Category Archives: Kids and Family Parties

FREE printable: Thanksgiving Activity Place mat for kids and adults.

I decided to make these for our girls and decided to share it on here. Basically it’s set to be printed on “legal” size paper and you’re done. Kids will write things they are thankful for in the turkey’s feathers and then draw a picture of everyone together for the holiday. This might be something you give kids to do while you finish getting dinner ready and then they can read what they are thankful… the adults might want to join in as well.

You can also keep these year after year, to be able to look back on what everyone was thankful for years past. If you make them ahead of time, a day or two as a side activity with the kids, you can laminate them before Thanksgiving dinner and everyone can read theirs. Don’t forget to add the date if you plan on keeping them! I left the date out on them so they can be saved and used year after year and be compared later on. 🙂

Click on the image, right click it and save. Feel free to share it, pin it, fwd it.

Thanksgiving Activity Place mat for kids. More family activities at www.abettermedaybyday

Thanksgiving Activity Leaves place mat. More family activities at Thanksgiving Activity Place mat print out. More family activities at

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Filed under children, Family, Family Fun, FREE Printables, Kids and Family Parties, Life, Parties & Get-togethers, Trying to Balance

Our Ellie’s 8th Birthday Luau - 8th Birthday Luau - fruit -spam - cheese - drinks

We had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate our youngest daughter’s birthday over the first weekend in August. Since we have been spending so much time out-of-town… planning for this was certainly NOT easy. Anyone who knows me, knows I’M A PLANNER. My girls’ birthdays USED to be planned out a year in advance. Well, when you’re not even home long enough to think, you quickly learn to improvise. - 8th Birthday Luau - ice cream - fresh strawberry and pineapple sauces - cake - inflatables

Thankfully, she was on board with having a Hawaiian Luau this year. We had brought some Hawaiian chocolates which she was SUPER excited to give to her friends as favors… so they could try them too, we had found the Hawaiian radio station we got used to listening to on IHeart and would be able to have to on in the background… that way her friends could feel like they were on the islands. We got lots of fruit, spam and cheese, pulled pork, rice, corn on the cob, chips, and even pickled mango. We tried to bring a lot of what you would typically find at a “locals” party…. based on our experience and going to some of friends get together or long days at the beach with friends, local to the state.

I had fruit punch with strawberries in it or a pineapple/sprite mix with pineapple chunks in it as the main drink options. And, I prepared a - 8th Birthday Luau - food displays - jello - flowers - balloons - outdoorsSince we had just gotten back from one of our trips and I had literally one day to put it all together, I did not want to be stressing it, so I got a great cake from Costco. It worked out wonderfully. I love their cakes because they are very inexpensive… specially for their size cakes, and they really to taste great. What’s not to love? fresh strawberry sauce and fresh pineapple sauce for the ice cream (this turned out to be REALLY good with the cake as well!)

With such little time to put this together, I focused on details that I knew would bring the “atmosphere” together… and at least to US say: HAWAII. Lots of flowers, a few decorations, sunshine, and “surfboard” inflatables the kids got to play with in the pool and I just used lots of balloons out side to make it festive. The most expensive was all the food, which I didn’t mind because I wanted our guest to try some (hopefully) yummy stuff they might consider having themselves from now on.

Since we were out-of-town, the “invite” was sent out electronically and with just about a week notice, so I knew it was going to be tough for people to make it, as we understand folks make plans for their families, etc. But our daughter had a wonderful time with those who were able to make it and we’re hoping they did too.

Positively Gigi-3

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Filed under children, Family, Kids and Family Parties, Parties & Get-togethers

“My Favorite Things” Birthday party!

This was my daughter anxiously waiting for her guests!

With the new year coming up, I wanted to talk to you about birthday parties. I normally plan my kids parties the year before. The girls are used to that, because as with almost everything else we do, it’s just the way its always been. Since I need to stay within a budget, I need to have PLENTY of time to shop after season sales, clearance sales, and whatever other sales I can find. Not to mention have time to “MAKE” whatever will need to be made -whether for financial reasons (versus paying retail costs) or because its something we can’t easily find.

