Welcome to the fabulous and sometimes insane life
of a working mother who is trying hard not to
let her whole existence be determined by her
cute little munchkins, yet continues to be drawn
in by the adorable and sometimes annoying tiny people!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Calling All the Minions!

This household has become minion obsessed lately. We love Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, but our favorite part of the movies is the minions. First of all how could you not love those adorable, scene stealing comedians. And secondly, I've been calling my munchkins minions for years!

So of course there was no question what kind of birthday party my soon to be 7 year old wanted. It was minions all the way!

(I had to create several options for my little diva, and I decided to sell them all in my Etsy store, so if you are interested be sure to go check them out here!)

We invited around 20 kids, and I got to planning. Now if you don't know me well, I must admit to you that I am a wee bit birthday obsessed. In fact while some might say that I am an amazing birthday party planner, others (my husband) would say that I am obsessed and that our house turns into pure h... in the week preceding a party.  Whatever, I just believe that birthdays are special and they should be treated as such!

First I start with the decorations. I used foam board from Wal-Mart to create life sized minions. Don't scoff! It wasn't that hard. You could do it two ways: first, Youtube How to Draw a Minion and follow the steps, or you could find the minion you like and print it onto a transparency and then broadcast it onto the board using an overhead projector or a regular movie projector from your computer and just trace it.

I also created a larger minion for the front door using a piece of yellow foam board and a piece of blue foam board. Nothing says "Welcome little Minions!" like a huge minion on the front door. In fact, one of the kids told her mom that she knew that was definitely our house because there was a minion on the front door:)

Of course, a Despicable Me themed party would not be complete without Gru! So I glued together three pieces of foam board lengthwise and drew a Gru that was even taller than me.

Other decorations included chevron pennants which I created out of napkins from Wal-Mart by just cutting them into triangles, a printable birthday pennant banner that you can also purchase at my Etsy store, hanging streamers and swirls, tons of plastic table cloths which you can do lots of things with, and a huge birthday banner that I painted myself.

We also had speech bubbles everywhere with minion words, so that our little minions could learn how to speak like minions. In retrospect, I am not sure what a good idea this was seeing as for the last two weeks they all bust into fits of "Bee do, bee do, bee do, bee do!"

 Next in the planning came the activities. When having birthday parties at home, unless you are having a swimming party, you need to have activities planned or the little minions will take over (a.k.a. destroy) your house that you spent hours cleaning to prepare for the party. So here are the activities that we had fun with:

1. We created our own minions using construction paper. I had the pieces cut out (body, overalls, eyes, arms, legs, feet...) and they put them together and decorated their minion however they wanted. We did this at the beginning while the children were arriving.

2. Next we had fun dancing to all of the Minion short videos and songs and doing the Just Dance songs from Despicable Me. I just created a Youtube playlist of all the minion shorts and songs and played it on our T.V. If you don't have a Smart T.V., you could do this lots of ways. You could download them to your computer using the program YouTube Downloader and then burn them to a DVD. Or you could also just connect your computer to your T.V. using an HDMI cable and play the videos right from your computer. Here is a link to my Minion Playlist

3. The most popular activity of the day was the "Minion Hunt". Luckily for me  Wal-Mart already had out their Easter stuff (not sure what I would have done otherwise). I bought 4 bags of eggs. Unfortunately, I had to buy the bags with all of the colors to get just blue, yellow, and purple. Then I put my minions to work making blue and yellow eggs. Next I painted on eyes and goggles using acrylic paint. In retrospect, I could have just gotten those round white stickers and some black electrical tape to create the goggles, but I really didn't mind. 

Then we hid the 50 something minion eggs outside (same way you would do an Easter Egg hunt), and we released the minions with some super cool and creative plastic Wal-Mart bags.

4. No Despicable Me party would be complete without The Box of Shame which was featured in the first movie. It was where the orphans were sent to be punished when they did not sell enough cookies. The kids had fun getting in the Box of Shame and even stuck some of their minions in it.

5. Minions are not hard to draw. Especially if you focus on the basic shapes. The body is made out of an egg shaped oval with the top part colored yellow and the bottom blue. Then you draw in the eyes and goggles. Add some legs and arms and you have a minion. They had the best time drawing their minions on our front sidewalk using sidewalk chalk. There were minions leading up to our door for days. Guess we could call it a Minion Walk.

6. A last minute activity that just happened because I was cruising past the toy section and these rocket shooters were on an end cap was "Shoot the Moon like Gru". These rocket shooters were $2.50 each. I bought 3 of them, but had I realized how super cool they were. I would have bought a lot more. These things shot up 20-30 feet in the air, and they could have done this all day long!!

