Tag Archives: #kidsfun

Catch This!

My friend needed help – fast!  Her son’s 10/31 birthday was quickly approaching, and she needed to pull of a Yankees themed birthday party the weekend before.

Cue the party assistant (me)!  I helped make this BOYS & GIRLS party (full of second graders) a HIT, and everyone left with a pretty cool “thank you gift”!
I created a special banner (with photos of the birthday boy), fun framed decor and party bags filled with themed necklaces or keychains …

  …the girls loved the necklaces!    

I used this same idea to create boys’ high quality keychains.  I used blue or steel colored beads along with baseball beads to make a cool yet different design for the boys.  They love to hook the keychains to their school backpack zippers!

Here’s a look at the BASEBALL party…

…his “Bronx grandma” brought an amazing cake, and the kids played at the Baseball Center on the UWS!

      There were at least 25 kiddos, and a few younger siblings tagged along.  Everyone received a party bag — however I didn’t fill it with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Big League chewing gum and such.  I know NY kids LOVE Air Heads!  Plus I added some Halloween stickers and red, white, and blue pompoms for a little whimsy.    

(my son above right): He would rather juggle than play baseball.  He’s a circus kid, what can I tell ya?

One of the coolest things about this party (besides watching “Manhattan Grandma” cheer on her grandson) was seeing our friends from (ex.) Sweden and Columbia join in, and learn the sport of baseball!  They were not ashamed to admit they never played, didn’t know how, didn’t know the rules, etc., It made me appreciate diverse friendships, supporting and teaching others, and cheering on your fellow teammate!  There is unity in our little world in the UWS.

Above: juggling Henry and “TuTu” (grandma); Enjoying yummy pizza on this super stormy rainy Sunday — what a great day to be inside!

 

 

Baseball Play!

I can see that Dodgers fans are stoked!  …Yankees fans are too!  But the Cubs and Astros are still in it!

Who is going to make it to the World Series?  The Dodgers have come further than they have in many, many years (Fans have not been this elated since 1988)!

The Yanks were a wildcard win who have not been squeezed out yet… in short: some have baseball fever and can’t wait to catch the next game!

I found some baseball beads at Michael’s Crafts, and I am trying out some new kiddo necklace designs.  

It’s pretty easy to slide these on (with new frills, glass beads and even new closures)!  I still feel as though I may not have found my signature design or “look” but it’s exciting to create a new series of accessories!  

I am coaching myself along and I never know if my jewelry will be a hit or miss…but it’s a fun change up!

(Also there are no diamonds in these necklaces)!  Hehe.  

Let me know what you think!  And also let me know your World Series predictions!

 

 

 

Dippy Drippy Pumpkins

From my last post — I mentioned that we had a Soccer ‘N Pumpkins in the Park play day…

I saw a cool idea on Pinterest and wanted to do a test run before-hand!  Hmmmm– Michael’s craft store is up near W. 100th Street, I am at W. 77th…  Maybe I could copy the idea with different paint from a store closer by?  Is that a DIPPY idea?  

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We have Flying Tiger (party store) nearby and their stuff is CHEAP!  Let’s see what happens!

Step 1 –    Spray paint your pumpkin so the drizzly paint will adhere to it.  We chose orange: spray    We went up on our roof top for this!  Easy!  Oooo shiny.

spray2dribble not-quite

Step 2  

Place your pumpkin on top of something (I repurposed an old juice box.  The idea is that the paint will drizzle all the way down to the bottom and not create a huge puddle

underneath.  I shook the paint a little, the top flew off and it covered parts of the wall and carpet!  What?!  I didn’t even open the top and peel the foil off yet!  Then we had problems squeezing it out for Step 3.  Arnold Schwarzenegger may not have been able to do it.

Step 3  Hold the paint container upside down and start drizzling paint onto the stem, then let the paint slide down the pumpkin like a waterfall.  Henry & I both squeezed the paint together….. It started to look weird; then I found myself saying, “Henry I think that’s enough paint.  It looks like puke.”

Poor kid — he was so excited.  I wiped off the Flying Tiger paint with paper towels (returned the yucky paint), then got the RIGHT kind of acrylic paint at Michael’s craft store.

