With the kids back to school, my thoughts are turning to Halloween. I know, I know, it seems early, but I’ve noticed that the stores have Halloween candy and my email box has costume ads in it … so I guess I’m not the only one! I don’t really consider myself a Halloween person, but I have had fun putting together costumes and parties for the kids. I think I’m going batty for Halloween.

I wanted to see how budget-friendly I could make a Halloween party. I made a trip to a local dollar store and found lots of goodies for a fun Bat-O-Ween party.

Bat-O-Ween cupcakes and cookies by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Bat-O-Ween Party by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Bat-O-Ween Table image by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Bat-O-Ween Table by The Memory Fairy ©2012


I covered the table with a plastic silver table cover and then layered a ripped Halloween cloth on top of it, both from the dollar store. Adding inexpensive holiday finds from Target and the dollar store, gave the table even more of a Halloween feel. I made the fishnet covered vases using stockings from the seasonal section of a local craft store. I placed the glass vase in the stocking and then cut the stocking off to the right size, adding a little extra for the inevitable contraction of the stocking. Then I added a strip of orange paper and a ribbon on top of that to hold the stocking up and give it a little flair. The Eek! letters are from my Wicked Mini digital scrapbooking collection. I used this collection to create the menu, plus all of the picks and food labels as well.

Here’s what was on the menu for Bat-O-Ween: Bat Cookies, Bones, Witch Hats, Ghosts, Vanilla Bat Cupcakes, Caramel Apples, Bat Teeth and Bat Brains.

Bat-tastic Menu by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Bat-tastic Menu by The Memory Fairy ©2012

I love cookie bouquets, so I made this simple one for Bat-O-Ween using orange Oreos,® Ghost Peeps,® and Pillsbury pumpkin Holiday Shape cookies.

Bat and Ghost Sweet Bouquet by The Memory Fairy © 2012

Batty Sweet Bouquet by The Memory Fairy © 2012

Who is a bat’s best friend? A witch of course! These treats were simple to make with sugar cones and chocolate wafers. They are filled with fall colored M&Ms too.

A Bats Best Friend Witch Hat image by The Memory Fairy ©2012

A Bats Best Friend Witch Hat by The Memory Fairy ©2012

What goes into a witches brew? Bat teeth! Nothing says Halloween like Brach’s Candy Corn.

Bat Teeth (candy corn) image by The Memory Fairy © 2012

Bat Teeth by The Memory Fairy © 2012

How about some bat brains …

Bat Brains (popcorn) image by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Bat Brains by The Memory Fairy ©2012

‘Dem Bones are easy to make and a welcome respite from all of the sugar. I bought Pillsbury® Breadsticks in the can and unrolled them. Next, I clipped the center of the ends, and bent them away from each other and rolled them under to look like bone ends. Then bake per the instructions on the container!

Bones (breadsticks) image by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Breadstick Bones by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Of course you need something to wash all of these goodies down. Since there is already so much sugar involved in Halloween, a little water disguised as Bat Juice did the trick.

Bat Juice Water bottle image by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Bat Juice Water by The Memory Fairy ©2012

And last but not least, some bat favors to home with your guests. These were super simple to put together. I filled the pumpkin containers with candy and then tied them up with the Halloween ribbon from the dollar store. I added the themed pencil and glow stick, also from the dollar store and then placed them into the bat bags that I made. You can make the bat bags by folding down the top of the bag to the back and punching 2 holes with a hole punch. Then thread the ends of a ribbon through the bag. Add googly eyes, and you are done!

Bat Bag Favors image by The Memory Fairy ©2012

Bat Bag Favors by The Memory Fairy ©2012

So what was the final decorations tally for this party? Here is the cost breakdown …

From the dollar store:
$1 = 1 bag of bat rings
$1 = 1 skull tombstone
$1 = 1 plastic silver rectangular table cover
$1 = 1 package white mini spider cupcake wrappers
$1 = 1 regular orange bat cupcake wrapper
$1 = 1 silver tray
$1 = 1 package of ripped Halloween cheesecloth
$2 = 2 spools of Halloween ribbon
$1 = 1 bag of foam bats
$1 = 1 bag of black lunch bags
$1 = 1 tube of glow sticks
$1 = Halloween pencils

From a local craft store
$3.50 = Fishnet stockings from costume section

From Target
$4 = Orange glitter candlesticks

That adds up to only $20.50 for store bought table decor and favor items! I had the glassware, vases, curling ribbon, googly eyes, white plates, wood and lollipop sticks, plastic pumpkins and orange paper. You can easily make do with kitchen items that you have for displaying the food. The food cost more than the decor, at about $30. So, this entire party cost around $50 … proof that you don’t have to spend a lot to make fabulous memories.

