Friday, August 19, 2011

A Collection of Back 2 School Ideas

Our summer was filled with lots of special moments and celebrations, but "summer fun" is over.  Josiah goes back to school on Monday. 

"Back to school" isn't quite what we envisioned this Fall because Josiah will be attending a public elementary school rather than Christian Center Elementary. We are very sad that circumstances in our lives are preventing us from sending him back to CCE, but we are so thankful for the time God allowed us to be there. 

Josiah will be a 1st grader this year in a classroom of 25 kids and will be riding a school bus back and forth from school everyday.  A few days ago, we were able to visit his classroom and meet his teacher.  I was very pleased and I'm excited for him! 

Rather than taking your school supplies the 1st day of school, now most schools request that you take them to "Meet the Teacher Night".  So, to help Josiah make packing his supplies a little more exciting, we sent him on a scavenger hunt for his labeled supplies.  (I got the idea from Happy Home Fairy and used most of their clues but also had to create a few of my own, as well.  You can find my extra clues here.)

Feeling proud we had his school supplies and made packing them fun, the three of us headed off to school.  However, as different students and parents came in carrying their school supplies and talking about them, I realized Josiah didn't quite have the right supplies.  I even questioned the teacher about some of the supplies I couldn't find on our list.  Guess what??? After we returned home, I realized I bought the wrong list of supplies.  I bought the Kindergarten Supply List and not the 1st Grade one.  Argh!!!

Silly me!  I guess I'm in denial that he is growing up right under my nose (he is actually almost to my nose) and we have a 1st grader :)  So, today Josiah and I are headed back out to the stores to buy the supplies we were missing.  I'm just thankful I realized my mistake before the 1st day of school when he started unpacking his supplies. 

In preparation for "Back to School" I have been collecting ideas to make it more fun and meaningful.  Here is a list of printable resources I am excited to use.  Just click on highlighted words and you will be directed to the original source where I found the idea(s). 
Last year I was overwhelmed with all the cute papers and projects that Josiah brought home.  :)  Even though I'm sentimental and love to keep all the memories, I DISLIKE paper clutter and the "frig" only has so much space!  So, I created a little clothesline on our kitchen wall to display his papers and projects.  It worked really well!  If you have primary aged kids at home, you might want to consider using this idea too.  All you need are three inexpensive supplies to create your own:  3M Command hooks or cup hooks, hemp twine/string, and clothespins. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Newton Hills Nature Scavenger Hunt

Kendall and Disney
Yesterday we loaded the van for a short trip to Newton Hills State Park, which is about 30 minutes south of Sioux Falls to go on a hike and nature scavenger hunt.  Barby's kids- Kendall and Logan, AND their dog, Disney, their summer babysitter, Michelle, and Josiah's play date buddy, Owen, joined us. The weather was PERFECT--75 degrees, clear sunny skies and no wind...absolutely perfect conditions for a hike and picnic!

This activity was one of our Summer Bucket List activities.  I was inspired by Sun Scholars to make the hike a more meaningful, intriguing and fun by making it a NATURE SCAVENGER HUNT!  I cut out their pre-made cards and used tape runner to tape them back to back (to conserve laminating and make them less bulky), laminated them, single hole punched and attached them together with an O ring hook.  Now, we can use them again and again--while camping, in the back yard, on a field trip, at a park, etc... :)

Upon our arrival, I gave each child a set of cards and a brown paper sack and explained they could only pick up things that were on the ground and would fit into their bag.  That's was that simple!  I decided not to complicate the fun by giving prizes, etc...and the kids never asked.  :)

Logan, Owen, and Josiah
Since I was headed to FedEx/Kinko's to laminate, I also took the opportunity to laminate several different versions of Road Trip Bingo cards I found at Mom's Minivan, Oppsey Daisy, and Homemaking Expert.  Again, I taped the games together (front and back) to conserve laminating.  Part of the van played these games on the way back from Newton Hills, but I am going to permanently keep them with some dry erase markers in a van seat pocket to use whenever road trip boredom strikes! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Angry Bird Party Plan & Resource List

Finally, I am following through on my promise on sharing the details of Josiah's Angry Bird Birthday Party. Since there are not any commercial Angry Bird party supplies available (yet) I had to pull out all my creative juices to create a fun seventh birthday party for Josiah. I found lots of resources on the internet and compiled all of them and my ideas below.