7. Finally, after the singing of Happy Birthday and the serving of plates, we turned on one of the movies and enjoyed "dinner and a movie". This captivated some for the rest of the time. The others enjoyed going outside and repeating many of the activities we had already finished or just playing. 

For the food, I had to stick with the theme. We had bananas because that is a minion's most favorite food. We had apples and grapes, because you can't have a minion in a fruit hat without them. There were minions in a blanket (pigs in a blanket) and minion grahams (which were conveniently sold at the store). Agnes's caterpillars were a big hit as (Cheetos puffs always are).

Of course I used minion words to name all of the food. This was not hard. You can Google minion language and there are tons of sites that have English words translated into minion words. 

And let's not forget the birthday cake. Yes, I did make it myself but before you make a sarcastic comment about all the time in the world. let me be clear...I teach first grade full time, have 3 kids, sell products on TeachersPayTeachers, and have a husband that is a football coach and is frequently gone. I am not a super hero or Wonder Woman...I just can't afford to spend $100 on a cake and to get the kind of cake I wanted that is what it would have costed.

Finally it was time to go. For party favors, I bought yellow, plastic cups (2 for $1) and filled them with party favors that I got in a set in the party section a Wal-Mart. There were 8 sets to a bag that cost $6.50. Total cost of these super cute favors was less that $1.50 each!!!  I painted the goggles on the cups to make them look like minions. Again, I realize now that I could have done the same things with white circular stickers or labels and black electrical tape. Really wish I had thought of that then. But I think they turned out pretty cute. To finish them off, I stuffed black tulle in the top to make it look like minion hair. The kids loved them, and they looked so cute displayed on our bookcase near the door. 

Of course I spent hours on Pinterest gathering ideas and inspiration! You can check out my Party Perfection board here to add to your ideas on your Minion birthday party, as well as countless more party themes. We had a great time! And people are still talking about the party 3 weeks later. I hope this helps you in planning your little Minions birthday party! From our minions to yours....

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pinterest Overload

To say I love Pinterest, would be an understatement. I love, love, love it! I have thousands upon thousands of Pins on hundreds of topics on many, many, many different boards. The problem is that.....I can't find anything now. My boards are pretty organized....Marvelous Main Meals, Appealing Appetizers, Divine Dresses, Orderly Organization (Can you tell I like alliterations?). However, there are some boards that represent a large category that (until very recently) served their purpose just the way they were.

However, recently I went to look for a cleaning tip that I had pinned, and I could not find it. I looked and looked and looked....finally after the third board and umpteen hundredth pin I found it. The problem is that I have multiple boards that any given pin can be pinned onto. For instance, this particular cleaning pin could have been pinned onto "Orderly Organization", "Making Things Easier", "Tricks and Tips", and several others.

My educational boards are so much worse. I have around 10 boards and hundreds of pins that could fit on several boards. This makes it very difficult to find things, and since I am getting ready for a new school year I need to be able to quickly access all of the fabulous ideas...right now that ain't happening. I am currently shifting through tons of pins with no clue where to start to look.

First thing I did was put all my boards with common themes together. My Sensational Sides with my Delectable Desserts and my Delicious Drinks. I put my board entitled Divine Design with Daughter Dwellings and Bodacious Bathrooms. And so it went for an hour or so. This helped me to see what I had and find things easier. It also helped to see what categories I wanted to keep and which ones I would delete. Warning: it was kind of a pain. The boards just don't seem to want to go where you want them to go....story of my life. It does help to zoom out a lot! Here is what it looked like when I was finished.

Anyways, after that I decided to start with all of my educational boards, since I have moved schools and grade levels. I am having to redo my classroom, my curriculum, my units, my discipline plan...everything. Did I mention that we also have to sell our house, To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement.

To start reorganizing and decluttering and reclassifying my boards, I visited several teachers on Pinterest that have a variety of boards. I check out how they organized their boards and the interesting way they named and classified them. Some that I love are:
Melissa Alonzo-Dillard
Suzy Brooks
Nicole Rios

So after visiting lots of Pinterest Peeps to see how they organized their stuff, I made a list of the areas I wanted to pin: Math, Reading, Classroom Management.... Then I separated the areas into categories: Math for Upper Grades and Math for Lower Grades, Management for Little Ones, and Management for Big Ones.... Then I made up cute little names because that is just ME!

