queens, activity days

I teach the Activity Day girls at church. They are 8-11 years old and we do activities every other week, so 2 a month. This month we focused on beauty. We did an outer beauty night where we talked about hygiene and then did manicures and pedicure to one another. It was a fun, pampering night. But last night, I was in charge of the “inner beauty” night.

I wanted to make sure the girls felt special, had fun, but knew that what we were talking about was important. So I wanted to add details and elements to make it special. The theme for the night ended up as “Being Queens – as daughters of God, we are queens in the making”.

Then I of course had to make crowns. duh. And since I had to do it all for free, because our budget is blown, I made them out of lace I already had. I saw these crowns on Pinterest and was inspired:

Gorgeous right? Yeah, well, it gave instructions on how to make them from lace and so I thought I could …. but it was a bit of a fail. I was trying to do it on the cheap, so I didn’t go out and buy fabric stiffener, I saw online that you can make your own homemade fabric stiffener with glue and water. no you can’t. I did it and it didn’t make it stiff. They were semi-firm. Anyway, here was my process:

Apply glue/water mixture (or fabric stiffener if you’re smart) and let it dry completely, overnight.

Apply silver or gold paint and let it dry then brush them with mod podge and apply mad amounts of glitter. Let it dry completely.

Then, give up on making them completely stiff and turn them into quasi-tiaras with ribbon you have on hand. Whatever works.

The plan for the evening was this:

They come into the room and I wanted to have a “throne” for everyone (steal the chairs from the foyer), but we have too many girls coming for that. So instead, I am having a set of tables set up in a U shape with chairs.
Then they will all be seated and we will watch these two Mormon Messages for the youth … in this order:
Next, we’ll play a game I made up called “WWQD? (What Would Queens Do?)” Throughout the game the girls will be guessing and playing charades to find out what queen qualities we are working to possess and then doing an activity for each quality.
I brought my magnet board from home and put up this awesome picture of a girl in a crown.
There are 4 qualities we focused on. It’s supposed to be all about the girls’ inner beauty, so the qualities are: be kind, THINK, be modest, and the 13th article of faith (which obtains just about every quality we need).
Be Kind – played charades/Pictionary/hangman to figure out the quality, then we played “Baby I love you, won’t you give me a smile”. Sometimes being kind is simply a smile.
(THINK) “Think before you speak” – played charades/Pictionary/hangman to figure out the quality, then played “the minister’s cat”, where you have to think quick and come up with a quality for the cat in alphabetical order. You clap your hands in a beat and go around the circle in the order of the alphabet.
Be Modest – played charades/Pictionary/hangman to figure out the quality, then broke into groups of 2-3 girls each and had them use magazine cut outs to create outfit boards for certain occasions. How would a “queen” dress to go to a swim party, prom, work, school? etc etc. They glued all the outfits onto the page and showed the group.
This was fun, I got to ask them what they thought about modesty and how it worked in their lives. We had a good discussion.
These girls were finding a modest outfit to wear to working at Subway. :)
13th Article of Faith – play charades/Pictionary/hangman to figure out the quality, then I will teach them to memorize this. However, they already knew it and so we just recited it. We were out of time anyway, so it worked out.
Once done, I had handouts and sugar cookies for the girls with little sparkly crowns on top:
And that was it. I had fun and I think the girls liked it too. I usually do too much, but this was a good balance for me. It wasn’t going overboard with decorations or extras, but hopefully it was just enough to let them know I thought this topic was important enough to put extra time into it, making crowns and displaying pictures and having awesome sugar cookies. There we go. Now next time, I think we’ll just sit in the gym and play games :)

Star Wars Birthday party, part 2

These boys had so much fun running around in their Jedi robes. In fact, I wish I had just let them do that … for like 2 hours. Instead, I spent all this time coming up with a Jedi Training Obstacle course, which only lasted a few minutes and was never seen or used again. Also, I made too much food. There were just snacks, but they were sugary, so by the time cake and ice cream came around, half the kids said they didn’t want ay cuz they were full. Which is a huge shame because then I was stuck with 7 layers of a massive helmet head cake. oh man, I’m making Daniel take that to work to get rid of it. I wonder if the people at Ford will be shocked to see a Captain Rex helmet head of cake in the break room.

Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures of the playing that went on. There are probably too many, but it will make you feel like you were really there :)

The faces in the above picture crack me up. It was very intense in the backyard.

Noah’s stance in this picture above is like a classic fencing move or something. You can see that Nicholas is about to get it right in the kisser.

It looks like it was a warm day, right? It wasn’t. But the sun came out a little in between clouds and it stayed around 58-60 degrees, so not terrible.

Daniel took all these outdoor shots and he said watching the boys fight was like watching a flock of birds. They would change direction and all move in a flock-like formation.

This is Jedi Training, part one. We had some older friends, Antonio and Alejandro be our Jedi Masters and they taught us some moves.

And then Darth (Daniel) showed up. Daniel was awesome. He took Liam’s 4 year old Darth Vader costume and pinned it to a black shirt and got the belt on and made it work. Then he took a serious beating from the kids. It was hilarious to watch. Here are too many pictures of the onslaught:

And yes, that is Daniel light sabering the Birthday boy.


