Archive for the ‘Crafts & Celebrations’ Category

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

I am madly in love with blanket scarves. My obsession started as all good obsessions do. It began on Pinterest. All of these fabulously fashionable women were rocking these gorgeous scarves, but they were out of my price range or lacked the fullness & beauty that was captured online. I decided I wanted to make some for my minimalist wardrobe because it would add so much. Did you know you can make a blanket scarf with no sewing skills required?

Let’s begin by taking a peek at the coveted $44 Zara scarf (that sells out in minutes, not kidding).  I want to zoom on in it so we can take a closer look.

Zara Blanket Scarf

The thing I want you to see is that the edges are frayed on their version too. Guess what? You can achieve that with a little flannel and pulling. The best part is that this version will cost you quite a bit less than $44. I am going to make a big stack of them to show you and then I am going to show you some fun ways to tie them.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

The first thing you will need to do is shop for your fabric which is so much fun. I went to a few shops to check out fabric and ended up finding it at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Head over here (a great coupon affiliate of mine!) and check to see if flannel fabrics are on sale. If not, that same link will provide you a 40% off coupon. You will DEFINITELY want to use this because it makes these scarves budget-friendly. Don’t forget your coupons.

Head over the Fashion Flannel…at least that’s what they call it in Mishawaka (oh-la-la!). Select your favorite patterns,tell them the amount you need, have them tell you they don’t have that much on a bolt, go grab another one, try again… Be annoyed. Decide to do two sizes because you want you what you want, that’s why you brought it up there. Got it?

I am going to show you what a 2 yard scarf looks like and then I am going to show you what a 2.5 yard scarf looks like below. I love them both for different reasons and what you can do with them. The price (with no sales or coupons) is $8.99 per yard. That’s why it is great to see the two version (for cost-savings) and also really great to bring a coupon to save a bit on the fabric.

I wouldn’t recommend anything more than that or your scarf will choke you and you will die from scarf blanket suffocation. It will be all over the headlines. They will be laughing at you in those ridiculous segments on the radio where they try to shock you at the stupidity of Americans.  Your family will miss you. It would all be very tragic.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

1. Purchase 2-2.5 yards of flannel fabric.

2. Using the patterned flannel edge as a guide, trim the edges of each side of your scarf.

3. Grab the loose threads on the side and pull them down gently, fraying the edges of the scarf. Keep doing this until there are no loose threads and you have a beautifully frayed edge. Repeat on each side of the scarf. DONE!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

This is what TWO YARDS of fabric looks like. You can see that it has a lot of fullness, but is not as long or as much to tie or knot around. Do you want to see how to tie it to look like this? Okay then.

How to Tie a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Tie Your Two Yard Blanket Scarf

1. Fold the scarf in half, lining the edges up evenly.

2. Make sure one end is shorter than the other and tuck it up over your shoulder.

3. Loop around once with the long end (or possibly twice depending on your neck size!).

4. Fluff and puff. Fluff and puff.

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How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

Here is the same size, just not puffed up so much. Seriously, cute stuff!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Tie Your 2.5 Yard Blanket Scarf

No need to reinvent the wheel…I just headed online to figure out a couple of fun ways to tie these longer blanket scarves. I tried this braided technique on Classy Sassy and really loved it. It is a little more complex than the one above, but it adds a beautiful detail to the styling.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

This half-tied technique couldn’t be easier and was a cinch to pull together and added just the right amount of fullness to the neckline.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

Here are a few other blanket scarf techniques I am looking forward to trying!

This one is similar to the half-tied technique, but no tying, just tucking. I can do that!

This chunky scarf technique would work really well with a 2-yard scarf so you could let the ends hang.

The 2.5-yard one would look great as a poncho or even pulled together with a belt.

This poncho style leaves the scarf folded making a smaller poncho version.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

I’m Petite & Want to Make a Smaller Version- What Can I Do?