·        I made his birthday invitations by using clip art I found online at a variety of different sites. 
Balloon Templates & Party Sign

·        To create a party atmosphere I ordered two helium balloon bouquets of red, white, black, yellow, red and blue balloons to create our own Angry Birds.  Unfortunately, no one ever took a picture of them.

·         You can find the balloon templates I used here. 

·        I printed the templates on white cardstock paper and attached them to the balloons with foam dimensional stickers. 

·        I wanted to use green paper plates and balloon templates to make lots of “pigs” to staple to our wooden fence that the kids could have fun shooting/aiming at.  However, that never got done because we ran out of time. 

·        I also came across several examples in which people hung balloons from their ceilings when they planned an indoor party. 

·        I recruited the boys' help to create a pennant/banner that said “Help Us Save Our Eggs” which we stapled on our backyard wooden fence. 
Party Food

·        We served supper to our guests—make your own sub sandwiches, a couple of salads, fruit, and chips. 

Party Hats

·       We started the party by making our own hats.  I was pleasantly surprised of how the kids got into the spirit.   I told them they had to gear up to take on the pigs! 

·       We printed and cut out red, blue, and yellow angry bird characters on white cardstock from coloring pages on Cartoon Jr. to have the kids decorate and make their own party hats.  I provided colors, markers, feathers, and wiggle eyes to make them.  We then glued their characters to strips of construction paper to make “head band” party hats.

·       Have stapler(s), scotch tape, and/or glue readily accessible for putting together the head bands.  

·        You can find the coloring pages we used here. 

·        Since we always have family birthday parties, the mommies and kids made the party hats while the dads and older kids hid eggs for our Golden Egg Hunt. 

Golden Egg Hunt

·       Since the main objective of the Angry Birds video game is protecting the eggs, we used leftover plastic Easter eggs to have an egg hunt.  I had about 125 of them. 

·       I created slips of paper with points on them and placed them in the eggs.  The dads and older kids hid them in the backyard while we made party hats inside. 

·       I provided each child with a brown paper sack and said they could only find eggs until their sack was full. 

·       I awarded prizes (card games) for the highest AND lowest points found.  The golden egg contained 10,000 points. 
Egg and Spoon Race


  ·    We separated the kids into teams to have an egg and spoon race, using raw eggs.  The only person who dropped an egg was me when I was explaining how to play the game.  J

·        I awarded all the kids tootsie roll lollipops for playing the game. 

Get the Pigs!

·       We gave the kids 1 ½ minutes to get as many pigs as they possible using slingshots and plastic/rubber balls. 

·        I made our “pigs” by using about 60 plastic green cups and adhering images of angry bird pigs onto them with a hot glue gun.  Hint:  Buy plastic heavy duty cups (NOT the $1 ones at the Dollar Store) because they will be much sturdier and easier to set up over and over again. 

·        We bought the slingshots (water bombs included) for $1 each at the Dollar store.   These also doubled as a party favor. 

·        For ammunition I gathered up lots of rubber balls, as well as plastic golf balls and put them in buckets.   

·        We stacked the “pigs” on two banquet tables and had two lines going at once.  After 1 ½ minutes, we counted how many cups were knocked down.  We had a final show down between the highest winners to declare one winner and they won a prize. 


·        Next we broke our homemade piñata.  Click here for instructions on how to make your own. 


·        I gathered Angry Bird images online to decorate our red and yellow frosted cupcakes with special Angry Bird cupcake toppers. 

·        I intended to have the boys make a display out of the cupcakes by using Mega Bloks and Legos but we ran out of preparation time to do that. 

Party Favors

·        Our party guests took home their party hats, slingshots, water bombs, and pop rocks. 

Backyard Movie

·        We planned to show a backyard movie but the night got late on us and we skipped that.  However, the perfect movie to show would be Rio—just released today! 


·        We bought matching, themed t-shirts at JcPenney!  The kids really got a kick out of the fact that the parents were the pigs!  J 

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