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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Party Games and Ideas

Jelly Bean Jar
  • Large glass jar filled with jelly beans
  • Small pieces of paper
  • Easter basket
  • Pencil
How To Play: Have children write their name on a small piece of paper and their guess as to how many jelly beans are in the jar. The child who guesses the right number or comes closest takes the jar of candy home to share with their family.

Pin the tail on the bunny
  • A cut out bunny 
  • blindfold
  • Cotton balls (for tail)
  • tape
How To Play: Everyone take a cotton ball.  Each child takes turn, while blindfolded, putting their cotton ball tail on the cut out of the bunny.  The child who is the closest to the actual spot wins a prize.  Other suggestions for prizes: child furthest from the spot, child with the tail in the silliest place.

Easter Cupcake Walk
  • Cupcake for each child
  • Numbers taped to the floor
  • Easter basket to hold number call cards
  • Music
How To Play: When the music starts the children begin to walk around the room stepping on each of the numbers as they go. When the music stops the children should step on the number closest to them. A number is pulled from the Easter basket and the child standing on that number gets to choose a cupcake and return to their desk. That number is then removed from the floor and the bag. Continue until every child has a cupcake.

Easter Egg Roll
  • 1 hard-boiled Easter egg for each team (maybe a few extras)
  • 1 spoon for each team
How To Play: Divide children into teams. The goal is for the first person to roll the egg with the spoon to the end of the course and back. The person hands the spoon to the next person in line and the relay continues until a team finishes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What do you celebrate?

The key to hosting a GREAT party is choosing your celebration carefully. If you are new to hosting parties, don’t bite off more than you can handle—start small. If your neighbor’s house is the place to be on New Years Eve, don’t try to compete. I find that my most successful parties are the holidays that most people don’t celebrate. Instead of hosting a Christmas party and competing with everyone’s busy holiday schedules, we have an after-Christmas re-gifting party. It's a huge success and I get to take advantage of all the after-Christmas sales, making it a Budget Savvy choice, too. One small holiday that I love to celebrate is Cinco De Mayo (probably because I grew-up 2 hours from the Mexican border).

The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. It is primarily a regional holiday celebrated throughout the Mexican state of Puebla, and especially in U.S. cities with a significant Mexican population. It is not, as many people think, Mexico’s Independence Day, which is actually September 16. Even better, it’s a great excuse for fiesta, fun, food, and margaritas!

Some Easter Fun Facts

 The jellybean date back to 1861.  They were used in an advertisement to promote sending jellybean treats to soldiers in the Union Army.  By 1998, jellybean consumption for the Easter season totaled 15 billion. If these beans were lined up end-to-end they would circle the globe almost three times.

Easter Egg Dye
Easter egg dye was marketed at a whopping 5-cents a packet for the first time in 1880 by Pharmacist William Townley of Newark, NJ.

Fabergé Eggs
In 1885 Russian Czar Alexander III commissioned Master Jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé to make a fabulously bejeweled Imperial Easter Egg as an Easter day surprise for his wife, Czarina Maria Gydorovna. She loved the gift so much, the Czar commissioned 56 more. The current value for a single Imperial Egg is about $6,000,000.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 600,000,000 eggs are usually sold in America during the months of March and April, or Easter season.

A symphony of 600,000,000 Marshmallow Peeps, and their silent partner, chocolate bunnies, are typically consumed by Americans during Easter season.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

April Fool's Day

Want to pull a fast one on your kids this April Fool's Day?  How about cooking up some cupcakes.  But instead of batter, it's meatloaf.  And instead of frosting it's mash potatoes with food coloring!

Side note:  Because of our allergy ridden house, I make a turkey meat loaf.  My kids LOVE it.  I will include a recipe for a classic meat loaf (the dear hubby loves) and the turkey loaf we enjoy as a family


1 beaten egg
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I always use the Italian Bread Crumbs in the canister)
1/4 milk (or water...we use water because of allergies)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning
1 lb. ground beef

TURKEY Meat Loaf
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 small chopped onion
1/2 cup bread crumbs (again, I use the Italian Bread Crumbs in the canister)
1 egg beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan (we omit because of allergies, but I imagine it's TASTY)
2 T Dijon mustard
1 7 ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes
Salt and pepper

3 cups mashed potatoes
Food coloring

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with foil bake cups.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the meat loaf ingredients until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the lined cups (the liners should be about three quarters full).

