Children’s Day Party at Build-A-Bear Workshop

Build-A-Bear Workshop, where the teddy bear comes to life . . . and where parties are a hit!

Last week, we had the pleasure (and when I say pleasure, I mean the absolute pleasure) of throwing a Children’s Day party at Build-A-Bear Workshop.  Now before I lose you to the mystery of Children’s Day, let me explain.

Each year in my household, we celebrate Children’s Day.  It is a floating holiday that is spent enjoying the blessing of our kids and doing fun activities all day long.  It usually concludes with a kids’ choice dinner out and ice cream.

I love spending an entire day dedicated to fun.  Often as moms, we are busy focused on what is next on the schedule, what load of laundry will prevent someone from going naked or simply what to serve for dinner.  Children’s Day is not only a blast for the kids, it is permission for moms to put down the list and enjoy your children, celebrating the little blessing they are.

So for Children’s Day this year, we grabbed some cousins and threw a Children’s Day Party at Build-A-Bear!  Our experience was wonderful and I am so excited to share it with you.


Build-A-Bear Workshop is a great concept.  It is fun, creative and all hands-on.  Children start by picking from a wall of un-stuffed animals and go home with a customized bear or other animal for them to love.


And while the kids love their new bear, Moms, you will love the party.  It is well-organized, well-staffed and is easy for parents.  Each party is staffed to meet the needs of the group.  My cousins and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.



Once the kids pick their animals and name them, they begin the heart ceremony.  This was probably my favorite part of the party because it was so sweet.  The children pick a heart for their animal and they are instructed to rub it on different parts of their bodies (for example, their foreheads to make the bear smart or their nose so the bear will always smell good).  The kids jump, they smile, they blow on the hearts and make a wish before putting the heart inside their bear.




One thing the moms and I were most impressed with was how engaged the staff kept the children. While one child was stuffing their bear, the other kids played several games.  It was wonderful for the moms, who enjoyed being a spectator to the fun . . . and also a little mom-chat.




As in our case, and I’m sure across the country at other Build-A-Bear Workshop locations, the staff clearly love what they do.  They were happy and ready for fun.  And they didn’t even mind when a child changed their clothing selection (a’hem, mine).

Dressing the bears was a lot of fun.  Build-A-Bear offers a wide variety of options, not only in styles for boys and girls, but also in prices.  You can go all out or you can pick out something simple and accessorize.

Before we left, the children were led in a promise to take good care of their new friends.  They were given birth certificates and the well-recognized Build-A-Bear Workshop box.  (I just love this box!)

A Couple other Bonuses:  You can get free bows on future visits.  Build-A-Bear offers repairs in-store and if they are unable to fix the loved animal, it is sent to the bear hospital (and comes back in a hospital gown!).  They also have a Find-A-Bear ID program so that if your friend is ever lost, there is a barcode inside the bear to direct him back to you.

When you go, be sure to join their loyalty program and earn points towards gift certificates and free items.  Throwing a party is a quick way to add up points.

Special thanks to Amy, who set up everything for us.  You were great to work with!  And to Rachel, Mesa, Lori and Sandra from our local store, you made our experience wonderful!  Thank you ever so much!

We are still all smiles when we think back to our party at Build-A-Bear.  We left with great memories and new bear friends . . . who incidentally, are still sleeping with the kids.

Learn more about Build-A-Bear Workshop Parties, by clicking HERE.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I was provided with the party at no cost.  All opinions are my own.  For more information, please see my Disclosure Policy.

Create a Light-Up Cave of Wonders


Did you have forts when you were growing up?  My brother and I spent hours building and playing in our many forts of various shapes and sizes.  We loved having a fun place to retreat that belonged to us alone.


This Cave of Wonders can be just that for your children.  But you can also make it purposeful (and even educational).  This Cave of Wonders can be a place of inspiration.  It can be a place for your kids to read (and if you use as many lights as I did, lighting will not be a problem).  It can be a place for them to play games and work puzzles.  You can even make it a place where your son or daughter works on a school subject that disinterests them.  Make it the special draw.


Want to learn how to make it?  I’m guest-posting over at Free Homeschool Deals today.  I’d love for you to stop by!


A What? A Puzzle Party


If you’ve been hanging out with us for any period of time, you probably know that I like to celebrate just about anything.  Last summer, after celebrating Ice Cream Social Day, my son (aka the puzzle lover) asked me if there was a day for puzzles.


Well, guess what?  There is.  National Puzzle Day is celebrated on January 29th.  And at the moment, riding in our mini-van, I knew we were destined to celebrate a day for puzzles . . . and make a party out of it.