I’m pretty petite, but I know big scarves aren’t for everyone!  Shave 6-7 inches off the width on a 2 yard version to make a more petite version of this scarf with a little less bulk or experiment with your own sizing by creating your own custom version. Just cut, try on, adjust. There are no wrong or right lengths- it is what fits YOU or your recipient best!

I hope you have a blast making these quick scarves for yourself or for holiday gift-giving. Check out this list of 54 handmade gifts you can make for the holiday season to inspire you even more! Happy crafting!

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Host a Friendsgiving Feast

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

This post is sponsored by Walmart AND ALL PROCEEDS WERE DONATED.

I feel like such a lucky mom to have so many incredible women in my life. Most of these friendships started when I was a new mom still trying to figure out the ropes of motherhood.  Now my kids are growing up, but I need them as much as I did in the early days. Unfortunately, our schedules have all become so crazy that it becomes nearly impossible to get our group together anymore. I decided a few weeks ago that I really wanted to see them all before the holidays took over and we all began to hibernate for the Indiana winter. I invited them to my home for my first annual Friendsgiving feast to share in a meal together before the holidays and I couldn’t wait to share about it with you.

Let me disclose by saying that I wanted to make this as easy on myself as possible and, if you are considering hosting a feast of your own, I would advise you do the same. I wanted to do it on budget, make it as effortless as possible, and I wanted the cooking to be easy too.

Here is how I executed the world’s easiest Friendsgiving Feast and helped give to our community in the process.

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

Create a Facebook Event (And Get Positive Responses)

Like I said, my friends are crazy busy and getting our group together is nearly impossible. Instead of setting up an event and shooting blindly in the dark for a date or receiving a million responses and being responsible for sorting people/dates, I utilize Doodle to schedule get togethers. Simply plug in the dates and times that will work for you and send out the link to the scheduling tool for each person to vote for the days that work best for them. Once you receive the responses you can set the date for the one that received the most positive response.

Once you have the date, it couldn’t be easier to invite your friends especially since everyone (at least in my group) is on Facebook. I just put up an event and asked that everyone respond there. It was easy to create, to monitor, and gave me an accurate headcount for making food purchases. Make sure that you set the privacy to, “Invite Only” for viewing otherwise everyone who is a friend can see a response (and might not be included- ouch!) I admit, the only time I wish I had a bigger house is when I host events like this. Believe me, Invite Only for viewers is the way to go.

Herb Roasted Turkey

You Supply the Turkey, They Supply the Fixins’

Last year I hosted my family for Thanksgiving all while photographing each and every dish for the site. This year I wanted to take an easier approach so I offered to supply the turkey, gravy, and stuffing, but requested that each person bring their own dish and a bottle of wine to share. To make sure all the categories were filled, I utilized Jooners to create a sign-up sheet for dishes. Be sure to specify what you need under the, “Needed,” box. That is where I asked for side dishes, desserts, bread, and appetizers. This will help you have a well-rounded feast and since everyone can fill in the dish they are bringing, it  helps cut down on anyone bringing the same dish.

Not only did I do store-bought stuffing and gravy, I purchased turkey breasts (here is my favorite method of preparation) instead of dealing with the bones and carving. It killed me a little bit to do this when I know I could do so much more, but this also helped me to truly enjoy the evening with my friends and allowed me to not worry about laboring over dishes and missing out on all the fun together. Not to mention the cost factor that I saved on by having everyone help me with dishes and drinks.

Decorate Store Bought Pies

Of course, there is always our make-ahead feast that gets you out of the kitchen that day altogether!  Here are my make-ahead mashed potatoes, make-ahead fresh green bean casserole, make-ahead gravy, make-ahead stuffing, make-ahead cranberry sauce, make-ahead appetizers, make-ahead rolls, make-ahead pie crust, and even some great make-ahead ways to dress up a store-bought pie… just to name a few!

Knitted Leaves Centerpiece

Invest in Smart Party Supplies That You Use Over & Over Again

Over the years we have hosted so many gatherings that I have accumulated an arsenal of tools so that I can pull a get together at a moment’s notice.  I honestly didn’t buy a thing other than disposable cups for our get together, but that is because I have invested over the years and I try to create handmade items that can double as centerpieces if I don’t have time to run out and purchase fresh flowers.