Place the filled muffin tins on cookie sheets and bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Divide the mashed potatoes among three small bowls and stir a few drops of food coloring into each batch to create blue, yellow, and pink pastel frostings. Spread a generous dollop on each cupcake. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easter Time!

If your kids are anything like mine, the one thing the look forward to the most during this time of year, is dying Easter eggs.  Living overseas, I have one unique problem, in that white eggs are VERY hard to find.  We still dye the brown eggs, but the colors are a little muted.  One technique I've discovered that works well with our situation is to turn lemons into lemonade, so to speak.  We use rubber bands!  We wrap the eggs with the wide rubber bands, and then the brown shows through.  This would work great with white eggs, as well.  After you dye the eggs with the rubber bands, allow to dry and then place in a new color.  This is a great twist on an old tradition!

What you need:
  • hard boiled eggs
  • Easter egg dye
  • rubber bands
Just wrap the eggs with the rubber bands before dropping the egg into the dye (as mentioned above, we find the thicker bands work best).

Once the egg reaches the color you desire, remove from the dye and let dry.  Remove all or some of the rubber bands, and drop into other colors (if, you so desire).  If you do choose to use other colors, just remember to let the dye dry before you remove the rubber bands!

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 15, 2010

One man’s junk is a party decorator’s treasure.

I hit the Mother’s of Multiples consignment sale this weekend. I picked up a Little Tyke football-shaped toy chest for $5—SCORE! I plan to use it at our annual Super Bowl party. I'm going to fill it with ice and cans of soda. Then, I’m going to use it as a storage bin for the other decorations.

It’s probably time to confess that I am budget savvy, thrifty, and down right cheap. If it costs too much, I just won’t buy it. I am a yard sale junkie and Maxxinista, but I prefer the term Frugalista. I order everything else online and never without free shipping and a coupon code. My favorite family vacation is our annual trip to the Longest Yard Sale. Yes ladies, we even take an RV to avoid paying for a hotel. If HGTV covers it every year, I can’t be too much of a dork for going. To my critics I say, thrifty is green—I am not cheap, just environmentally savvy.

SAVVY TIP: Keep your eyes open year-round for potential party decorations. Yard sales, the Junior League Attic Sale, church rummage sales, etc are great places to find over-the-top decorations for next to nothing. Go to our Savvy Tips and Ideas Page for more yard sale tips.

Email jackpot...

I had to share with you an email I just got from Birthday Express
Happy shopping and happy saving!  Just in case you can't read the code it's "50clear" and it expires 3/21/2010.



Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh honey, who is looking at us anyway?

Our friend shared this YouTube video with us.  Posting videos on this blog will not become a habit, but this one spoke to us.  Our dirty little secret is that being stay-at-home-moms is not always fulfilling.  This blog,, and are our "stupid ideas."

We've been talking to each other for years about someday starting an online party planning business.   One day Jo picked up the phone and called Shelley and said, "Today is the day, I dare you."  30 minutes later we were online.  2 Massive Messes to Savvy Success (check), 4 Savvy Tips and Ideas (check), 6 Daily Etiquette Tips (check), 10 blog posts (check)....60,000 to go.  We have no idea if anyone out there is even looking at us, but we are and we are proud.

We have so much more to share with you, don't give up on us. Letting your friends know we're here, wouldn't hurt either (wink, wink).

We are hoping you find your "Dare You" moment, too.  Use the comments section below to share your "Dare You" moment with us!

Calgon, take me away...