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An ocean theme has so many fun ideas for food that it was hard to pick just a few. I really wanted to do so many more, so I think we may have to have this theme again in the future, just so I can use some of those extra ideas.

The first thing I did was pick up some candy molds in the shape of shells. I picked up one lollipop mold and one smaller mold with several kids of shells and sand dollars. I thought the smaller ones would make great cupcake toppers, but I could see them as butter molds too. To give the shells a little more style, I painted pink candy coating in the mold and let it set up. Then, I added the melted white candy to the mold. The pink blended in with the white in a striated pattern, giving the shell candy a little more interest.

Shell lollipops image ©2012 The Memory Fairy

Shell lollipops ©2012 The Memory Fairy

Shell Candy image ©2012 The Memory Fairy

For the cupcakes, I wanted to make the shell candy look like it was on the beach. To make the sand for the cupcake tops, I used crushed graham crackers. If you add an Oreo® (without the creme) to the food processor with the graham crackers, you’ll have a perfect replica of beach sand. Since I had made a bunch of sand, I used it in the fishbowl holding the shell pops up and on other serving plates. I also used it to coat star marshmallows that had been dipped in chocolate, for a mini starfish s’more. Those were a big hit!

Sand Dollar cupcake image © 2012 The Memory Fairy

Sand Dollar cupcake © 2012 The Memory Fairy

Starfish S'more image ©2012 The Memory Fairy

I borrowed the awesome shell dishes, but they can be found in a variety of stores that sell kitchen items.

Pepperidge Farm has the cutest goldfish bread. How perfect is that for an ocean theme party? I served them with hummus, but they are perfect for any kind of sandwich. The kids dubbed the hummus filled goldfish “hummafish.”

Goldfish Bread image ©2012 The Memory Fairy

Of course, I had to serve goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish. Last but not least, I made clam cookies. I had seen a version on Pinterest that used a different cookie, but my kids LOVE Nilla Wafers®, so I used those. The middle is a little pink frosting and a yogurt covered raisin for the perfect little clam cookie bite.

Clam Cookies image ©2012 The Memory Fairy

All in all, we had a lot of fun and the kids are very excited for the new school year!

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Ah, it’s that time of year again. One where the flip flops get put away and pencils are picked up. A time that is often met with mixed emotions … sadness for the end of summer and excitement to see friends and what is to come. To ease this transition period, I’ve started a tradition in our house of having a small party for the kids to celebrate the end of summer and usher in the new school year.

This year marks our second annual school party, and the kids were very excited to see what theme I would unveil. I saw plenty of really cute Back to School parties, but I wanted something more unique … something that would relate back to things that the kids would study in school. I chose School is Oceans of Fun.

School is Oceans of Fun collage image ©2012 The Memory Fairy

School is Oceans of Fun ©2012 The Memory Fairy

It started with a centerpiece created to look like a coral reef. I found a hanging basket at the dollar store and used it to create a cage for a floral foam base. The top piece of styrofoam was held in place with toothpicks. I placed the base on cardboard to avoid scratching my table.

Reef Centerpiece Structure image ©2012 The Memory Fairy

Reef Centerpiece Structure ©2012 The Memory Fairy

Then it was time to build the reef. I found some plastic aquarium plants at a pet store and coral at Walmart and placed those in the base. I filled in spaces with ivory and purple fall flowers from the dollar store. I cut them off their stems and pushed them into the foam. To round out the reef, I found some glittery, fan-shaped picks at a craft store and some clear glass ornaments to give the reef some sparkle. To cover the cardboard base, I tried sand, but it really was too messy and didn’t look right. Instead, I cut up some blue cellophane and placed it around the base’s edge and then covered up the rest with floral moss from the dollar store. The last pieces were some shells that the kids had picked up from various beach trips, and some glass shells from a craft store. Here is the final centerpiece …

Ocean-Reef Centerpiece image © 2012 The Memory Fairy

Ocean-Reef Centerpiece © 2012 The Memory Fairy

I think it came out pretty well. Of course it’s not a party without games, activities and food! I found a Sea Life Bingo game that I printed out. We used aquarium rocks (aka M&Ms) as markers. Instead of saying “bingo,” I had the kids say “fishy” just for fun.

After several rounds of “Fishy,” we made an ocean in a bottle with sand and shells we collected at the beach this summer using this Ocean in a bottle tutorial. I wish I would have rinsed the sand before putting it in the bottle, since it got a little cloudy, but the kids don’t seem to mind. They love to tilt the bottles back and forth and watch the “ocean.”

