Archive for September, 2010

The Best Boy’s Birthday Party


I hope you enjoyed that short video. With four kids, it’s hard to keep coming up with good birthday ideas…especially on a budget. But this FEAR FACTOR Party for my son was his favorite! It was so gross;  lot of gagging, laughing, and quite frankly the funniest things ever to watch! Warning: This theme must be celebrated outside!!

Here’s how I broke the theme down and planned this huge hit of a party.

  1. For the invitation, I searched for the “Fear Factor logo” on Google (love Google!!) and put that on the top of a  Word Document. I made everything else on my computer.
  2. Get this: the cake was served in a NEW cat litter box! It even included a pooper-scooper for dishing it out! I made chocolate cake and yellow cake from mixes, crumbled them up, put frosting everywhere. The finishing touches were the melted tootsie rolls. All over. Even up the sides of the little box!
  3. What about the games?
    1. Egg toss: the boys were partnered up and tossed a raw egg back and forth to one another, taking a big step back after each successful catch!
    2. Kix Blow: Each kid put a Kix cereal piece in the tip of a nostril, covered the other nostril, and blew hard! The person who blew the cereal piece the farthest wins! (Yuck alert-- Not just the Kix comes flying out!)
    3. Gooey Mystery Food: Before the party, remove the labels from various baby food jars and number the jars in order. Then the boys had to taste test each one with a toothpick and write down what they thought it was.
    4. Diaper surprises:The kids have to guess what is inside the diapers. They do this by smelling each diaper and writing their answer down. (No worries…it’s all food!) :)  Take 6 diapers with different things, be creative! SO GROSS! I used mustard, chocolate pudding, cinnamon.
    5. Flour-n-Gum: Each boy got a paper plate with a piece of Hubba-Bubba gum on it…but before they were handed their plate, I dumped a heaping pile of flour over the gum. They had to lay on the ground, not use their hands, find the gum, and chew it. The first one to blow a bubble won!
    6. Spamathon: The boys divided into teams, and each team received a plate with a piece of Spam on it. They had 3 minutes to eat as much of their Spam as possible!
    7. Hot Peppers! Need  I say more… ;)
    8. Relay race: The twist? Throw in some dog biscuits! They crawled on hands and knees across the yard to a paper plate, grabbed a dog biscuit off the plate, chewed, showed it was swallowed, and crawled back to tag the next teammate.
    9. After all that nastiness, some treats were absolutely deserved! On this one, the sky’s the limit!  Think plastic spider rings, gummy worms, eye-ball ring pops…. You name it.

Surely you have an idea or two to make this FEAR FACTOR Party even more amazing!

Share your ideas below!

Decorating Idea for the Fall! Pumpkin Topiary

Saw this in a magazine and loved it! Thought I would share with all you mama's! Go to Goodwill and pick up a planter. :)

Google Text! No more 411!


Everyone knows that I LOVE Google. I’m the biggest fan they have, and today I learned one more reason to gush about them! So when you’re out and about and you have to call to get in for a quick bang trim, or want to call the kids’ school to tell them that your son is going home with Grandma, how do you find the number? Call 411? Sure it’s helpful but it’s also expensive. Here’s how you can do it from now on: Go into your contacts on your phone. Add a contact by the name of Google. Then type in the number 466453. When you need a number, address, or quick info, text Google and within about three seconds, your question is answered! So cool, right? Say goodbye to 411 fees!

What the heck is in MY purse?!

School Lunch-Box Ideas!


Hurrah! The kids are back in school! Sure it’s more work to get four children up and out in the morning. Nevertheless it is a glorious day indeed! Back to laying out clothes, back to alarm clocks, back to making lunches. The problem is, come October, my kids are bored with their daily sandwiches. This list of ideas will help you save money AND keep your kids’ lunchboxes interesting!

One alternative to sliced bread is mini party buns. You know those little buns that sliders are made on? They somehow take away the blahs from the very same sandwich fix-ins on sliced bread. My preschooler and 4th grader each take one in their lunch with turkey & lettuce; my older kids pack two.

