Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mario Kart Wii Cupcake Toppers

My son has asked for a Mario Kart Wii birthday party this year.  As always, I like to try to make as much of my own party supplies as possible.  I have already made the invitations and now I'm working on cupcake toppers.

With my Cupcake Topper Template and the Mario Kart Wii Clip Art that I found, it's very easy to make our own cupcake toppers.  I followed the instructions from my Cupcake Topper Template post and now I have my very own Mario Kart Wii Cupcake Toppers.  Download a copy for yourself by clicking here.

Cupcake Topper Template

One of the easiest ways to incorperate your theme with cupcakes is to use cupcake toppers.  I have made cupcake toppers in the past for a Phineas and Ferb birthday party.  However, I didn't have a good template to cut out circles and now I do. 

Directions using Microsoft Word
  1. Download a copy of the Cupcake Topper Template
  2. Use Google to search for images that relate to your party theme. 
  3. Then copy and paste your chosen images onto the template.
  4. Right click on your images and select the Text Wrapping, then the In Front of Text option.
  5. Reduce the size of the images to fit inside the cirlces on the template.
  6. Print toppers and cut them out.
  7. Use a gluestick to attach toothpick and colorful backing paper with a bit larger diameter.
I used this template to make cupcake toppers for my son's upcoming Mario Kart Wii birthday party - Mario Kart Wii Cupcake Toppers

Mario Kart Wii Clip Art

While trying to come up with ideas for my son's Mario Kart Wii birthday party, I've come across a bunch of great character images.  I plan to use these to make cupcake toppers, goody bags and maybe even some t-shirts. 

You can copy and/or save these images to your computer.  Then you will be able to use them for your own creative craft ideas.  I would love to know about them, so please share and leave a comment.  Thanks and have fun!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Corn Dog Muffins

While making Jiffy's corn muffins, my oldest son gave me an idea.  He said, "I wish you were making corn dogs instead."  I then realized, with the left over hot dogs in the fridge, I could make corn dogs.  Well, I could make corn dog muffins. 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, milk and egg in a bowl.
  3. Cut each hot dog down the middle, length-wise.  Then slice into small pieces.
  4. Add hot dog pieces into muffin mix.
  5. Fill 8 lined or greased muffin tins about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until muffins are light brown.  Let cool and serve.
I served these delicious Corn Dog Muffins with a small bowl of soup.  It's a new family favorite meal!  The kids are already asking when I will make them again.

This is a great recipe for make ahead meals for kids parties, lunch boxes and to freeze for another day.

Mario Kart Wii Party Invitations

My little guy is turning 6 in August and I'm rushing to get things ready for his birthday.  He has decided to have a Mario Kart Wii birthday.  I can't find party supplies in our local area but they do have them online.  I'm always hesitant to buy party supplies online and much prefer to make as many party supplies as I can.  

First things first, the invitations!  I went on the hunt for instructions on making my own invitations.  Most places suggest  finding free templates online but, I couldn't find one I liked.  So, I decided to create something of my own.

All I did was type up the following on Microsoft Word:

Race on over and help us celebrate
Michael’s 6th Birthday!

Saturday, Aug. 13th
3:00 – 5:00 PM

RSVP: (555) 555-5555
Then I added FREE Mario Kart Wii images I found with Google.  To view the ones I found, visit my post Mario Kart Wii Clip Art.

I was able to print two invites on each sheet of paper.  After cutting them out I used a glue stick to attach a black piece of card stock to the back and viola!  I have easily made invitations for my son's Mario Kart Wii birthday party!

You can do this for any party theme.  Let the birthday boy or girl help pick out the pictures.   Get creative and have fun! 

Natural Allergy Relief

My allergist recently prescribed me a $100 per month allergy medication.  That's not something we can afford with three kids and me staying at home. 

So, I wanted to look into natural allergy remedies.  In every online article and blog that I read about this topic they all had similar findings. 