Liam landing the final blow. That’s my boy, hitting him while he’s down.

Jumping over the pit of carkoon.


The piñata fiasco … the hook at the top came out, so Daniel tied a rope around it and it worked. Not that the kids cared. They were too busy fighting each other in the front yard.

We finally gave Liam the light saber stick that was much tougher and had him finish it off. Look at Alonzo’s face … he’s excited!

Funny story: So, we lit up the candles on the cake and were about to start singing hapy birthday to Liam, but he immediately blew out the candles. So we started again. We got about 75% through the song again and he blew them out again. Oh well. we gave up singing.



Star Wars Party for Liam, part 1

There is soooooo much. This party has consumed me for the past month. I will start with the decorations, then post about the party itself and the boys in their Jedi robes …. ahhh, so much fun.

First of all, everyone and their dog has done a Star Wars party, so I was reluctant to do it, but the more I talked to Liam about it and tried to talk up and suggest other themes, we kept coming back to “Stah Wehs”. So a Star Wars party it was. I got a lot of good ideas from this blog and of course, Pinterest. This is my pinterest board with a bunch of ideas and links.

The first project was the death star piñata, which took us over a week to make (with drying times in between). There are a million death star piñatas out there. The only bit of advice I’d give to others is to reinforce the hook at the top with cardboard – cuz ours came out and then it was a little crazy trying to tie it up with rope. It worked out, but reinforce the top with lots of cardboard from the inside!


Painting it at midnight one night. You’d think after all this work I would’ve taken a million close up pictures of the finished product…. nope. I forgot. I have on shot. To someone who is a little OCD, this death star was a nightmare because it was not perfectly round, not perfectly sectioned off and not perfectly symmetrical. But it worked as a piñata.

I made the laser coming out of it with pipe cleaners. Liam specifically requested a “way-zuh”.

This was the scene when you walked in.

I spent forever making brown Jedi robes, but that was worth it. The kids loved the Jedi robes and pool noodle light sabers the best of all the treats, activities or anything else. I think they liked the light sabers because they didn’t have to be careful, they could knock the daylights out of someone, right in the face and it was cool, cuz it was just a pool noodle. Boys are hilarious.

Then there was the food …

The black plastic tablecloth was sprinkled with silver confetti stars. And then there was the cake … Liam literally asked for Captain Rex’s head on a platter. So I had to do it, didn’t I? He’s the birthday boy …oh geez, 7 layers of blue and green cake later, this is what we ended up with:

I haven’t worked a lot with fondant, in fact, this was my first time, and I made my own fondant from a tutorial here and I’d do it again. It was the coolest recipe and it worked well, even though Captain Rex looks like he has sunken in cheeks a little, that was my fault trying to make the helmet indentations.

And then there were the favor bags … 

I made my own stencil by printing out a picture of each head and then using an exacto knife to cut out the negative space.

Admittedly, Han Solo looks a lot like Jim Morrison. But none of these kids knew who The Doors were. 

I made the labels and the sticks are called “Pocky sticks”, I found them, randomly in the Asian isle of the grocery store. I got a package of about 18 for 99 cents. Super cool and pretty tasty.

The rest of the stuff in the favor bags was: a squirt gun (blaster), star wars tattoos, stickers, notebooks and pens all from the dollar spot at michaels 50% off.

And then there was the Jedi Training Obstacle Course in the basement …

This is a black piece of fabric I pinned to the rafters. Thanks to Noah I had the Millennium Falcon and Luke’s X-wing put together from Legos to hang with fishing line.

The kids in front of the black sheet.

This was my interpretation of the pit of carkoon. The kids swung over it on the rope swing I anchored to the rafter.

Close up of the pit of carkoon. I just piled a bunch of cardboard boxes on top of each other and taped them together, then cut teeth in the cardboard and spray painted it red. I covered the boxes with a painting drop cloth I had.

The other side of the basement/obstacle course. They had to climb through the laser beams, then shoot the storm trooper down. I made the storm trooper by piecing together 8.5×11 sheets of black and white print outs. I have the pdf if anyone wants it. The storm trooper ended up being about 4 feet tall. Kid sized.

Well, that does it for the décor. And this post took me forever, so I’ll post part two later …. Happy Birthday to Liam!



ombre cupcakes

It’s a new thing. I made it up. I originally wanted these cupcakes to end up looking like layers of pink, but they melded together and ended up kinda cool! I call them “ombre cupcakes” because they fade from dark pink to light pink. It was a successful process, and man I needed today to be successful because yesterday was awful! So yeah for today:

This is the varied colorful batter. I used strawberry cake mix and added red food coloring for the darkest pink, then white cake mix to make the lightest pink batter.

Then plopped the colors by spoonfuls, starting with the darkest pink first, into my cupcake pans.

And this is what we got.

Super cool right??

A dollop of icing and a decorative candy on top and there you have it – Valentine’s Day cupcakes for Noah’s class. I love them.