As for the rest of it...and my Pinterest Overload....well I will have to stop pinning to get to organizing and that is awfully hard!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Adventure of a Lifetime....NOT

After an amazing Easter service with friends and family including the privilege of watching my oldest daughter get baptized, we head home for a delicious lunch and to finish packing for our trip to the beach. We were only getting a couple of days because I am having my wisdom teeth out on Wednesday (a completely different blog post, I am sure). So after pictures in the rain, a delicious meal, no egg hunt (due to the rain) and the loading of the cars with 3 adults, 5 kids, and 2 dogs, we were off to the beach and unknowingly The Adventure of a Lifetime....NOT! 
We begin our trip heading south into storms, but what did we care we were on the way to the beach. Even being at the beach in the rain is better than not being at the beach. I mean, everything is better at the beach....well almost everything. We hop on I-10 at Quincy Exit 174 and headed west. Before we got to the next exit at 166, we were in a traffic jam. Luckily it continued to move, be it at a snail's pace, and after about 6 miles and 30 minutes later we were out and moving. However, about 60 miles later we have to slam on brakes which causes all 3 kids and dog to be jolted awake after only falling asleep a few minutes before. At this point we are literally at a stand still. No one is moving. No one is going any where and no one is happy. Finally, we start to move a little. Alas, it is not because traffic is moving forward but because people are turning around to go back to the previous exit.

So we did the only thing we could do and turned around through the median too. Thankfully we had better luck than this guy. And thankfully we had GPS and 3 devices that had Google maps otherwise there would have been 3 adults, 5 kids, and two dogs stuck in what appeared to be Deliverance!
After a two and a half hour trip turned into a 4 hour trip and completely sane people turned into hysterically crying, screaming people (kids not adults) we arrive at the beach house. The beach house which was supposed to have been vacated by the winter tenant that morning. The beach house which was supposed to have been cleaned by said tenant. The beach house which as we walked in with our 3 adults, 5 kids, and two dogs we realized was completely trashed because the lady had not only stayed the winter but had apparently moved everything she owned into the house including a 42 inch flat screen, every item of clothing she owned, a safe, plants, trunks, and even her own shower curtain! Most of her stuff was still there and the house was completely disgusting. There were literal dirt piles in the floor and stains on the carpet. It was sooooooo gross!

We quickly exited the premises and shoved extremely confused children and dogs back into the car where they had been trapped for the last 4 hours. We decide to get something to eat and figure out what to do. Do we get a hotel? Do we bunk with family members (that we don't know in another house)? Do we go back and take the woman out so that she sleeps with the fishes....the dead ones? 
Alas, there is no luck there either. The first 3 places we go to are closed, the next has been apparently invaded by frat boys, the next was closed, and finally, finally we find an open restaurant, "Killas Pizza". (That is the name. I promise I couldn't even make that up). My husband deemed it appropriate since we were all close to killin' someone! We unload all 3 adults and 5 kids and head in. Killas Pizza, aka Johnny McTighe's Irish Pub, is apparently dedicated to all of the cops that had been killed by killas or something because there were frames all around the place of old cop uniforms...even one with what appeared a bikers pony tail attached to it. However strange the decor was the pizza was without a doubt a killa because it sure nuff killed my taste buds with deliciousness! 
So we suck it up and decided to call the Water Color Inn and fork out a ridiculous amount of money for one night for a place with which to rest the 3 adults, 5 kids, and 2 dogs. Of course we never would have done this if my sister had not discovered my mother's credit card in her wallet. (Side Note to Judy: Why does she have your credit card? I would like a credit card. What am I chopped liver?) Any who....even the realization of unlimited funds does not change our luck because it is apparently Spring Break '13 Baby and Easter and there are no vacancies any where!

We decided to suck it up and go head back to the scene of the crime via the house next door with the distant relatives that we don't know. Luckily, they are out to eat when we roll up in there with our 3 adults, 5 kids, and 2 dogs. However, the crazy tenant is not. My husband takes it like a man and goes over to see what is going on. She says that she doesn't know when she will have everything out or get it cleaned and could he please help her move her large flat screen t.v. and safe. Needless to say, he declined and just walked away shaking his head. 
By this time, we are all set to stay with the relatives that we don't know when reality hits and we realize that even if she is out tomorrow the house won't be clean and we will have to spend all day cleaning it with 5 kids and 2 dogs running around and crying because we are not down at the beach. So we make a very hard but very smart decision....we load up the 3 adults, 5 kids, and 2 dogs back in the cars and we head home with promises of fun tomorrow including bubbles, water, Fun Station Jr., movies and more. 
We arrive back at around 1, unloaded the 3 adults, 5 kids, and 2 dogs along with all the paraphernalia that comes with it, climbed in the bed and try to forget the last 12 hours. 

The Adventure of a Lifetime it was NOT! Smartest decision ever, it was! The next day it was cold and rainy at the beach but hot and sunny in our backyard, where we had so much fun!