The things that I have used the most over the years:

Centerfold Table- I bought this three years ago and I use it at least three times a year. It has a handle on it and folds down the center making it easy to pack up and take it if you need to and also making it easy to store when you don’t.  I purchased this tablecloth (you can see it here in a game day party I did awhile back) because it was stain-resistant.  To save on time ironing, I just wash it and then spread it on the table the night before since it is so lightweight and dries quickly without even going through the dryer. It helps cut down on wasting time ironing and is wrinkle-free in the morning.

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Elegant Plastic Dishes- Elegance and plastic might not seem like they go together, but plastic dishes have come a long way. I hosted a shed-warming party (totally a thing!) this summer and since we had so many guests coming, I decided to buy twenty of these dishes. If you go to Walmart, you can purchase the plates individually, which is exactly what I did.  Unfortunately (but then fortunately), they didn’t have enough in a single style so I ended up getting three different styles which adds a bit of fun to the dinner table. I love that these are lightweight and can be reused over and over again.

DIY Bar Cart

Bar Cart- This summer I transformed a tool cart into a bar cart and it is truly one of my favorite entertaining tools. Since we live in a small home (which we are very committed to) we don’t have a lot of counters or surfaces to use for putting out drinks and food. My bar cart resides in my shed, but I wheel it in when I am entertaining and it offers a fun place to tuck bottles of wine and glasses.

Inexpensive Silverware- I actually hit our local restaurant supply store for inexpensive silverware that reminds me of some of my favorite diners. There is never a shortage of forks, spoons, or knives at our home.

Decor That Can Be Used Over & Over Again- I love to craft and in the back of my mind, I am always thinking how I can weave these items into our seasonal decorating especially when it comes to the holidays. For our Friendsgiving feast my Knitted Leaf Centerpiece was perfect for my table (and is on display year-round in my craft room). This winter the table will be adorned with these Yarn Pom Pom Trees that I made. Think of creating something that you can get out every year and that can save you money when entertaining.

Friendsgiving

REALLY Make it a FriendsGIVING

I have some truly generous friends so I called upon them to assist me with giving back to our community.  First, I asked each of them to take a moment to clear out their pantries so that we could make a donation to my church’s food pantry. Right before the holidays is a great time to clear some space and make room for all of those items you will need to tackle your holiday baking and dishes.

The shelter that I have helped in the past where we achieved our MomAdvice Big Give, the Elkhart Faith Mission, is a charity that I love to support. Longtime readers may recall the MomAdvice Big Give we executed with them. Here is a little throwback footage for you.

It costs a mere $.1.79 to give a Thanksgiving meal to one person at the shelter. I left an envelope out and asked if anyone felt like giving that they could donate as little as two bucks to give someone something to look forward to for the holidays.

Consider making a true FriendsGIVING experience and find a scraps of life way to give back or gather together to make care packages for the homeless.

Faith Mission of Elkhart

Each year I like to dedicate one post from Walmart to those in need and today’s post is for the families heading to Faith Mission that need a holiday dinner to look forward to.  

I understand that sponsored posts aren’t always the favorite posts here, but the proceeds from this post today and the donations I collected fed 187 PEOPLE a Thanksgiving meal and many of our posts this year gave a community of  people clean water this year.  How cool is that? Please support our sponsors because they do help many- perhaps, more than you realize! 

I hope my Friendsgiving inspires you to give back to your community and to throw a get together with your own amazing friends!

Have you ever hosted a Friendsgiving? Any tips or tricks you would like to share!

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Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

As part of the BHG Live Better Network, I am partnering with them this month to showcase a beautiful way to entertain for the holidays utilizing products from BHG that are available at Walmart.  Have you seen the woodland creatures line of dishes? Swoon- I am IN LOVE. These items are over in the seasonal display section of your store.  As someone who couldn’t be fonder of foxes or owls, I was so excited to see these beautiful dishes at the store and most of these items are under $3 each- what a fun way to dress up your table.

