Custard with Gruyere and Chives and Irish Coffee (he picked orange juice too, but unfortunately it seemed to have gone bad so I had to throw it out). 

The menu may sound fancy, but all the dishes were pretty easy to make and most of the prep could be done the night before too which is a huge plus in my book!  The recipes are on if you are interested in trying some of them yourself. 

In addition to a lovely breakfast, we also presented him with a pretty wonderful card (because homemade cards made by one's own children are often like that) and some homemade chipolte peach gummi bears (more on that later this week).

We capped off the day with another round of delights:  Rib-eye Steaks with Blue Cheese and Toasted Walnut Butter, Sweet Potato Fries, Tomato & Avocado with Feta salad, and rich Chocolate Stout Cake with Hershey's Dark Chocolate Frosting.  Yep, it was good.  Very good.  :)  In fact, one could find oneself wishing that Father's Day was more than a once-a-year occurrence.   :)  And I am here to tell you - it CAN be.  :)  Just choose another day and celebrate all over again - I doubt your husband or father would mind. ;)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mommy and Me Activity - Handprint Ballet Tutu

Handprint Tutu with Bow on Waist (above)
Handprint Tutu without Bow on Waist (below)
I suppose the "endless" clouds of tulle draped about my daughter's waist just looked so akin to bunches of handprints that my brain made the necessary connection between the two and the idea for this fun craft began to take shape.  With all the hundreds of thousands of other mommies of petite prima ballerinas out there, I cannot imagine someone else has not thought of this same thing - but here is our version!  So "cheers" to all the mothers out there who have spent hours making tutus for their daughters, driving to dance class, and clapping at their little one's adorable first attempts which we all hope will one day be practiced, graceful movements!  :)

Materials:  canvas (find at arts and crafts store or see link below), paint, pink paper, regular white paper, glue, ribbon or rhinestones or other embellishments.

How To:
1.  Paint a hanger onto your canvas (you may want to draw this with a pencil first)
2.  Fold a white piece of paper in half (hot dog style) and draw half of leotard shape (length-wise).  Cut this out, open it up and you should have a symmetrical leotard shape.
3.  Trace that shape onto your pink paper and cut it out.  Glue to the hanger you painted and let it dry.
4.  Paint your daughter's hands and place them on the canvas around the leotard to create a full tutu effect.  On ours, we used four handprints in a light pink first, then after those had dried, we made two more handprints on top of the light pink handprints in a darker pink shade.  Allow these to dry. (BTW:  if you are using a pre-stretched canvas, you may want to place a book under the area of canvas where your child will be placing her handprints to avoid her denting or pushing through the canvas.)
5.  Glue a section of pink ribbon and a bow around the waist of your "tutu".  Make and glue a smaller bow to the top of your leotard or the hanger.  You might also want to add other embellishments of your own to the leotard and tutu (rhinestones, real tulle, etc.).
6.  Admire and display your cutie's handprints!  :)

Linking up to:

Hello Summer! Good-Bye School...

Sooo, my daughter informed me that she would like for me to make a school for her next snack.  Out the window again went my snack plans because I cater to the whims of my children (not really - but in this case, I thought about it and decided I could make it work with an "End of the School Year" snack theme).  Now, I know you must be thinking - end of the year?!  That was weeks ago!!  Well my friends, not for us.  We have had a full year of expected and unexpected delays in school (medical, travel, etc.) so we are just finishing up now.  One reason I love homeschooling - very flexible!!!  :)
Okay, enough about our lives and more details on the snack itself:
School - apple, graham cracker door and roof, cheese bell.
Muffin cup #1 - blue jello stars - because of her star work and effort this year :)
Muffin cup #2 - blueberry yogurt with another "jello star sticker".
Garnishes:  chocolate letters, cheese suns, fruit roll-up and pretzel trees.

I bought the muffin cup liners on Amazon (see link below).  The circle cutters you can probably find at any hobby or craft store that sells cake/cookie decorating items or buy online (see link below).  The spoon was part of a set I purchased at Hobby Lobby so I am not sure where else you could find one.  I tried to find something similar online and found myself drawn into the world of amazing baby and toddler spoons (who knew there were so many cool kinds out there?  I had to stop myself from looking before my links were longer than my post!) so I posted some links below to some neat ones I found as well.  :)

HEADS UP:  Tomorrow, I will try to post a cute craft my daughter and I made for hanging in her room!  Come back and take a look!!  :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Turn That Frown Upside Down - Smile!!!

My daughter was not feeling that well today and needed some cheering up.  Thus, my original snack idea went out the window, and I started afresh with a new theme - "Turn That Frown Upside Down - Smile!"  The idea was to give her a bunch of different "smiles" with which to replace the frown on the little girl's face.
You gotta love those snacks with a double purpose - cheer the heart and strengthen the body with lots of vitamins.  I hope it does the trick and kicks this cold/allergy/or whatever it is, good-bye!!!
Face - peanut butter and banana sandwich with strawberry frown, banana and chocolate chip eyes, fruit roll-up hair and bow.
Cup of smiles #1:  mandarin oranges
Cup of smiles #2:  kiwi slices
Cup of smiles #3:  nectarine (hmm, or maybe it was a peach) slices
Garnishes:  chocolate words and avocado "smiles"

For more snack inspiration, check out the muffin tin mom website or Jill Dubien's blog under Fun Food Friday.  :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

HOMESCHOOL - Alphabet Book

Around the beginning of this year, we began making an alphabet book in school. Each page (front and back) is dedicated to a letter, and every activity or idea on the page relates to that letter. This is a great activity for a hands-on approach to learning the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes. First,the child learns while making the page AND THEN has something tangible which can be brought out for a fun review later on!
Some of the items were activities or ideas I came up with, others were a blessing of inspiration from other sites. One of the main sites I used for finding little books, poems, activities for each letter is this one: (Under "lapbooking" and then under "Alphabet Lap-n-Note".)
To make a book - just three hole punch pieces of cardstock and draw a letter on each.  Insert these into a three ring binder (you can find these at Walmart or office stores or see the links below) and you have your very own Alphabet book - then comes the fun part of filling it!  :)
If you have a child entering Pre-K or Kinder this coming school year - this might also be a fun activity to complete with them over the summer!! :)