Step 3 (again)

Drizzle CRAFT SMART acrylic paint.  Don’t be DIPPY like me and buy the cheap imitation.  I repurposed a used plastic cup for the run-off; (there is still residue from the old paint though).  Step 4: sprinkle with glitter (optional) and let dry.

 paint2    Much better!    again

Henry had so much fun — he wanted to keep going!  I had some foam pumpkin cut-outs (from Michael’s) and foam brushes (from Flying Tiger).  We continued with more creations.  Our cat wanted to check things out too!

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The cute gold party plates are from Flying Tiger.

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We also got the large confetti pieces at Flying Tiger; glue and marker from Michael’s.

img_9590 I don’t know if you can tell — but Louie the cat has a special yellow pumpkin with green paw-print eyes & nose.  Then I clipped two confetti pieces to look more like cat ears (in a triangular shape).

Here is how it looked in the park…  

We brought orange and red spray paint, and ended up using mostly red.  I bought some paper bowls (on clearance at a drug store).  They propped up the pumpkins, and let the paint drizzle down (the lid of the bowl caught the run-off).

colors  The red paint was pretty!  colors5

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The pumpkins were a hit!  The washable paint was a relief to all the parents!  Henry’s class of 6-year-olds were able to create some real magic here, but little siblings had a tough time.  I wouldn’t recommend this to kids younger than five.

We topped off the wet paint with a little glitter (from Flying Tiger). It reminded me of pixie dust;  It’s very fine and stays put (does not rub off and get all over clothes or the home).  Nice!  Once the pumpkins are dry — you can glue on some silly plastic spiders & snakes or bugs.  Again Flying Tiger had plenty of that stuff — even glow-in-the-dark spiders and snakes!

Finishing Up:  I bought medium paper bags with handles (at Michael’s).  The pumpkins were about 1/2 way dry by the time parents were ready to leave.  I used a napkin to pick up the pumpkin by the stem and placed the semi-dry pumpkin in the paper bag; an easy carry home project.  Some of the kids got Autumn leaves stuck in their pumpkins which was really cool… ahhhhh the joys of making a mess outside!

The younger siblings loved painting the foam cut outs… Later when I arrived at home I looked inside my paper bag; Two foam pumpkins accidentally bumped into each other and the result was this:

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Yes, scary!  I had Pre-K kids opening everything, messes were made but contained on the huge rectangular plastic table cloth I put down on the grass.  I used small sticks to stake the plastic table cloth down (so the wind didn’t blow it away).  Since no one went home with a painted little sibling or a painted dog I would say it was a good day!

 

Bedtime Blues

The midnight conversation…

Henry:  “Mom, Mom!  ….Mom….Mom… Can you please come up (in my loft)?

Seth: “Henry I’ll come up.  Daddy can come up… Daddy can come up.”

Henry: “Nooooooooo.”

Seth: “Daddy can cuddle.”

Henry: “Ugggggggh.  But I don’t want you.  I just want Mom.”

Seth: “But Daddy can give hugs.”

Henry: “But sometimes I am afraid to cuddle with dad.”  — OK he’s a big liar now!

Seth:  “Why?”

Henry: “Cause sometimes I just like girls.  I’m too hot up here.  I just need to go downstairs.  Downstairs is a perfect temperature.  My knee hurts. I need to go downstairs.  I just need Mom.  I don’t like you.”

Henry repeated this again, and the next thing I knew Seth slept up in the loft and Henry slept with me.   Zzzzzzzzzz.

Some, Some, Summer Time !

Just a look back on our first LAS VEGAS SUMMER!

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At the start of SUMMER BREAK — I took Henry to a week camp at SPORTS SOCIAL!  Then we continued our weekly Saturday lessons there!

With 110 to 114 degrees out — indoor fun is essential!  (Above) we are at Gravady Extreme Sports, and The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. 

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Mom went to Home Depot and Lowes for wood, (all shapes and sizes), pipes, tubes, safety goggles, nails, tools, etc., All of this kept him busy outside for about 20 minutes.  (kidding)

 

FullSizeRender lunch date… and…  FullSizeRender

What could be better than catching up with a good friend?