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

I used my basic white dishes as I do for every holiday and keep things economical by adding a fun design to my salad plates for the holidays each year. These owl plates are so sweet and add a little pop of color to my table. A natural table runner like this one helps add texture to my table and I used owl mugs to hold our forks and spoons for our dinner. The foxy salt and pepper shakers add a little woodland whimsy to round out the table.

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas I used driftwood log cuts from our craft store to add different dimensions to the table, added a jar of branches from our backyard, and then added my DIY thumbtack pumpkins to finish the table.

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

Crisp napkins made of stain resistant fabric are always top on my holiday shopping list for replacing each year. I found these over in the clearance section priced at a mere $1 each. I bought a package of rosemary, which adds a beautiful fragrance and a touch of green to the table, and clipped it with our free printable, “give thanks,” napkin tag and a mini clothespin.

You could also tie these napkins with a little jute twine and then clip the rosemary and, “gather together,” napkin tags to them, placing these on top of your owl plates. Print out all one variety of tag or use them both, alternating them at the place settings.

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

Even with my burlap runner, this entire table setting (minus my white dishes) costs just a little over $30 for everything. I love an affordable touch and really love these trendy pieces that BHG is offering this year for the Thanksgiving table. These would also be adorable for a kid’s table for the holidays!

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

We also have these beautiful woodland printables that you can print and hang in your kitchen or foyer to welcome your guests to match with the rest of our beautiful printable offerings this year! To help your guest feel warmly welcomed, my amazing designer & contributor, Sarah Milne with sarah m style, has created these amazing printables that you can share with your guests for Thanksgiving Day.

Grab Your FREE Woodland Creature Printables:

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

DOWNLOAD HERE

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

DOWNLOAD HERE

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

DOWNLOAD HERE

Free Woodland Thanksgiving Printables & Decor Ideas

DOWNLOAD HERE

Catch up on my other projects with BHG at Walmart:

Make a Guest Room Welcome Basket (Free Guest Room Printables)

BHG Live Better Style Showcase

BHG Live Better Network

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG at Walmart for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

Fun New Ways to Dress Up Boots For Fall

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Fun New Ways to Dress Up Boots For Fall

As soon as the temperatures start dipping, I know it is almost my favorite footwear season… boot season, friends!  There is nothing cozier than a warm pair of boots and this season, embellished boots and boot toppers are all the rage for making your boots feel fresh again. Whether you score your boots at Goodwill or if you find the perfect pair elsewhere, I have some fun and creative ideas for making a tired pair of boots feel like new again with these 7 tutorials for fun ways to dress up your boots.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to gather some fun new ways to dress up your boots!

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DIY Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkins

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

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I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new ways to decorate the holiday table that are festive while staying easy on the budget. The gold trend has really been catching my eye this year so I wanted to create something beautiful and gold that anyone can do, no matter what your craft level. Today’s tutorial is for a decorative thumbtack pumpkin that requires just two items for a fun and festive touch to your table.

Head on over to the Kenmore Blog to learn how to make these easy ZERO CRAFTING SKILLS REQUIRED DIY Gold Thumbtack Pumpkins!

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DIY Fitbit Bracelet Tutorial

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

DIY Fitbit Bracelet Tutorial from MomAdvice.com.

This month I bought myself a Fitbit Flex and I have been absolutely loving it for exercise motivation, tracking my sleep, and its handy silent alarm feature. I did not, in fact, love the plastic bracelet that the Fitbit Flex came in. A plastic bracelet doesn’t really fit with my style and I didn’t want to wear it when I went out. Today’s tutorial is a fun way to dress-up your Fitbit with a stylish leather cuff alternative. This DIY Fitbit bracelet is beautiful and can be created for less than $10 and is done in just 5 easy steps.

