Friday, April 27, 2012

Bowling birthday banner....

It's a Bowling Birthday Banner!!! Such use of alliteration. My 7th grade English teacher would be so proud!

My good friend, Angie, brought me some felt this week out of the kindness of her heart and I was super excited that it was the exact same colors and ribbon that I used for Jansen's cupcake stand a couple of weeks ago.

Jansen is super opinionated and has definite ideas on what he wants at his party. One of those things was a bowling birthday banner. Because the party is at the bowling alley and we can't use any of their wall space, I am not sure where I am going to hang this ( maybe on the edge of one of the tables), but I digress.

Here is my version of his birthday banner. This was SOOOOOO easy and took me 20 whole minutes.

I traced the pennants on felt squares and cut them out. Then, I printed off his name using a font I liked in Word, traced it and cut them out. All that was left was the bowling pins and bowling balls...trace, cut out. I glued each one down with hot glue and then hot glued polka dotted ribbon to the tops.

Yes, it is tacked up to my cabinets using tape simply for viewing purposes....That's how I roll!

Linking to : Tator Tots & Jello, Sugar Bee Crafts, GInger Snap Crafts, DIY by Design

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The great homeschool debate...

It's no secret. This year has been extremely difficult on Caleb. Having Autism really throws a wrench in traditional learning patterns. As this year has progressed, my heart and gut are telling me that he is not learning what he needs to in public school. Until this year, I have been the biggest advocate of public school...of my school in particular. But we are coming to the realization that while public school may be the appropriate placement for most kids, it might not be right for Caleb, right now.

My husband and I are continuing to discuss this, actually on a daily basis. We are looking at our options. We have refreshed ourselves with the laws regarding children in Special Education. We are reviewing Caleb's classroom modifications, his progress, and his abilities. While it has always been my overall goal to have Caleb in public school...I am getting real.

I have to ask myself..."What is THE goal for Caleb?" not "What is MY goal for Caleb?" THE goal is for Caleb to be an active and engaged learner. THE goal is for him be an integrated and regulated child. THE goal for him is to be socially appropriate, and independent. THE goal is progress.

While he loves and craves the routines school provides him, we have noticed that he is becoming more interested in other children. I can provide that routine for him at home if I try really hard, but I have to keep him engaged with other children on a regular basis.

So, my husband and I are discussing the possibility of homeschooling him. I realize that people homeschool for many different reasons. Our reason would be for THE goals stated above. But boy, I am struggling with the actual decision.

Do I give 4th grade public school a chance? I am the PTO President. If I homeschool, I can no longer be that person. And if I homeschool, it would just be for Caleb. Jansen would continue public school. How do I be as involved as I want to be in his education and school activities being home with Caleb. On a selfish note, Caleb and I would always be together. How will I stand it? I will be losing the opportunity to grocery shop in peace, to get a haircut, or have a doctor's appointment during the day. With so much focus on Caleb during the day, how do I balance that with Jansen? How do I make him feel important daily? How do I explain my reasoning to Jansen and assure him that this may be a necessity for Caleb, but by no means is slighting him? Can I really educate my child? Am I capable of teaching him the things he needs to know? I will just stop there because my list of questions and concerns could be a mile long!

So, my husband has suggested a trial run this summer. Let's create the homeschool room, develop a loose curriculum, and practice homeschooling over the summer vacation. If we like it, and notice a difference, then we may not even send him back in the Fall. If it is stressful and is not working out for Caleb, then we will enroll him in the 4th grade at our school and give it a chance.

I need confidence, guidance, reassurance, and an answer. But no one else can decide what is right for our family but us. Until this summer, I guess we will be doing a ton of research and sending up a lot of prayers.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

DIY cake and/or cupcake stand...

Since Jansen wants both a cake for himself and cupcakes for his friends, I needed to make a stand that would support both all in one.

I didn't want to spend a ton of money on this feature since we won't really be using it again in this form. The main decorative parts of it we needed to go purchase, but I pretty much had all the structural aspects.