Natural Remedies:
  • Nasal Rinse - a simple saline nasal spray and/or the use of a Neti Pot is great for flushing out allergens from your nose.
  • Butterbur is a weed found in Europe that works like a antihistamine without the drowsy side effects.
  • Stinging Nettle is also a weed but it is found in the United States but also works like an antihistamine.
  • Quercetin is another natural antihistamine that is found in foods like onion and apple skins and even in wine.
  • Bromelain is good for nasal inflammation.
  • Honey when locally produced can help you become acclimated to your regions allergens.  It is also great for soothing a dry throat and cough that can come with allergies.
Most if not all of these natural supplements can be found at your local natural goods stores.  However, before starting any new allergy remedy, it is best to talk to your doctor first.

For more information on these natural remedies and more visit:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Moms' Night Out Ideas

After the first time a couple of my friends and I got together for a girls night out, we were hooked.  Somehow chatting with each other over food helped us feel recharged as moms and as women.  So, we promised to get together as often as we could. 

However, coming up with ideas for a girls night out for moms can be different than planning one for single girls.  So far, we have only met up at restaurants.  But, I wanted to find more options.  My top favorite moms' nights out/in ideas are: bowling, wine bar and game night. 

For more ideas visit these sites:
Whatever you decide to do for your Moms' Night Out, be sure to take your planner with you and schedule another one before too much time passes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Disney World: I'm So Glad We Took...

My family and I had an amazing time at Disney World this past spring.  Although, the weather could have been nicer, the trip was way better than we expected.  Here are a few things I am so glad we took:

Our Van 
  • We love road trips and we are blessed with children who travel well in a car.
  • We weren't staying at a resort on the monorail system and did not want to bother with taking the bus to get the parks. 
  • When you stay at a Disney Resort, parking is FREE at all the parks and at the resort.
  • We were able to bring our big stroller, snacks and all the extras we wouldn't have wanted to pay a check-in fee for on a plane.
  • Although the time of year that we went was not known for rain, we brought ponchos.  We sure are glad we did, because it rained most of the time we were there.  But, having the ponchos allowed us to still have all the fun we wanted!  We picked some up at our local Walmart.
Our Own Party Supplies
  • While at DW, we celebrated our daughter's 2nd birthday.  We considered having a dinner with the Princesses at Cinderella's castle but, realized she was too young to really appreciate and understand that.  So, I picked up a bunch of Disney Princess party supplies and decorations at our local Walmart.  The first night at our resort, my husband and I decorated our room.  We picked up a Disney Princess cake at a grocery strore in Orlando (another great reason to have the van).
Lightweight Jackets
  • We went to DW at the end of March, when the average temperatures were upper 50's F at night and low 80's F during the day.  So, we made sure to bring everyone a hoodie for the early morning trips to the DW parks.  I'm so glad we did!
  • While waiting in line, for food or for others in your group, bubbles are a great way to entertain young ones and pass the time.  I grabbed a bunch of small bottles at our local Dollar Tree.
A RayShade
  • Bringing your own stroller is great but, the canopy may not be enough to keep the Florida sun off your child.  So, I invested in a RayShade and it was one of the most important things I brought.  It helped keep my daughter cool and helped when she needed to nap in the stroller during our long days at the park.  They are about $15.
Water Shoes and Extra Sneakers
  • The kids had their water shoes for the trek down to our resort pool.  We also brought extra sneakers in case one pair got wet or caused blisters.  And after all the rain we had while walking through the parks, our sneakers were soaked!  Good thing we had an extra pair! 
Lots of Pictures
  • What better way to make your memories last a lifetime! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back-To-School Books

Reading books to your children about school is a great way to prepare them for kindergarten or getting them ready to return to school.  Books about school are also great to have in the classroom.  Here are a few of my favoirtes and more:
Entering Kindergarten 


For coloring pages about going back to school, check out my post Free Back-to-School Coloring Pages.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Free Back-to-School Coloring Pages