I cannot take the credit for this amazing tutorial. My sweet friend, Andy,  let me come to her house and photograph how she made this for my blog. She was the genius behind this awesome idea and I can attest to both its durability and how well the Fitbit slides and hides inside this cuff. Although this is created for times when you are not working out, I did test it in my cardio dance class to make sure that it would stay secure. After one hour of jumping and dancing, the Fitbit was happily secure. I would still recommend sticking with your plastic bracelet for workouts, as it is more breathable, but this should stay secure if you use it in your daily activities.

DISCLAIMER:

You need to test your own bracelet to make sure that it is secure and that your Fitbit stays inside. I am not responsible for a lost Fitbit if you create this and it is not crafted securely. It is your responsibility to make sure that your Fitbit is securely fastened.

DIY Fitbit Bracelet Tutorial from MomAdvice.com.

Supplies Needed

Leather Cuff Bracelet (found at Hobby Lobby for $5.99 in the jewelry supplies)

Hemp Cord

Brown Embroidery Thread

Embroidery Needle

Scissors

Brown T-Shirt (old or thrift store purchase would be perfect for this!)

DIY Fitbit Bracelet Tutorial from MomAdvice.com.

1. Thread your hemp cord through an embroidery needle and use this to create a design in the holes of your choosing. You can ladder it up, as we have shown, or even just sew it back and forth to create your design.  You can also add beautiful details with crimp beads to your design. Continue weaving the hemp cord until you are at the end of the bracelet.

DIY Fitbit Bracelet Tutorial from MomAdvice.com.

2. Once you are finished with your design, knot it on the back and then weave the end in so it is no longer loose.

3. Next cut your shirt sleeve with the hem still intact to create a fast pocket for your Fitbit. You want this to be longer than your Fitbit so that it can slide securely towards the back of the pocket, as pictured above.

4. Using embroidery thread, stitch the pocket securely down the hemmed side with embroidery thread and securing one end to close it, leaving that others side open to slip in the Fitbit. If you want double security on this, you can attach a little velcro on this open end to close your pocket and to make sure that the Fitbit does not come loose. 

DIY Fitbit Bracelet Tutorial from MomAdvice.com.

5. Finish by knotting and securing the end of the embroidery thread, reinforcing and feeding it through one of the ends of one of the hemp stitches for double-security.

DIY Fitbit Bracelet Tutorial from MomAdvice.com.

I hope you love this fashionable DIY Fitbit Leather Cuff Bracelet as much as I do. I get so many compliments on it and no one can believe that this beauty is handmade and housing my Fitbit. This goes so well with my personal style and you can make it all your own with your own fun details. A big thank you again to Andy for sharing her fabulous tutorial with MomAdvice. Happy crafting, friends!

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Some people lean towards the spooky decorating for Halloween. This girl leans towards a more classic look from dressing up my front door for the season to the small nod to autumn through our home decor. I have loved our knitted leaf centerpiece so much that I thought it would be fun to add some knitted pumpkins to the mix this year. Since Walmart challenged me to take on a Halloween craft, I thought it would be the perfect time to try something new. Not only are these a knitted stuffed item (something new for me), but they are also felted.

Before you run away, I was SO scared of felting that I have thought about felting for years and never tried it. Seriously, folks, could NOT be easier.

This project is super fast to create and will get lots of love in your home as a fun addition to a bookcase, a cute centerpiece for a Halloween party, or could even make a place card holder for the Thanksgiving table.

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Supplies List

4- US Size 11 double pointed needles (I prefer bamboo for their gripping ability in this project)

4- US Size 6 double pointed needles

Natural Fiber Yarn (any color) that will shrink (Walmart offers this inexpensive option for wool)

Poly-fill Stuffing (something like this)

Free Miniature Felted Pumpkin Pattern FOR FREE HERE

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Skills Needed to Tackle This Project

You need to be able to knit in the round- This is much easier than knitting a hat and can teach you how to increase and decrease your stitches.  If you have never knitted in the round before, check out this picture tutorial that I created to help you navigate the tricky terrain of 4 needles.  You will need to be able to knit both the body and the stem in the round. I actually find the stem to be more difficult due to its size.