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We used the Summerlin Community Pool a lot!  It was a great place to chill out!

FullSizeRender  …we got it made in the shade at Red Rock!

 

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The Summerlin 4th of July parade was really impressive!  Click on the link for more pictures submitted by the community.  (scroll down to Photo Contest Entries).

 

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Making new friends and new discoveries…

 

  IMG_2662  Staying busy inside the air-conditioned house!   I set up a SCIENCE TEA PARTY FOR HENRY!  This is easy, just use some tea cups, vinegar, baking soda, food coloring….  We recorded our findings afterwards– just to be extra-scientific!

 

 

 

 

DSC_9516  Road trip to Ojai, CA!!!

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Ojai, CA has hiking, biking, swimming holes, water falls…..

 

Then Henry and I took an impromptu drive on the P.C.H. to Malibu!  Gorgeous ride up, and a cool down on the beach.

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IMG_3423        DSC_9701 Malibu coastline (on the left) and a little camp out in Mt. Charleston (to the right).

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Nothing BUTT fun!

  We enjoyed special friends, books, movies, ice-cream, popcorn, parks and playgrounds!  Mom is wiped out

 

 

Our New Pet: Louie

 

Louie — our cat — is still Henry’s favorite.

He just can’t get enough of this cat!  In fact — we have to be vigilant because Henry gets a little too crazy with Louie.  This fantastic feline is like a drug, and after about ten pets, and a butt scratch Henry loses his mind.  I constantly praise all of the good behavior.  However,  when things get too rough, we give him all of the reminders possible: “Gentle hands, gentle hands… Henry — you are strong, be careful…. You are stronger / bigger than the cat… Get his cat toys and play with him… Just pets…. Get his laser and play with him…. Louie is just a baby, he’s two and you are five…. Don’t hug him so tight…. carry him with two hands….  Don’t pull on his skin…. Don’t scratch his butt too hard… Put the cat down…. If you are too rough, Henry, you go to time out and kitty gets a break… Oh, Henry let him run away from you if he wants, he needs a break, don’t grab him as he tries to get away from you…. LET THE CAT GO, LET THE CAT GO, LET THE CAT GO!!!!”

Yesterday — Henry got a time out for being too rough; He stood there sobbing, so Louie went into timeout with Henry and laid down next to him.

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Respite time in the pantry

Henry plays very nicely with Louie too, it’s not all bad.  

And no matter what — Louie always comes back for more.  He is so patient with Henry, I have never seen a cat so tolerant!  Louie really loves us, he even sleeps in our bed!  Our kitty is quite the talker too… he meows and meows… he really chats it up!  It’s pretty funny when he drags his toys around the house, and even into bed with us.  He has two “tail wands” that are pretty chewed up.  He drags them while simultaneously howling– louder than loud!

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exhibit A: tail wand

Henry and I even made our own board game about Louie!

You roll the die and move to different spaces.  If you land on a picture of Louie eating — you say, “Stop eating so much Louie.” (yes our cat eats like a Vegas tourist at the buffets).  If you land on a picture of Louie drinking water you say, “Oh I got a wet chin!” (we always know when Louie has been in the water bowl)!  If you land on a litter box — you have to dig 4 or 5 times and get a math card.  If you land on the picture of Louie going out the back door — YOU LET THE CAT OUT — and you must take the long way.  This game encourages Henry’s speech, math, taking turns, following direction, following rules, etc., and at the end you make it into Louie’s heart.

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(I actually had to modify it a few times and add more litter box squares!  Henry really likes to land in the litter box)!

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The Louie Game!

On a final note….  Henry has been telling us that he is going to get another cat!  He wants two cats?  Yes, apparently he needs a black and white cat named, “Michael”.

We Be Buggin’!

It’s family day at Garehime Elementary School and the teachers (once again) provided us with an incredible Friday morning!  The theme was nature (rainbows and their colors) and LADY BUGS in all of their magnificent glory!