Of course an invitation to a puzzle party must be a puzzle itself.  With my Silhouette Cameo, I made the invitation for the cousins.  The Cameo is an amazing machine.  The possibilities are endless. (Read why I like the Cameo over the Cricut here.)  We decided to go with inviting kids 10 and under.  Because in our family, that meant inviting 23 children. 



I cut a zillion puzzle pieces and led the kids to the basement with them.  The small puzzle pieces were also used in the banners over the tablescape.



In the basement were puzzles everywhere you looked.  This “Create Your Own Puzzle” was one of the most popular stations.  I prepared white card stock with a square on it.  The kids drew pictures, colored or wrote messages within the square and then I took it to my Cameo and cut it into a puzzle.  The children loved this!  One of the girls even wrote a message to her teacher.  So cute!


We own a lot of puzzles as you can see.  I did pick up several at the Dollar Tree too.


I love making table displays.  The backdrop is simply wrapping paper.  (I’ll be sharing in a few weeks how to make an easy wrapping paper backdrop.)  The menu was simple “after-school” snacks:  peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, carrots, grapes, chocolate drizzled pretzels, sixlets and cupcakes.



To drink, we served blue Hawaiian Punch to stay in our color scheme.  Our puzzle topiaries were originally used in our Dr. Seuss Party.  I painted the pots blue and glued puzzle pieces to the styrofoam balls.





The puzzle sandwiches were made with a Puzzle Sandwich Cutter Set that I bought off of Amazon.  And I made the ice cubes with an Ikea tray that has been sitting in my cupboard for years.  It was exciting to use something I’ve had for so long and really never used.


The Favor:  I considered buying this cool Puzzle Maker, but then decided to go a different route.  I made photo popsicle stick puzzles.  (I’ll share how I did it next week.)  The white puzzle pieces are magnets with the kids’ names on them made with Silhouette Printable Magnet Paper and my cutting machine.


Have you ever created a whole party around nothing?  Share in the comments below.  It is a fun way to thrill your kids.


(Please Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  For more information, go here.)


A Scavenger Hunt of Household Rules with Free Printable


Scavenger hunts are one of our family’s favorite activities. Who doesn’t love to follow clues around the house to find a special treat or reward? The challenge of figuring out a clue or writing them thrills me. I have written simple scavenger hunts for toddlers and preschoolers, scavenger hunts for a 10 year old girl’s glamour birthday party to complex clues for teenagers leading them all around town. My kids even helped write a scavenger hunt for daddy to welcome him home from work one day. Their favorite part? They were his prize!

Today, we’re doing an activity that combines reinforcing household rules (like turn off the lights when you leave a room) with the fun of a scavenger hunt. Be sure to find a fun treat or little toy for your kids to find at the end. Work with them as they decipher the clues that will lead them around your house. Ask questions to help them figure out the answer. Talk about the household rules as you go.


>To read the rest, head over to Free Homeschool Deals where I’m guest posting today.

Create a Chalkboard Table

Chalkboard Coffee Table
I am not sure who invented chalkboard paint for the everyday do-it-yourself’er, but I’d like to give that person a hug.  Chalkboard paint is a fun and creative medium that gives great play value in return.  I have used it to paint a road on the wall in the kids’ clubhouse, a large chalkboard in their little play room and even over canvas to create a framed chalkboard for parties.  The possibilities abound!


My most recent project involved a coffee table that has seen me through college, single life and married-with-no-furniture life.  Then, for nearly five years it resided in our basement.  We recently gave it to someone, but it just made its way back to our home (you know who you are).  I wasn’t too excited about it until realized I could do something fun with it.  And that was when it became no ordinary coffee table.


I gave it a couple coats of white spray paint to start.  Then, I painted the legs yellow.




With my Silhouette Cameo, I cut vinyl letters and put them on the top of the table.
How I love that machine!

Then I painted the top with two coats of Chalk Board Paint.


I carefully peeled off the letters and we were done!




This makes a great table to design the tallest lego building or leave a message for your kiddos.



And of course, you can spend an afternoon creating the latest masterpiece.


What are some of your favorite chalkboard paint projects?


Make a DIY Marble Run from Household Items

Who needs to spend a lot of money on a marble track?  Not us!  Because today, we are building a marble run that will not only thrill and engage your kids, but all the items needed are likely to be found right in your home.

Much to my husband’s dismay, I am a saver.  I save anything and everything I think could be used for some genius, creative project.  For the last year, I have been saving my wrapping paper rolls . . . and at last, I have something to show for it.  And I have to tell you, it created hours of fun for my family.
The beauty of this DIY project is that it involves arts and crafts, design and construction, science and math . . . all under the guise of FUN!