You need to be able to i-cord- The first time I i-corded, I was like…”That’s it?” Seriously, it sounds complex, but it is just moving your stitches back and forth on a double-pointed needle. This is a fantastic video tutorial if you are trying to get the hang of it.

You need to be able to felt- Again, this one was a new one for me, but the pattern I shared offers some great tips for felting. I will note below how I did this in my front-loader.

 

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Words from a First-Time Felter

As you can see, wool shrinks up beautifully. I wanted to still have a little bit of stitching showing, but you can continue to shrink your piece if you want it to be completely smooth. For these pumpkins, I knitted them loosely (advice given by my wise knitting pal, Deb) so that the stitches would shrink well. For my front-loader, I placed these in the washing machine with two pairs of my jeans to help create agitation and friction on the yarn. I used the Whitest White cycle (which is the hottest cycle on my machine) and let the machine decide the level of water.  For detergent, I just used a small amount of Woolite (or you can use Eucalan Woolwash). To replicate this, I just ran the cycle for ten minutes and then hit cancel.  I then ran a spin & drain cycle just for a few minutes to get rid of the excess water and then stuffed my pumpkins while they were still damp.

You can read more about felting in the pattern above.

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

 

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Aren’t they adorable? Feel free to friend me on Ravelry and visit the Knitting section of our site for more cute yarn-lovin’ projects!

 

Looking for more great Halloween ideas? Check out my Knitted Princess Leia Hat, fun ideas for DIY Halloween Costumes, paint up some Chalkboard Pumpkin People, make pumpkins out of duct tape, throw some pumpkin chili in your slow cooker on Halloween night, and whip up some glow-in-the-dark JELL-O for dessert!  Happiest of Halloweens, friends!

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5 Tips for Party Planning with Kids

Monday, October 13th, 2014

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

5 Tips for Party Planning with Kids - Mom Advice

My six-year-old will turn seven in just a few weeks, which for our family means a party. My mom told me yesterday that Annalyn had reminded her of pending celebration and said, “I need to get busy and make some lists!”

Hello, apple. I’m your tree.

It’s true that my daughter gets her penchant for list-making and party planning from me. Some of that may come along with her curly hair and short legs, but most of it is likely a learned behavior. The fact is that I love planning events, and as my daughter has grown, I’ve shared that love with her.

When I planned her first few birthday parties, I handled every little detail – just like I have for every other event I’ve planned. From theme to food to decorations, I took care of all of it. But when I began dreaming of her fourth birthday party – a Mickey Mouse themed bash at our houseI decided to let her help.

Since then, my little mini me has jumped on every chance to help me plan a party, from birthdays and holidays to fundraisers and church events. She gets so excited, and it’s been a fun way to share something special. Today I’ve got a few tips for making party planning a family affair at your house – without losing your cool (or ending up with an all-candy buffet and buckets of glitter on your floor).

5 Tips for Party Planning with Kids - Mom Advice

5 Tips for Party Planning with Kids

1. Be prepared for brainstorming.

It can be a lot of fun to dream up ideas for your next party with your kids. But – what’s that phrase? Don’t give the keys to the zoo to the monkeys? (No, no, YOUR kids aren’t monkeys. Just mine.) Seriously, though. Unless you are truly 100% okay with your party taking any shape your kids can imagine, I’d recommend having a framework in mind before sitting down to brainstorm with your children.

Anyone can get overwhelmed or out of control when faced with too many options – and that rings even more true with children. I’ve learned the hard way to do my Pinterest surfing in advance, to narrow down the options and filter out the crazy (too expensive, too difficult, not age appropriate, etc.) ideas before bringing Annalyn into the mix. Now, I talk with her about ideas for a theme (if it’s her birthday party), then create a Pinterest board for us to look at together.

Not only does this keep her options limited and manageable, it also makes sure we don’t land on less-than-family-friendly pins and pages by accident while searching. (Believe it or not, searching for Minnie Mouse costumes with my four-year-old on my lap taught me that lesson!)