We started the day off with some wonderful books and song!  We learned a lot about lady bugs too!

eat4   Snacks!   eat3

Next the teachers and staff showed us how to make yummy lady bug treats using Nilla Wafers, red frosting, brown M&M’s (for the spots) and licorice for the legs!  Each bug needs (2) Nilla Wafers stacked on top (and the legs are in-between)… Henry’s friend gobbled his bug down in no time!

eat2 Froot loops!  eat

 

Henry made a rainbow snack using one graham cracker… then we added some marshmallow spread on the graham cracker.  Next he topped the cracker with the froot loops.  It was hard to fit all of the colors on, but it turned out pretty cute!  Henry doesn’t have much of a sweet-tooth so he didn’t eat his snacks; Maybe his parents munched on these cute treats?

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Getting’ the bugs out…

Henry watches the lady bug activity in the classroom!

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Henry and his friend Matthew listen and watch…  Fun facts we learned today: Lady bugs are small insects.  They have six legs.  They have small spots on their wing covers.  They have a head with antennae.  The antennae help lady bugs sense touch, vibrations (sound), smell and taste.  Lady bugs eat aphids.

We had a great time today — what a great way to bring families into the learning environment!

 

Family Day at School

Henry’s school here in Las Vegas is wonderful!  Once a month they provide parents the opportunity to come into the classroom for “Family Day”.  We drive Henry in for the 10 AM start, participate in a number of thoughtfully planned out activities, then take Henry home around 11:00 AM.

It is a great way to mingle with the other parents, talk to the teachers and aides, and have involvement in Henry’s school life!  Henry still doesn’t tell us every detail as to what is going on in school — so this is great for us!

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We can talk more about activities, his friends, and expand on our conversations with Henry thanks to “Family Day”!  It works both ways because the teachers and aides get the connection and communication as well.  Connecting = Success!

 

Here is a look at Science Day!

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There were many neat stations to visit!  We made a rainbow with a huge coffee filter, markers and ice to show how the ice melts and the colors blend.  Colors blend to make new colors, and ice goes from solid to liquid!  It’s magic!

 

3     Truly fascinating!     2

There were scales to see how much various items weighed.  The balance scale showed which item was heavier or lighter.  Of course we made predictions before we measured!

scienceYet another station was all about the fabulous world of fossils and rocks, another station WAS ALL ABOUT HEALTH!  (I used to be a middle school health teacher in WNY)!  This station above was set up to show which items float and sink!  Let’s make a prediction– then try it out!

Stay tuned for the next post on Family Day!  We had some “creepy and colorful” stories and snacks!  Excellent job to the staff of Garehime Elementary School’s Pre-K program!

 

Aliens Have Landed!

Parties are FUN!  But they used to be very tricky, and sometimes completely upsetting for Henry.

Social situations can always be hard for kiddos with ASD; But I continued to help his development in this area — always trying to get him through the “tough spots”.  We would go to every single party and celebration we were ever invited to – even if Henry could only tolerate 10 minutes.  Noise, “strangers”, and singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY would always spark a tantrum.  One time I couldn’t even get Henry in to the door of a party for his good friend (Caitlin).  We just sat on the sidewalk outside and he cried and cried and cried.  Once in — we would participate in intervals;  Sitting and looking for 10 minutes, then taking a break, walking out and about for 10 minutes, then returning in, and so on.

Fast forward to 2015…at about 40 social gatherings later, he has worked his way up to participating fully — with no fear and no tears.  There is a little exception though — he has to HIDE when the crowd sings HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  Actually… a lot of parents have told me this has happened to their child with or without ASD!

After a couple of parties we just went to… I could tell Henry wanted a very special party of his own.  His birthday was approaching, and Henry would drop hints and even talk about it with me.  I got the feeling that a special party would be better than any toy we could buy him.  Henry chose the alien theme; I loved it!  Green aliens for the green month of March!  I wondered if he would let us sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Let’s get started!

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invitations

I put an extra spark into the invites.  I used silver glitter glue to accent the party info, and also glued an alien to the front.

Preparation:

I gave more green aliens and “alien gems” to Seth — as he found a brand new (yummy) cupcake bakery near by.  They made our order with my toppers!