This was the sweets buffet I set up for her. I made the drawing on the board with some of her favorite cartoon characters. The buffet included some of HER favorite sweets… all sorts of candies, and lets not forget the meringues, and powder sugar covered doughnuts.

For my youngest daughter’s 5th birthday, two years ago, she just could not decide what she wanted the theme for her party to be. She wanted to have Strawberry Shortcake, Mickey Mouse, Hannah Montana, Barbie, and an array of other things. We normally set the theme and then I can shop items on sale that either relate to it or I can at least make work. (For example, when she had a Strawberry Shortcake party the year before that, we shopped after Christmas sales for red or green items we could use, then we got some more awesome deals after Valentines with all the pinks, reds, and green… not to mention cupcakes, heart, and other cute motives like that, and then we got some stuff one sale after Easter, again. trying to figure out ways to tie it to the

Table in foyer. Welcomed guests with goody boxes, party hats, and silly string!

them we were working with. It turned out great, and totally on a budget!) Anyway, for her 5th birthday she was having a terrible time picking “A” theme… and then it just dawned on me… I asked her if she would like to have a “MY FAVORITE THINGS” birthday party and she LOVED the idea. It was almost a relief for her it seemed, the kid was HAPPY! And, to be honest, I thought it was the greatest thing ever because I automatically thought about how awesome it would be to be able to have SO many options to chose from!

I usually have cotton candy baggies for the kids (and some of the parents who now almost expect it themselves! 🙂 I also made a bouquet of flowers to set on a table that I thought needed something more.s to choose from when looking for stuff on clearance or sale. I would not be stuck to just making "A" theme work. I would be able to get SSC, Mickey, Hannah, Dora, Barbie, whatever if it was at a great discounted price! I was happy too!

We started things off by making it all VERY colorful, the girls likes colors! Then we started to gather stuff from her favorite cartoon characters and such. When they came in, the table at the entrance was set up with some goody boxes for each, filled with little things I had purchased on sale of course. There were also party hats for each child, and a can of silly string for each one as well (from the dollar store). For activities, we kept it simple with things SHE normally likes to do… like DRESS UP! And I made Tutus for each girl, and each got a set of

The Birthday Girl's name banner. I made it as a tutu and hung some shapes where I added her name in puff paint. She used it after the party was done to play with, I made it to fit her.

dress up gloves, a wand, and a hair band I dressed up with a rose for each (to match the tutu they were getting). Since there were going to be boys there, we got a stick horse (from the dollar store), a stick on mustache (on sale from the “Cinco de Mayo” section at a party store), and a dress up sheriff vest I had found on SUPER clearance, for each of them.

The food had to be her favorite too, and at that time, she went with chicken nuggets and fries! Drinks were
Capri Sun pouches.

There were chips, chocolates, chocolate covered marshmallows, candy pops, and

other stuff like that. Instead of a cake, we went with cupcakes… I LOVE cupcakes! I topped them all with bright yellow buttercream and garnished them with either a balloon pick, or an edible chocolate tiara pick I made and finished them off with pretty glittery purple and pink sugar crystals. 

As its customary at my place, the kids came and automatically took off to play with all the stuff.. and half way into the party the silly string came out. They ended up having the fun INSIDE, and I can tell you it was a pain to clean up… we kept finding more all over picture frames, over furniture, between the entertainment unit, just

I made these candy melts lollipops for her!

EVERYWHERE, but it was SOOOO worth it!

This has been by far one of my favorite of our parties, and both girls remember it well. In fact, my oldest told me a few months ago when we were talking about planning for next year that she wants to have a “My Favorite Things” party for 2012!

My daughter having fun getting my dad with some silly string!

SO excited, I can’t even tell you! 😀

Anyway, I hope maybe this has given you some ideas for a future party, it works well with creativity, budget, and incorporates everything the kid is into at this particular time, which makes it an AWESOME way to chronicle to keep for later! We will always remember what she was into when she was 5… down to her favorite candies, munchies, food, etc. I LOVE IT! This DEFINITIVELY WORKS FOR US!

My daughter at the end of her party... she was SO excited and happy with all the fun she shared with her friends! It was a GREAT day! 🙂

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