After my morning, afternoon, and anticipated evening, I just realized it is almost that time of the month.  Not for my monthly visitor ladies, geesh, for MOM'S NIGHT OUT.  Mom's Night Out can be just what any mom needs to recharge her batteries. It's easy to sacrifice your own fun during the week but it's important for moms to get away from the kids for the sake of sanity. Here are some tips for organizing a Mom's Night Out.
  • Get a variety of women together. Whether it's your BFFs or a mom you only talk with during drop-off and pick-up, consider getting everyone together for a great night out.   You can also include women who are not moms if you prefer. The size of your guest list may determine the activity you plan. The main goal is the get a group of FUN ladies together, without the kids and husbands (sorry guys).
  • Try to think of interesting ideas that go beyond the usual dinner and a movie.  You can host a Bunco Night, wine cheese party, game night, etc.  The sky is the limit.
  • Decide which activity you want to do. You can consult some of the other moms that are invited, but if you ask too many people it may only make the decision more difficult.
  • Send out invitations to the other moms. This can be as simple as an email.  Just make sure you keep the line of communication open, so you have an idea of the number of ladies who will be attending.  You can request official RSVPs, but what I have found is, if you request that someone RSVP by a certain date, some may not be able to commit.  How often do we know if we can truly get away until the day before?  Remember this is a fun night out, not an official function.
  • Make any necessary reservations for the Mom's Night Out activity once you have an idea of the number of attendees.  I always make the reservation for +2 the confirmed moms.  Some ladies may realize at the last minute they can make it after all.  But also keep in mind, vomiting children can occur at any time, causing someone to cancel.
  • Send out a reminder email a few days before the scheduled Mom's Night Out so the other moms can make any last minute arrangements.
  • Have fun at your Mom's Night Out!
Always keep in mind the budgets of the other moms when planning the Mom's Night Out activity.  Don't be offended if some of the moms can't make it. Some moms have difficulty leaving their kids and all of us have busy schedules!  This is why my girlfriends and I like doing this monthly.  If you can't make this month's MNO, there is always next month.

Savvy Tip:  Did you know that May 6, 2010 is National Mom's Nite Out?  Maybe you want to mark it on your calendar.  This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship, or another reason to go out, you decide!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“Crayons are for coloring.”

I 'm a proud mom! My almost 2 year old learned how to put two crayons in his nose and leave them hanging like a walrus (I can’t seem to find the spot to record that in his baby book). It got such a great reaction from the other restaurant patrons and staff that he thinks he is the toddler version of Jay Leno (or Conan, or Letterman, or whoever’s side you stand by). At least he’s not sticking other things in his nose, yet. But it won’t be long before he’s demanding an audition with Etrade.

SAVVY TIP: Keep an emergency restaurant kit (toys, sippy cup, books, etc.) in the trunk of your car because spontaneity is no longer your friend.

Another Birthday Party tip - Be Prepared

Order extra food and prepare extra goody bags for unexpected guests. Keep extra costumes on hand for theme or costume parties, just in case Billy shows up without one. The host should also have phone numbers for all parents and a first aid kit.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What are we working on for you?

As we use this blog to give you some pointers and tips in party planning, our ultimate goal is to put together a party plan for you to use to have a successful event.  As we have mentioned, and will continue to remind you, we have done all of these events for years for our family, our school, our church and our community.  We now are sharing it with you. 

One of my favorite activities is Moms' Night Out.  My girlfriends and I get together once a month, leaving the cares and worries behind, and leaving the kids with their fathers or baby-sitters.

We fall off our diets, drink our favorite wine, margaritas, or drink-of-choice, and we talk.  But more importantly WE LAUGH.

We talk about our kids, about the neighbors, about the PTA. We vent about our husbands, our jobs, their jobs. We play catch up on TV shows, current events, and anything else that might come about.

One of our favorite activities is getting together and playing a silly, mindless dice game with wild abandon, hoping to take home a few more prizes then we arrived with.  This game, you may have heard of, is Bunco.  I am not here to sell you Bunco.  What I am here to do is show you how to have a fun time with girlfriends, and one event you may consider hosting is a Bunco night. 

I'm in the process of showing you how to do this from inviting your girlfriends (so you have enough for a productive Bunco night), providing a sample menu, giving you collection of materials you may want to use (if you don't want to go out and buy your own Bunco set). 