*Today, I am over at Free Homeschool Deals sharing how to make a Marble Run from items you can find around your house.

Stop by and read the rest of the article here.

The Best Ice Cream Day Ever


What do you think?  Would you and another mom haul your brood to five ice cream shops in one day?


You may be concerned about the sugar, the sick stomachs or the loading and unloading of your kids from the mini-van more times than you can count.  But I’ll tell you this. . . we have just created the sweetest annual event.


First, let me assuage your fears.  Yes, you can eat ice cream from five different places in one day and not get sick . . . well, unless you’re lactose intolerant.  The key is ordering the absolute smallest serving sold.  For some places, this means baby cones (I had never seen these adorable cones before!  Picture a large dollup of ice cream on the sweetest little cone.)  For other places, it meant kid-size servings.



The way our trip came about:  I had written a guest post for Everyday Truth where I threw out the idea of searching for the best ice cream in your county as an idea to thrill your kids.  One random day, my cousin and I were talking about our love of ice cream and I shared the idea.  Well, nothing more needed to be said.  We blocked out an entire day on our calendar for the search.



Our Plan:  We routed out our trip ahead of time, starting with who opened the earliest.  We left my house at 10:30 am, ate a packed lunch at one of the parks and returned home at 6:00pm.  Our last ice cream stop closed minutes before we arrived, so our final stop was at Dairy Queen where my cousin and I opted for fruit smoothies – cheating?  You decide.

Between each ice cream shop, we decided to stop at a park or playground and burn off some of that sugar.  And, what could be more fun for a kid than a day filled with ice cream and playgrounds?  


A Key Part of Our Day:  Between every stop, we listened to Chip Richter’s song, Ice Cream.  It is a fun and upbeat song that will have the entire car singing (and screaming) for ice cream.  If you are unfamiliar with Chip, he is a Christian singer-songwriter that will bring smiles to your whole family!


If you’re interested, you can buy the Lost in Lakeside CD from his website here for $9.99 or you can buy the Ice Cream MP3 for 99 cents from Amazon off of his Live in Lakeside CD.   Either way, the excitement and energy in your car will grow each time you play this song.  



The Memories & Awards:  At each Ice Cream Shop, we took a photo with our Ice Cream Stop # Sign (notice the first picture was our best…).  We also awarded each place with a “You Were Who We Screamed For” award.  Make your own signs or grab these free printables:  Ice Cream Stop # Sign and Ice Cream Award.


It was a perfect summer day and a perfect new tradition.  We plan on hitting a different area each year in search of the best ice cream . . . and eventually, maybe we’ll expand our search to the entire state.

Update:  I was at Dairy Queen last night (yes, again!) and saw this:


What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  

top photo credit

Please Note:  This post contains an affiliate link. See the Disclosure Policy on the About Page.

Celebrate a Tie Dye Day

No, today is not any official Tie Dye Day.  But it can be in your home.  Get ready for artistic fun!

Do you remember tie-dying as a kid?  I remember buckets of dye, rubberbanding shirts, strategically dipping and dunking in various colors of dye . . . and I remember it taking hours.  Not any longer.  I picked up a box of Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit.  And wow, did it make things easy, especially for young kids.  Not to mention, it was a blast!

The How To:

* Start with wet shirts.  I threw mine in the rinse cycle of the washer.

Making a Spiral Pattern with Tie Dye

* Rubberband the shirts in various patterns.  The instruction pamphlet came with several ideas.  I loved the spiral and simple squished one.

* Wear Plastic Gloves.  The kit comes with two sets of gloves.  We needed three, but we always have a plethora of rubber gloves here (don’t ask me why).  
* Protect your working surface.  I used a piece of cardboard covered with a dry cleaning bag.  
* Add water to the ready-to-go bottles and shake until blended.  
* Squeeze the Dy onto the Fabric.  Have fun and let your kids be creative.  If you mix colors, you’ll get new colors.  For the spiral design, try to keep one color in each section and you’ll get a cool effect.  

Using the squeeze bottles was relatively mess-free and lots of fun.  The kit can make 7 shirt, but that would be pushing it if you’re talking adult-sized shirts only.  

* You are supposed to leave them wrapped for 4-6 hours before washing them in hot water.  I would suggest letting them sit over night.  Ours did fade.

The kids were so proud of them!

Wearing “family” tie dye shirts for campfire/camping night.  
This little project is something we’ll definitely be doing again.  The kids really enjoyed dying their shirts and I loved creating something easy, memorable and artistic with them.
Do you like to tie dye?  

(This post contains an affiliate link.  Please see the Disclosure Policy on the About Page.)

Linked up with:  The Imagination Tree