Friday, October 31, 2014

Pre-Trick or Treat Party

The kids wanted to throw a Halloween party this year, but I can only tolerate so much crazy, sugared up kids. Since we live in Iowa, I kept an eye on the forecast. When I saw that we would indeed have a dry (no rain or snow!) and crisp Beggar's Night, I surprised my kids with the news of my idea: A Pre-Trick or Treat party for our friends, family, and neighbors who are brave enough to face our crazy.

We broke out the bounce house, turned the playhouse into a haunted house, and made our backyard a kid haven. It was a fantastic night and a great way to lead into trick or treating with friends.

The backyard had sensory activities such as: the Fall sensory bin, Halloween sensory bin, the cornbox, coloring, Pumpkin "sand" (, and pasta play. Games included pumpkin ring toss (I failed to get a picture of this, but it's small pumpkins with long stems and glow necklaces for tossing), a pumpkin toss, and bobbing for apples. The two biggest hits of the night: the ball pit that the kids slid into from the eagles nest and the Haunted Playhouse.
The pumpkin "sand" 

The sensory bins that we've been playing with all fall.
Instead of bean bags, the kids tossed mini pumpkins for the Pumpkin Toss game. These mini pumpkins can take quite a beating without breaking!
The ball pit.

The Haunted Playhouse was my special surprise for the kids. The kids loved it and thought it was especially creepy after it was dark outside.

The Happy Halloween banner and pumpkins I scored for $2 at Walmart and the styrofoam ghost cups the kids and I made ( were a few of the backyard decorations.
The orange and black pasta was played with just as much as it was eaten (and it wasn't meant for eating). I gave the kids pots, pans and spoons like I did for the Pasta Play Day (

Bobbing for apples. 

The side of the house had the food table and the kid's cotton ball ghosts on the windows.

I kept things simple for the food as well: chips, deli sandwiches, celery, carrots, cookies, cupcakes, apple cider, and water. I had glow in the dark fangs all over the table that the kids could take home with them at the end of the night.
My attempt at being kid-spooky/funny.
Good ole' sidewalk chalk in the driveway because what kids don't like sidewalk chalk???
The kids tested the maximum limit of kids in the bounce house (everyone came out alive). They loved jumping from the bounce house into the huge pile of leaves.

We had a hard time dragging the kids away from the activities to go trick or treating. We managed a successful group picture and went door to door for an hour. The hit house of the night was the 'spooky' house that had a graveyard set up in the front yard and a giant spider crawling from the top of the house. After trick or treating, the kids came back and played for a bit longer.

At the end of the night, after candy had been eaten and the kids (finally!) tucked into bed, Hubs and I collapsed on the sofa and left the party mess for another day.....this throwing parties and trick or treating is tough business!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ghost Cups

We're busy prepping for our Pre-Trick or Treat party and I needed simple outdoor decorations that the kiddos could help me with. I went searching in our basement, which holds large amounts of wonderment and crap, when I came across small styrofoam cups (such as these Dart 8J8 3.2" Top and 2" Bottom Diameter, 3.5" Height, 8 oz White Foam Cup (40 Packs of 25)) and white yarn, this little project fell into my lap.

I quickly put together three dozen Styrofoam Ghost Cups in less than a half hour.

All you need for this quick project:

Styrofoam cups
White yarn/string
Sharpie marker
Scissors (for cutting the yarn)
Pencil (for poking holes in the top of the cup for the yarn)

First poke two holes in the top of the cup, measure the amount of yarn/string you want (since we are hanging our's on the fence, we made our's long).

Tie your yarn, draw a face on the cup with a black Sharpie marker,'re done! We promptly took our's outside and hung them on the fence. It was quite the blustery day and the kids loved watching the Ghost Cups "fly" through the air!

I doubt these last much longer than the party they're for, but I'll definitely be making these again next year for outside Halloween decorations.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Best Toy Buy-Magformers

My sister-in-law bought a set of Magformers Rainbow 30 Piece Set years ago for my nephews, so when my kids were a bit older, I eagerly bought our first set. They were such a hit that our first set quickly grew into quite a collection. Every child loves these things, from the oldest child to the youngest. There's no small pieces in most of the basic sets so there's no choking hazards to worry about. Older kids love to build 3D space ships, houses, and buildings. Toddlers tend to lay them out flat, click the sides together, and build a grid-like thing (although they claim it's a house). Babies stare in wonder as they learn to click the sides together....and the smooth sides make an awesome chew toy when teething.

This is the third year in a row that Santa will be adding more Magformers to the kid's collection since they have been one of the more popular toys the kids play with daily.

Here are a few of our favorite sets (a few are also on the Hot Toy List for Christmas so be sure to buy your's early!):


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week In Review: October 20 - October 24

We had a short daycare week since I took a day off to spend with the minis who didn't have school. The week seemed short and we didn't get to half of the activities I had planned--someone planned out five days worth of activities instead of only four. Ooops. Here's a brief look at our week (brief because I failed to take pictures as I usually do):

 Lil Miss E had a tough week sending her brother's off to school.
 The kids painted with pine cones and then they painted the pine cones with their fingers. A couple of kids loved it, most kids did not.
 We broke out the Halloween stampers. A few of the kids had never used stamps before, so they thought these were "sooo cool!"
 Pumpkin slime.
 Harrison has been "reading" to the kids and has convinced them all that he can, in fact, read. The kid's newest favorite place to play is in Elizabeth's room. They drag as many toys as they can in her room and play. They even chose not to go outside two afternoons in a row because they wanted to play in there!
 We played a few games this week. The first was learning games with the Shapes Bean Bags. This is a definite buy for anyone with toddlers learning colors and shapes. Read my review here:
The kids also played Hungry Hungry Hippos and we played a few pumpkin counting games (I failed to get pictures of either activity).
 Harrison picked out a Fizzing Egg from the Blank Park Zoo last weeked (more on that here: The kids loved watching the egg fizz and were shocked to see that the animal inside of the egg was an elephant.

 The kid's imaginations were in full drive this week and they created scenarios such as: camping, zoo people, and pet owners (in this scenario half of the kids were puppies, the other half owners. Things got very loud with the "puppies" barking and the "owners" yelling at them).
 Reading books.
 I made Pumpkin Moon Sand one afternoon for a sensory activity. It did not go over well. Read more on that here:
 We did a partial toy rotation. The kids were thrilled to have the Wheelie mat back on the floor.
 Lots of crafting. Using (or learning to use) glue and scissors has been a highlight for the kids lately.
 We finally got around to making our leaf collages. This was the first time we've made them with glue and construction paper (in the past we used clear contact paper) and they turned out great!
Friday was my first day off since Labor Day. Read about our day exploring:

Next week will be another short week (that I will plan accordingly for this time so it doesn't throw everyone off!) that will include: Halloween cupcake day, two Halloween parties, reading our Halloween books, watching a few Halloween movies, and getting out the dress up clothes and costumes for a day of pretending.