5 Tips for Party Planning with Kids - Mom Advice

2. Take the guesswork out of your guest list.

Left to her own devices, my daughter would invite every girl she’s ever met to her next birthday party. Telling her she was only allowed to invite seven girls took the wind out of her sails and began a weeks-long deliberation.

Unless your budget is unlimited, you might have to cap the number of invitations you send, too – and I’m learning that elementary school adds a whole new level of complication to this process. When we started talking about this year’s party, I didn’t realize the politics involved – and the life lessons that would come out of these conversations. After all, if you can’t invite every girl you know, choosing who to invite can be hard. Making these decision together has given me the opportunity to discuss friendship and fairness with my daughter – as well as financial responsibility. (Because yes, of COURSE inviting all 22 girls on her first list would be easier!)

3. Ask for input about the agenda.

Much as I like to think I’m hip to what the kids are loving these days, I don’t actually have a clue. So while I think musical chairs and carrot sticks in the backyard is a perfect plan for a sixth birthday party, it turns out my actual six-year-old (hypothetically speaking, of course) might prefer Goldfish and swimming at the community center.

Likewise, when planning a family event or other party that’s not necessarily celebrating your child, he or she might have the creativity you’re looking for. (Playing charades at the family reunion? Serving pizza at the committee meeting? Making a welcome banner for small group or book club? Why not?!)

5 Tips for Party Planning with Kids - Mom Advice

4. Cook up some fun with your menu and decor.

Keeping it simple is the key to every part of planning a party. But when you bring kids into the planning, you might just find your event looks a little more whimsical than you originally imagined. That might mean streamers in every color of the rainbow or balloons covering the floor instead of floating in bunches around the table. It could mean a build your own waffle bar or a pitcher of chocolate milk next to the fancy tea party china. Or it could mean pizza delivered to your door instead of the Pinterest-inspired three-course meal you’d envisioned.

Or, if you aren’t smart enough to curate a Pinterest board before your brainstorming session, it could mean you find yourself making an ocean-themed cake for a mermaid party – despite your annual vows to Never Make a Birthday Cake Again.

5. Put them to work!

When I was a kid, my parents often teased my brother and me by saying the only reason they had kids was to have someone to do chores. Now that I have my own home to manage, I’m not sure there wasn’t a bit of truth to that! But even more than lightening my load of work before and after a party (which may or may not happen, depending on the task and her age and ability), working side by side with my daughter as we prep for a party gives us one more opportunity to spend time together and teaches her the skills of cooking, decorating or cleaning. It also helps her understand just how much work goes into a fun afternoon or evening!

Special Offer: If you’d like more tips for planning parties – with or without kids – I’d like to offer a discount for my ebook, Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind}. Just use the code MOMADVICE for 50% off the regular price!

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Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I am so excited to be sharing another tutorial for how to make a burlap wreath today! I can’t begin to tell you how happy this wreath has made me on our new front door. The pop of orange is just what our door needed for the holidays and this wreath is perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I created this beauty for Kenmore and have had to wait an entire month to share this project with you. If you haven’t made a burlap wreath before, this tutorial is for you. It outlines step-by-step how to recreate this wreath in my picture tutorial.

Head on over to the Kenmore Blog today to find this EASY and no-crafting-skills required  craft for decorating your door with a handmade autumn burlap wreath for the upcoming holiday season!

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7 Ways to Upcycle a Coat Into Something You Really Love

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

7 Ways to Upcycle a Coat Into Something You Really Love from MomAdvice.com

With the fall temperatures upon us, it is time to start thinking about an extra outer layer to help keep us warm for these cooler Midwest temperatures. Jackets can be an expensive investment and finding one that is the perfect cut and style can sometimes be difficult especially with everyone’s unique sizing and build. Today’s tutorial offers some fun ideas for refashioning a Goodwill jacket into something you really love.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to find 7 ways to upcycle a coat into something you really love!

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