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alien cupcakes

Seth pre-ordered the dinner and I bought the party supplies…

…including extra candles.  It’s a good thing I did.  I handed Seth the red sparkly “5” candle to put in the cake, and he broke it while taking it out of the wrapper.  Too much muscle!  Whoops!

I booked some talent!

Our sweet friend Hannah (who is 10 years old) has been teaching herself how to make balloon animals.  We asked her parents if we could ‘hire’ her to come and help with the party, make balloon creations for the kiddies, and also just have fun.

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Hannah made awesome balloon creations!

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What to wear?  I made custom Alien shirts for a few of us!

 

Set Up:

Our backyard is small — so I had to make good use of our SPACE!

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alien photo backdrop

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 Hey, it’s the month of “March Madness” — we need some alien b-ball!

More fun….

Activities to do with the kiddies:  

1)  Make an Alien “snow” Globe.  We used jars, glitter and some other “stuff”.  The kids loved it!  They looked something like this, only we used plastic jars to be safe!

globe

 

2)  Crack open geodes (but we called them MOON rocks or ALIEN rocks just to be silly).

DSC_9039  Daddy helped a lot!      ryan2

3)  Take some pictures outside in front of a SPACE themed backdrop.  Kids can use the props and take goofy photos!

(props)  DSC_8991     nikhil

 

4) Create some EERIE sounds and music (with Seth’s equipment) at our theremin station!

theremin

at first this scared Henry — good thing we warmed up earlier in the day!

Have some cake, sing, and blow out the candles!

DSC_9043        aliencake hugs  Henry gave Seth the biggest HUG after his HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG!  THIS WAS HIS FIRST time EVER he participated in it.  He was amazing!  We were so proud!

 

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There were several times when the kids retreated to the bedroom and kind of got crazy as if they were in a mosh pit!  Expect the unexpected with boys parties!  Hannah was great — she made sure no one got hurt.

 

 

 

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Drinks and (green) watergate salad had a special “out of this world” touch…just because.

I also had this “COLOR AN ALIEN” activity just in case — it was a so cute!  Henry’s friend brought her little sister and all of the girls really likes this!

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color an alien

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Super fun — it WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD!

 

Vegas Valentines

I joined a “Mommy Group” that mainly meets up on weekends to try to make new Las Vegas friends!  Our first meeting was really great… Super nice ladies, very diverse backgrounds, and very cute kids similar in age to Henry.  Henry was so busy playing on the playground structures though — he didn’t connect too tightly just yet.  Henry just gets so excited to play on the slides and tunnels and swings, he just can’t help himself!  Joining this group gets me better acquainted to new Vegas family-friendly-fun activities, and to Las Vegas itself.

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Valentine’s goodies

Tomorrow we are going back at it for a Valentines themed park party.  I wanted to make goodie bags because goodie bags really let me use my creativity and imagination.

Here’s how I made them:

Party City:

I bought clear party bags, and small paper heart doilies.

World Market/Cost Plus:

I picked up Old Fashioned small Valentine cards (I didn’t use the small envelopes that came with them), pink and red paper ribbon, small cinnamon heart candy (2 small bags), one bag of small foil-wrapped chocolate hearts.

Whole Foods:

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1 bag of Natural mini marshmallows, and a small bag of natural jelly beans in Bulk Foods (strawberry and pomegranate).

 

 

 

 

IMG_0350       So the kiddies will get a small treat (NUT-FREE) of about 13-15 marshmallows, a few cinnamon hearts, a few jelly beans, one chocolate heart, and the cute doily and old fashioned small card — with LOTS of pretty ribbon.  Overall — not too much of a calorie splurge; The cinnamon hearts probably have some kind of weird chemical in them — but everything else should be OK.  I actually remember eating those small cinnamon hearts when I was in grade school — so I had to throw them in just for the fun of it!  I made about 20 bags.  I didn’t sign the cards because I didn’t want ink mixing in with the treats.  It was a fun evening activity with Henry too!  Although he ate a lot of marshmallows, and left most of the work for me!