Ocean in a bottle image © 2012 The Memory Fairy

Ocean in a bottle © 2012 The Memory Fairy

I love school supplies, so I had to incorporate them into our “School Is Oceans of Fun” party. I used my 3-tiered plate stand to showcase some of the items on the kids lists, with fun ocean-themed tags. We had “fishing rod” pencils, “tackle box” pencil cases and erasers, scissors and crayons as “lures & bait.” I found the starfish-shaped sticky notes and the blue fish cutouts at the dollar store and thought they made the perfect signs for the party.

Fishing for school supplies image © 2012 The Memory Fairy

Fishing for school supplies © 2012 The Memory Fairy

The backdrop for the dessert bar was a roll of blue cellophane that had been cut into wavy strips. To add more dimension, I added some lighter blue streamers. I used the blue fish and starfish shapes here as well. The cellophane gave a blue cast to the table which made it seem like it was really underwater.

Ocean backdrop image © 2012 The Memory Fairy

Ocean backdrop © 2012 The Memory Fairy

I found the cutest fish pencil sharpeners and sea life magic capsules at the dollar store as well, so I had to make these little favors too. I threw in a few Smarties, for my smarties. :)

Ocean fish favors image © 2012 The Memory Fairy

Ocean fish favors © 2012 The Memory Fairy

Next post Part 2 … Oceans of Food!

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Homemade Angry Birds made by The Memory Fairy

Homemade Angry Birds

Well, the kids are finally out of school and it’s time for Camp Mommy. This is when we either develop a closer bond, or drive each other nuts. I’m not sure I totally welcome the 24/7 entertainment committee job, but the kids are home, and if left to their own devices, will come up with too many non-mommy approved activities.

So, in order to create a more harmonious household union, I’ve been searching around online for fun ideas to do during Camp Mommy. During a recent trip to Pinterest, (hey, a mom has to have fun too), I found a pin about a homemade science kit. Jackpot! Just the sort of thing I was looking for … educational and fun. I clicked on it and was lead to the site www.kitchenpantryscientist.com. Oh my gosh that site is cool! I had found the Camp Mommy Holy Grail. I spent at least an hour on the site reading articles and viewing videos.

The first one I knew we had to do was Angry Birds with Marshmallow Slingshots. When I read it, I knew this was the perfect use for the pile of boxes I had collected from our pantry. Do you ever go through a period where it seems like you are finishing the last bit of everything in your pantry? Well, that was happening to us. We had a pile of boxes in our recycle bin, and much to my husband’s dismay I saved them … lots of them. I know he thought I was crazy, but I had a plan. At the time, I wasn’t sure what the plan was, but I knew the boxes would come in handy. I saved boxes from our pantry for weeks, waiting for the plan to come together. Then, there it was, Angry Birds.

First, I told the kids about the plan. Of course they promptly went looking for my phone. When I told them it was going to be real life Angry Birds, they were even more intrigued. We talked about the ideal location to play, the items we would need, and then read Liz’s physics lesson. I could have used marshmallows, but I thought it would be even better to use the hard-as-rock Peeps that we found in our pantry. I’m not sure how they didn’t get eaten, since I live with Peep-o-holics, but there they were, pink and green chicks that were perfect flinging birds.

Angry Peeps used by The Memory Fairy Image

The Angry "Peeps"

Once we had the birds, we made the slingshot and set up the scene. We used Splash Bombs for the pigs.

Angry Birds Slingshot made by The Memory Fairy

Angry Birds Slingshot

Then we let the birds fly! The kids had so much fun, and I have to say, I did too. Oh we’ll still play the Angry Birds app, but this was a fun addition to our summer games.

A few notes we discovered along the way …
1. We did this activity outside. If it is too windy, you will have a hard time getting the boxes to stay. To avoid this, we moved the base into the garage. You could do this indoors, but we wanted to get out and enjoy the sunshine, it is summer after all. :)

2. Experiment with your projectiles. We found orange foam practice golf balls to be quite effective. They flew very well, and far … missing the target almost garnered more laughs than hitting it. Of course, viewing the mushed up Peep was fun too.

3. Have a variety of boxes. The more boxes you have, the crazier the arrangements you can make. We also added soda cans, plastic shovels and other light items to give our scenes character.

4. Protect whatever chair you use, especially if you take the game outside. We used paper bags underneath the chair to prevent the paint from chipping off the chair.

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Isn’t that what Punxsutawney Phil said? Only a few more weeks of winter, or at least we can hope, right? Now is the time to finish all those winter layouts before the Spring comes and we all clean or head outdoors. So, to help you do just that there are the items in the Snow Friends Collection Mini. All the images are linked.

Snow Friends Collection Mini image ©2012 JW

Snow Friends Collection Mini ©2012 JW

Snow Friends also has coordinating Papers, Frame Clusters and Snow Spatters.