The Annual Halloween Party – 2012 edition

I wasn’t going to do it this year. I told myself how much work it was and how I didn’t have the time or money to do it and I gave it a good go to convince myself it wasn’t worth it. Just one year, just skip it. But I couldn’t. I started talking to my sisters who were planning theirs and starting thinking about themes …. What sealed the deal? When Mandee’s husband, Arturo (a real introvert) told Mandee that it wasn’t Haloween without the Forsyth Halloween Party and that he was just about to start thinking about his costume …. had to do it.

So this year’s theme was: a witch’s cottage. More specifically, Witch Hazel’s Cottage (get it? …witch hazel?) Anyway, I had a budget of $50, so I had to make everything from stuff in my backyard, borrow stuff, use stuff from previous years’ Halloween parties and then I didn’t do food. I had everyone bring a treat or snack to share. The invites were cheap. I just printed them out on white cardstock I already had and then painted them with Postum water to make them old and wrinkly looking. The rest I made or had Leslie draw :)

I really threw the whole party together in about a week. Sunday night, 6 days before the party, I had Daniel help me clear the basement of furniture and the rest of the week I would do a little each day. And it was awesome. Soooooooo much fun. Really worth it :)

We only played a few games – “I’ve never” and “Adam’s Family”, those are my faves anyway. It came out during the evening that Shane has been arrested for streaking, Bobby dressed in drag, Bobby also tried to kiss Shane, I have an extra appendage, Senta would be the most fun person to go water skiing with, Arturo was baptized when he was 8 and Andrew speaks …. english? britain? british? … anyway, total blast. Loved it.

Bobby and Leslie won for the second year in a row – Best Costume, but they also won funniest too. Senta and Daniel won Scariest. And here are the pictures:

People entered from our back door.

And down the stairs …. into our basement.

This was at the bottom of the stairs and to the left. The stumps I got from a neighbor that was chopping down their tree, the pictures Leslie drew (Uncle Vexadus and Aunt Alphaba), the chandelier was made from battery-operated candles and grapevine wreaths and branches.

Then this was to the right:

I took some pictures with the lights on to catch the details. I got the bottle labels from my sister, Aria, but she said she just google imaged them. The shelving was made from boards I painted and some rope hanging from eye bolts screwed into the ceiling. That’s the beauty of doing this in the basement, you can screw things into the ceiling :)

I filled the bottles with highlighter fluid, food coloring and then the liquid inside glow sticks (that stuff smells, by the way).

I made the book of spells from an old accounting book I bought from 25 cents from Salvation Army. I glued in cool looking spell pages (thanks again, google image search) and then I made that broom from stuff I found outside and wrapped it with twine.

This was a new addition … dry ice. Daniel had to stay on top of that all evening. But it looked super cool. It was pretty easy to get a hold of dry ice – it was at our local grocery store and only cost about $1.50 per pound. We used 5lbs for the evening. The fire is made of sticks glued together, orange twinkly lights, yellow cellophane and red tissue paper. This is another view of the left side of the basement:

And the bookshelf.

This year’s trophies were by far my favorites. I got them at Salvation Army.

 Now for the costume contenders:

Nick & Tara Giordano – popeye and olive oil

Senta & Daniel Hill – zombies

Colleen & Mike Mero – minnie and mickey

Ruth & Andrew Gough – cardinals fans

Ben & Megan Pruett – ninjas

Tiffany & Brad Rice – black eyed peas

Bobby & Leslie Jamieson – Sonny and Cher

Sooooo, funny story. Bobby’s fake lashes were coming off right when he showed up to the party and asked if I knew how to get the fake lashes to stay put. I had some on too and had just gotten new, expensive eyelash glue at Target earlier that day. Unbeknownst to me, I had gotten professional grade eyelash glue. It was supposed to be used on eyelashes that you wnated indefinately on your eyes. The glue was waterproof and very strong. I had no idea when I was gluing those eyelashes to his eyes that they would cause so much trouble soming off. Anyway, I had a terrible time of getting my eyelashes off later that night and looked at the eyelash glue box and realized my mistake. It was painful, but I yanked them off and glue was stuck in my eyelashes and eyeball for days.

Arturo & Mandee Ordaz – hunter and deer

Erin & Shane Dangerfield – Joe Dirt and girlfriend

Ben & Erin Griswold – baby “bump” traffic signs

Daniel & me – King David & Bathsheba

Leslie accepting her award for “Best Costume” while singing “I Got You Babe”

Bobby & Shane ….. right before this picture was taken, I was focusing the camera as they posed this way and right when Bobby thought I was going to take the picture, Bobby turned toward Shane – and it totally freaked him out. It was hilarious. Too bad the camera didn’t take it at that moment.

This is really Ben’s dancing move that he did while playing “Adam’s Family”. The whole room was doing thsi pose, it was super funny.

Lovely ladies – Tiffany and Jackie

With that orange soda in his hands, Nick really looks like a sailor :)

The winners of scariest costume and Bobby and Leslie got funniest and best costume awards.

good times.