Walking through the store a few days ago, I was surprised to see the back-to-school displays all set up and ready to go.  One of my little ones will be starting kindergarten this year and although he is very excited, I still feel the need to prepare him.  To ease my kids into the new school year, I thought it would be fun to color pictures about school.  So, I hopped into my desk chair and typed away.  Here are my favorite sites for free and printable back-to-school coloring pages: 
Another great way to prepare your child for starting school or returning to school, is to read them books about school.  Visit my post Back-to-School Books, to see some of my favorites.  And for more free coloring pages, click on the Coloring Pages tab at the top. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun Ideas for Sleep Overs

My son is having a friend sleep over tonight and I want to make sure they have plenty of things to keep them busy.  So, I came up with this list of options. 

Sleep Over Fun
We'll see how it goes!  If you have any ideas, please share them by leaving a comment.  Thanks! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding the Right Babysitter

Finding a babysitter for your children can be difficult and time consuming.  However, it is also one of the most important things you will do for your family.  My husband and I haven't had a babysitter for our kids in a few years.  So, we are looking once again.

First things first, how much do you pay a babysitter?  I did some research and found a lot of great information to help us decide what we can afford.  If you need help figuring out the going rate for babysitters in your area, check out my post How Much to Pay the Babysitter.

Now, time to find the babysitter.  Luckily enough, a young girl across the street from us passed out flyers advertising that she was looking for babysitting jobs.  I plan on giving her a call very soon.  If you need help finding a babysitter, try these helpful links:
There are online sites that specialize in finding babysitters too.  They often offer background checks on the babysitters they provide, which is great!
Once you've decided on a possible babysitter, it's a great idea to give them a trial period.  I plan to invite the babysitter over a few times to watch my children while I am at home with them (great time to do some deep cleaning around the house).  It's a great way to help you decide if they are a good fit for your kids.  Since I'll be home, I will be paying less than I would if I were out.  After the trial period, I'll increase her pay for the times I am out of the house.

Do you have helpful tips on finding a babysitter?  I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your story.  Thank you!  

How Much to Pay the Babysitter

Although the economy is still rough, my husband and I feel it's worth spending the money on a babysitter again to keep our sanity and to keep our marriage alive.  We haven't had a babysitter for a few years and now our family is one child heavier.  So, I felt the need to research the cost of babysitters again. 

While searching the web, I found a few helpful online articles.  They all agree that there are many factors to consider when deciding on how much to pay a babysitter:  
  1. Babysitters age, experience babysitting and training (CPR, first aid, classes etc.)
  2. Where you live:  big city versus rural area.  (Try the Rate Calculator below.)
  3. How many children the babysitter will be watching
  4. The day of the week and time of day you will need the babysitter
  5. How often you will be needing the babysitter:  every day or one night a week, etc.
Below are the articles I found to have the best information:
Here are a couple of helpful links for deciding how much you will pay your babysitter:
How much do you pay your babysitter?  Please leave a comment and help moms like me.  Thanks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Simple Construction Paper Crafts

Yesterday, my kids and I made an Alphabet Book that we saw on the The Goodnight Show on the Sprout Channel.  Since my two younger children aren't capable of making an Alphabet Book, they used their books for other things like a book of shapes. 

When making our Alphabet and Shape Books, I used a three-hole hole puncher.  In order to make our construction paper fit in the hole puncher, I had to trim each sheet down.  After making three books, I had a bunch of colorful paper strips.  Instead of throwing them away, we plan to use the paper strips to make Paper Chain Snakes and Caterpillars.

Construction Paper Craft Instructions
These are great crafts to do with your kids this summer when it's too hot to play outside.  Get creative and have fun!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fun with Streamers

Some summer days are just too hot to take the kids outside.  So, for some indoor fun, I grabbed some popsicle/craft sticks, streamers (left over from birthday parties) and tape to make homemade rhythmic ribbons (like those used by ribbon gymnists).  It was super, simple and the kids played with them for a long time.

Here are more craft ideas you can do with your left over party streamers.  Have fun!