Snow Friends Frame Clusters image ©2012 JW

Snow Friends Frame Clusters ©2012 JW

Snow Spatters image ©2012 JW

Snow Spatters ©2012 JW

Snow Friends Paper Super Mini image ©2012 JW

Snow Friends Paper Super Mini ©2012 JW

The Snow Friends Collection and Paper Super Mini also come in the 8.5″ x 11″ size.

8.5x11 Snow Friends Paper Super Mini image ©2012 JW

8.5x11 Snow Friends Paper Super Mini ©2012 JW

8.5x11 Snow Friends Collection Mini image ©2012 JW

8.5x11 Snow Friends Collection Mini ©2012 JW

In case Green Eggs and Ham are not your style,
Spend some time with The Cat in the Hat for awhile.

The Fairy's Cat in the Hat Treat Image

The Fairy's Cat in the Hat Treat

To find out how to make this tasty treat,
you don’t even need to use your feet.

Here’s where you find a really cute Cat in the Hat hat
And that’s what I really think about that.

Today is a day to celebrate,
A man who’d be a whopping 108.

He wrote wonderful stories for all to hear,
Stories that so many of us hold so dear.

My personal favorite is Green Eggs and Ham,
Maybe I should have named a kid Sam.

Writing these stories was such a great feat,
So I in honor of him, I made a little treat.

The Fairy's Green Eggs and Ham Image

The Fairy's Green Eggs and Ham Treat

If you would like to make your own Dr. Seuss treat, here’s the Green Eggs and Ham treat from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

This Valentine’s Day I’m celebrating my love for Pinterest! I pinned these adorable cookies and just had to make them today.

Peanut Butter Love cookies image

Peanut Butter Love cookies

While the Valentine Peanut Butter Blossom pin I found made the dough from scratch, I wound up using the Betty Crocker® peanut butter cookie mix in the interest of time (and I happened to have some on hand). They still taste delicious and were super easy to make. Maybe when I’m channeling my inner Martha Stewart, I’ll make the dough. Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies.

The kids will have a fun after school treat, if I can manage not to eat the entire batch of cookies myself!

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Let It Snow

Okay, so I saw these really cute snowman cupcakes on All You’s site and wanted to make them for a snowman themed holiday party. They didn’t seem that hard … or so I thought. I made cupcakes and decorated them with cute little snowman faces. I felt a little more confident at this point, because I figured making cute faces would be the hardest part. I coated Nilla wafers just like the recipe stated. After I finished coating them, I was starting to rethink my decision to make these cupcakes in the first place because it was tedious. I could have sworn that at one point Nabisco made mini Nilla wafers in colors so I could have avoided this step, but no such luck. Now it was time to put the crowning glory on these adorable snowmen, the earmuffs. Oh how cute they were going to be and I was getting excited.

Call it divine intervention if you will, but it was a good thing that I decided at this moment to have a lack of faith in my abilities and I grabbed one cupcake as a test.

So, all I had left was to attach the earmuffs. I looked at the picture and read the directions on how to make the earmuffs with a licorice band. The picture and the instructions didn’t look like they matched, but it was all I had. I cut the licorice and inserted each end in the cupcake. I had added the toothpick like in the picture as well. It still didn’t look very stable, but I figured that’s what the directions said, so I’d go with it. I picked up a sugar coated wafer to cover up where the licorice and the cupcake met. I delicately placed it on top and repeated this for the other side. I stood back to admire my handiwork and that’s when it happened.

BOOM!

(Okay, well not BOOM, but if a real snowman exploded and someone was there to hear it, that’s the sound it would have made.) There were cupcake bits all over the place. I felt like I was watching it happen in slow motion. The licorice pulled outward and broke the liner away from the cupcake, pulling the cookie, frosting and cake bits with it. The snowman cupcake now looked like the elephant man cupcake. It wasn’t pretty.

Apparently, the first law of licorice is that licorice that is made straight has a tendency to stay straight. (This was new licorice too.) After I got over the initial shock of the disfigured cupcake, I decided that the All You picture must have been done with super glue to hold the licorice in place. For me, it’s the equivalent of airbrushing a model’s legs or something … making a pretty picture look alluring and achievable, but in reality it’s not. If anyone knows the secret to getting the licorice into a cupcake, I hope you will share.

Thankfully the rest of the cupcakes were not harmed and made it to the party, albeit, slightly less dressed for winter.

Snowman cupcakes The Memory Fairy 2011

Snowman cupcakes The Memory Fairy 2011

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To celebrate Veteran’s Day this year, how about a freebie that honors those that serve our country. Thank you for your service! Click to pick up the Support Our Troops ribbon. Image is linked. If the link doesn’t work, then the freebie has been retired.

Army Collection Freebie ©JW 2011

Army Collection Freebie ©JW 2011

This ribbon coordinates with the Army Collection, available at ScrapGirls.com.

Army Collection ©JW 2011

Army Collection ©JW 2011

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