Next is yet another Costco alert! A huge bag of dinner rolls is only $3.49, and these can be used at school as well as warmed up for supper. Wraps also spice up a sammy- cream cheese, avocado spread, the works. Roll it up & it’s a fun, easy meal item.

Mini bagels come in a huge bag too, and we keep ours in the freezer. My children waste bagels in their typical size, but these minis are just right. They make breakfast super simple, too.

My next tip might not apply to you if you only have two kids. Since I have four kids, it’s much more cost effective for me to buy a huge turkey breast for $1.69 per pound and slice it myself than to spend a small fortune on six pre-sliced pieces of lunchmeat. I can spend up to $5 on pre-sliced, and it’s gone in a day or two. So I buy the big guy, slice it all in one sitting, and use it on sandwiches and salads throughout the week. Simple ad savvy!

Hope these ideas wake up your sandwiches, since there are hundreds of them to make this year! As an added and oh-so-sweet idea, you can add fun stickers to your kids’ sandwich baggies, and use plain old address labels to write your own lunchbox notes, and then stick them on!

How to have a Family Meeting


Hi everybody, it’s back to school time! While we’re all celebrating the return to our routines and a new season, it’s a great time to make sure the whole family is on the same page. Our family tackles this with family meetings.

Family meetings have numerous benefits; including bringing the family together, connecting, and getting everyone dialed in. After we hold ours, there are no surprises and we all feel heard. The back-to-school topic is a crucial one for families. At the end of this posting, I’ll share our last family meeting’s agenda which covers all the changes that come in the fall. All ages can benefit from family meetings, from preschoolers on up to teenagers, as long as it’s quick, follows a predictable format, and remains pretty informal.

As parents, family meetings give us a chance to be proactive, little problems can be addressed before they grow. As kids, appreciate their turn to listen and their turn to speak, as long as it’s about 15 minutes or so… especially for teens!

The points we touch on in our family meetings start with announcements. Any “don’t forgets,” a new sports season, a history exam. Next we share celebrations. Anyone can share something they feel proud of or excited about: an A on a test, a goal scored or an encouraging note from the teacher.  Our family calendar is then highlighted for the week or the month, addressing upcoming school events or birthday party invitations. A quick review follows, checking in on how chores are going, or the morning schedule. This is brief and does not zero in on any one child (individual parenting happens at another time, without the audience, perhaps after the meeting). We then allow our children to voice any grievances they have. In our house, we hear a lot of talk about making bedtime later or a fair rotation for turns in the front seat. Lastly, we talk about goals. I write them down, so we can check in at the next meeting. Making goals is an important skill for our children to learn, but this time can also be for prayer requests.

This all may sound daunting, but it’s much more informal than it sounds. Below, I share our meeting agenda regarding going back to school. This visual can be your catalyst to get your family meetings rolling, just in time for the big switch in seasons.

 1st month of school – FAMILY MEETING AGENDA

  • Everyone share their favorite summer memory
  • Review new bedtimes for all the kids
  • Chores
    • Daily chores vs. weekend chores
    • Who does what?
    • What the consequences are if they are not done
  • Review your expectations for the “morning routine”
    • Alarm clocks
    • Showers
    • Packing lunches
    • The time my car leaves the driveway! J
  • Review “afterschool routine”
    • Where backpacks, shoes, sweatshirts should always be put after school
    • Empty your own lunch box and put it on the counter
    • All papers to sign, homework etc…  put on the kitchen table
    • Playtime and snack is GREAT, but after the 15 minutes of chores is done
  • Expectations for “homework”
    • Always done immediately after dinner
    • Done at the kitchen table unless you need the computer
  • Before bedtime
    • All backpacks are ready
    • Lunch is packed (minus the sandwich )
    • Clothes are picked out for the next day
    • Everyone share their personal GOAL or HOPE for the first month of school


Jen LOVElady