Here is what I used:

cake boards (4 of each: 14, 12, 10, and 8 inch)
hot glue gun
colored paper
soup cans
card stock
liquid nails

My goal was to make three tiers to put cupcakes on and one tier for a 6 inch cake. We went Hobby Lobby to purchase the paper and ribbon. Ribbon was on sale for 1/2 off and I had a 40% off coupon for the paper.

Jansen chose red paper and black ribbon with single white dots.

First, using hot glue, glue 4 of the 8 inch cake boards together, following with the 10 inch, 12 inch, and 14 inch.

Next, trace the circles on the paper, cut out and glue to the circles.

Then, glue your ribbon around the edges of each disc.

Using blue colored card stock (at Jansen's request), cover three soup cans using hot glue

    Then stack it all up. I made little hash marks on the center of each disc so that it made it easier to place the soup cans. At this point, I have not glued the cans to the discs yet, for sake of easy storage for next month's use...but that is the final step.

    Fill the stand with cupcakes and you are done. This little project cost me about $5 for materials and took an hour. I am sure it would take less time if you were more focused than me, however, I am a social media multi-tasker and was texting and Facebooking as I crafted. :) Keeping It SimpleUndertheTableandDreaming

    Dollar store cupcake toppers

    Let's be real, we are all busy. I enjoy the heck out of it when I can cut a couple of "time corners" without sacrificing the overall style of a project.

    Next month, I will be making TONS of cupcakes both for Jansen's birthday party and for his class. My friend, Angie, saw some cheap finger bowling games at the dollar store a couple weeks ago and told me I might want to go check them out.

    Thinking they might be perfect size for cupcakes, I ran to the store. Sure enough, there were a bunch of bowling pins in each package AND the kicker.....they were on sale for 25 cents a package. I bought all of them for a grand total of $1.25!!!!!!

    They will be perfect on top of ALL of the cupcakes with little gumball bowling balls beside them.


    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Personalized bowling lollipop favors...

    I had a bunch of these big lollipops left from Caleb's party, that I ordered from Oriental Trading Company. They were $4.99 a dozen with free shipping, so I loaded up on 'em.

    Jansen wanted lollipops to hand out to his friends at his party (along with some bowling cake ball pops) so lollipops he will get.
    All this took was a little quick personalization of a bowling image I found on a Google search, printed onto card stock, cut out, and added to each lollipop with a glue dot. Jansen really wants all his decorations to be red, white, blue, and I added some blue and red curling ribbon and this project is done.

    Totally easy, totally inexpensive, and totally a hit with Jansen! Mission accomplished. Mark one party favor off my list :)

    linking to:
    Pink Hippo Party

    Bowling party planning....

    May is fast approaching and with the end of school right around the corner, the party planning on both the home and school front just slapped me in the face this morning. What a wake up call!

    Because I will be planning Teacher Appreciation for the school (plus gifts for my boys' 4 teachers), another school party, Field Day, will be helping with Kindergarten Splash Day and the Reading Team party, End of Year Teacher Luncheon, End of Year Prize delivery, and 2 classroom parties, I need to get all the elements of Jansen's party that can be done in advance, finished this month!

    Jansen's 7th birthday is May 31, and this year, school ends before then. I feel bad for him because he really wants to take cupcakes to his classmates, so we are just going to celebrate a little early this year! We will be taking bowling cupcakes to school on May 18th...right before the last week of school, and that makes him super happy.

    Since he is my chef, he has definite opinions on what he wants and will be helping me with every aspect of the cupcakes. In addition, we will be having his party at the bowling alley on the 19th...and of course, 1 big cake won't do for him. He wants a small cake just for him and a bunch of cupcakes for his friends. We did a version of this last year with his lego party at home......but since we will be at the bowling alley, there isn't much room for decorations sprawled everywhere. Here is a picture of last year's set up...

    My plan is to make a cake/cupcake tower that I can have his little cake on top and his cupcakes on the other tiers for his party.

    He also wants bowling ball cake pops, bowling lollipops (similar to the ones Caleb had at his party, and thank goodness we have a ton of lollipops left from his), everything in red, white, and blue.

    So the plan is in place. The ideas are flowing. My house is going to be FULL of baked goods, bowling pins, and bowling balls. More parties!!!!!!!!