Here is an example of my Bunco Score Card:

So to answer the title question, I'm working on providing a Mom's Night Out for you.  Soon, you will be able to visit and get information on how to host your very own Bunco night!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beat a theme to death

It takes so much effort to make decorations, come up with a menu, plan games, etc. Make it easier on yourself and use the same theme more than once. At my house 2005 was the year of the luau. The Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet had a luau theme, the Christmas Parade Float was Elvis in “Blue Hawaii”, my daughter’s birthday was Island Princess, Cub Scout Day Camp was Pirates (where the boys built a wooden boat to earn their Handyman badge and then reused it as their Christopher Columbus entry in the 4th of July parade) and Vacation Bible School was Son Rock Treasure Island. Decorations, menu, games, and costumes were all reused with a slight twist for each event. Each event was unique and I cut my work in half. 2006 was the year of the Mexican Fiesta— Feliz Navidad!

Christmas Float

Can you see the pirate ship and Christmas float in the front yard?

Feliz Navidad!

Say Cheese

I am really enjoying doing this. I have spent the morning going through photos looking for things to post (Even though I should be sorting through things for the children’s consignment sale on Saturday). I have done a terrible job taking photos. It is always so hectic for the host.

Taking photos is something that can be delegated to someone else. Ask your best friend to be in charge of photos. Give her your camera or you will have to wait for her to download the photos and get them to you. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but your adorable “Monkey Man’s” first birthday is never as important to someone else as it is to you. It might take a week to get the photos and you will want them before you go to bed that night.

Make sure to take photos of the decorations before the guests arrive (they are always a little trashed by the time they leave), your table (see our Savvy Tips), and your guests having a great time. You put so much effort into the party; you will want to remember it. As a guest, it is the first thing I offer to do and the host is ALWAYS grateful.

I also like to give a cheap digital camera to a child (disposables also work, but they will use up all the photos in the first 5 minutes taking pictures of their friends nostrils). You will get a totally different perspective on the party. They take phots of things they like and things that impress them. I beg you to try it. It is absolutely adorable!

I am in serious trouble now. I just cracked open a Diet Coke and a box of Girl Scout cookies. What are the chances that I will get any real work done today?

Gratuitous “Monkey Man” cuteness

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What have we done?

As we are in the process of gathering everything we have done in the past, and putting it together for you, we are coming across photos and materials.   I thought I would post just a few to get you asking for more (wink, wink)...

 Here is a photo of the 50s themed party Jo threw for her daughter

The same room, one year later . . . Aloha!
(F.Y.I. My daughter is a total ham. We don’t know where it comes from-- I haven’t had a good photo since my senior portrait. )

A party fit for a princess.

Here are some from a baby shower Shelley threw for her friend...the nursery was Care Bears, can you tell?

The party favors
Table with the diaper cake, clothing bouquet, and one of the many games

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Here we go, again . . .

Now that this is online, I suppose it is official. I have always worked better under pressure. I have to say that I am super excited. Let’s hope this goes better than that time we shared a room!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Here we go...

My sister Jo and I have been planning events for our friends, our family, and close acquaintances for over 2 decades now. Many of those people have either told us, you should do this for a living, you should write a book, or you should get paid. To be honest, it never occurred to us that we COULD get paid for this. Then we started playing around with the idea, putting together all the material we have used in the past, and discovered we CAN do this!

We are 2 overeducated, over qualified, and under appreciated stay-at-home moms (Let’s face it, who really NEEDS a graduate degree to extract raisins from a toddler’s nose.) We have participated in play dates, Sunday school, scouting, PTA, and other events. We have done birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, Advent workshops, Super Bowl Parties and Mom's Night Out events.

We do these things because we want to be involved with our kids, our husbands, and our community. BUT we also want to have FUN. I mean, come on ladies, if we have to put up with our men in front of the big screen during the big game, we might as well have the place decked out with great decorations and play commercial BINGO to keep us occupied! If we are going to throw our friend a baby shower, it might as well become a couples Baby-que where the men can BBQ our lunch, and we can play our games, right?

What Jo and I are in the process of doing, is putting together party ideas, gathering ideas, showers and mom's night out events where we do the planning and you take the credit. We provide you with the tools you need to throw a great event from the budget conscious on up. We will teach you how to use what you have, guide you on where to get what you need, and provide you all the materials to make an idea an event. Make your good event become a GREAT event. Have your friends tell you, "You throw a mean party!"

We are passionate about planning events. We never do anything half way. We want you to have a successful event and take ALL the credit.

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