Lego Batman Birthday Party

This year’s birthday theme was Lego Batman,and  it was the funnest parties I’ve planned yet! Although it was a challenge to find Lego Batman-specific decorations and the like, it forced me to be more creative, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. And, everything got rave reviews from the kids…which is the most important part, isn’t it?

Lego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm Home

One of the funnest aspects of planning this party was coming up with creative food labels. I knew I wanted to do a candy bar this year, so candy-themed Batman names were the challenge. We started with Two-Face pretzels. Here, I used Flipz chocolate covered pretzels, melted down some white chocolate candy melts and dipped half the pretzel in. Tada! Two-Face Pretzels!

Lego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm HomeNext was Joker’s dynamite, because everyone knows Joker likes to blow things up, right? I designed the labels, which are available in my Etsy store. Keep an eye out for a tutorial on these in the next couple days!

Lego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm Home

Next, we had Poison Ivy vines, which consisted of Sour Punch straws. Easy, peasy!

Lego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm HomeAnd what Lego party would be complete without some Lego gummies. These were the most time consuming part of the planning process. I purchased the gummy molds from Amazon, and took a cue from SFHandyMan over at Instructables on how to make these fun candies. Lego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm HomeLego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm HomeI also found some fun hard Lego candies that are actually buildable bricks as well. These were purchased on Amazon as well, and were a HUGE hit. Everyone loved eating and playing with these (even the adults)! The candy bar also featured black, yellow and blew sixlets and some candy coins, all purchased at Party City. The building-shaped candy holders were from Oriental Trading Company.IMG_5708

I also purchased some fun Lego masks, superhero masks and bracelets from Oriental Trading as well. I love that place!Lego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm Home

The treat bags featured a Lego Bat Symbol, which I made. I plan on including a tutorial on that in the coming days as well, so check back!Lego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm Home

And finally, the cupcakes. Just simple white and chocolate with yellow powdered sugar icing. The wrappers were purchased at Hobby Lobby and the toppers were designed by me. You can purchase the printable version at my Etsy store!Lego Batman Birthday from Hunny I'm Home

 

Pre-K Homeschooling: Advanced Dinosaur Unit

I took a brief hiatus from blogging for the summer, but now that we’re settled back into a routine, I’m back! My little guy started half-day preschool a couple of weeks ago, so we’ve been adjusting our schedule and trying to figure out what works best for us. Even though he’s in school now, he’s already far beyond anything he’s learning while he’s there, so I decided to continue our program at home as well…especially since he’s been asking to do it anyway!

wpid-imag2038.jpgRight now he is OBSESSED with dinosaurs, so I’m using that to my advantage and creating a unit focused on dinosaurs. He especially loves learning the dinosaur’s technical names and scientific facts related to them so I’m trying to work that stuff into the basic preschool-type worksheets we’re used to.

I created an uppercase/lowercase matching printable with dinosaur graphics, as well as a set of printable outlines that we used in our fossil hunt. To use the outlines like we did, just print two sets (one on white cardstock and one on a colored paper). Then, cut along the outline of the cardstock dinosaurs, and cut each dinosaur into pieces (head, tail, spikes, feet, etc.). I buried these pieces in a pan of unpopped popcorn because you know how much my little guy loves digging in that stuff(!), but you can just lay them out on the table as well. Ask your child to match the cut out pieces with the pictures printed on colored paper and tell them they’re piecing together dinosaur fossils!

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You can download the letter matching activity here.

And the dinosaur outlines here.

I also found a ton of fun activities online. Here are some of the things we did this week:

Bat Pumpkin Dinosaur letter matching (distinguishing between lowercase b, p and d)

Dinosaur emergent reader

Dinosaur Make Ten (addition activity)

Dinosaur letter tile cards 

Dinosaur three-part cards 

Dinosaur printable pack (from 3 Dinosaurs)

We also used this great book from National Geographic to learn more about the different species of dinosaurs.

Preschool Road Trip Activities

We’re gearing up for vacation, and since we have a 10-hour drive to Destin coming up, I’ve been searching the internet for activities that will keep my four-year-old engaged during the trip. I found tons of great ideas (thanks to Pinterest!), so I thought I’d share a few of there here.

Printable Car Games from 123Homeschool4Me

Road Trip Binder from Glue Stick Blog

Disney Printables from Spoonful

I Spy Printable from All Our Days

Portable Travel Kit Ideas from Fun At Home With Kids

Mater’s Highway Bingo from Disney Family

Marvel Printables at Marvel Kids

Ocean Mazes from Kids Activity Blog

Beach Printable Pack from Gift of Curiosity

Beach I Spy Printable from The Pleasantest Thing

I Spy Games from Preschool Printable Activities

Gluten Free Menu Planning: Chicken Tacos, Red Lobster Biscuits and Porcupines

I’ve been gluten free for a few months now, but I’m the only one in my family who can’t eat gluten. I’ve found a few basic dinner meals that we can all eat together (tacos, burgers, steaks, etc.), but most of the time I find myself making two separate meals or just going without myself. I’m tired of this!

So, I decided to scour Pinterest for some new dinner ideas that we can all eat together. Each week I’ll post a link to a few recipes I’m going to try based on stuff my family likes, as well as what’s on sale at my local grocery store (Kroger). I might even include some deal ideas if I’m feeling generous!

Then, at the end of the week, I’ll post a follow-up discussing the hits and misses from that week’s recipes.

This week, I’ve chosen to try these three dishes (in addition to some regular staple dinners):

slow cooker chicken

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken: I plan to use this recipe from Running to the Kitchen for tacos or maybe nachos.

Porcupine meatballs

Porcupines: I plan on making a few changes to the Allrecipes recipe, including subbing half the ground beef with ground turkey, so I’ll post my updated version later this week. I’ll serve this with some homemade mashed potatoes and zucchini.

Cheese Garlic Biscuits

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits: I haven’t found a gluten-free bread that I like, but I miss these delicious biscuits, so I’m going to give this one a try. I’ll probably serve these on pasta night. I just ordered a veggie spiralizer, and can’t wait to use it to make some zucchini spaghetti!

I’m easing into this plan with only three recipes this week. Keep an eye out for the results at the end of the week! And feel free to let me know if you have any gluten-free recipes that your whole family loves in the comment section!

Summer Travel with the Family: Kansas City

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Kansas City, Missouri, is a great place to take your family this summer.  There are so many family-friendly options all over the city, but we spent most of our time downtown…mainly in two places. One of the great things about things about the area we stayed in was the air-conditioned tunnel system that connected our hotel, The Westin, to the Crown Center and Union Station.  Although we spent most of our time here, we had plenty to do!

Crown Center

This place is a must with the kids.  It’s filled with an endless array of fun options, including an aquarium, Legoland Discovery Center and the Hallmark Kaleidoscope center. The center also has rotating free exhibits centered on fun activities for kids.  When we visited, Curious George was the focus. The Crown Center also has a ton of fun dining options.  Our favorite was Fritz’s Railroad, where you order is delivered via train! The Crayola Café also looked like a fun option. We spent a couple days perusing the Crown Center because there was so much to do there. Check out everything the Crown Center offers here.

Union Station

This was another great space to spend some time. Since the building was originally a train station, built in 1914, the architecture alone is something to behold. But that’s not all this place has to offer! Inside is Science City http://www.unionstation.org/sciencecity, one of the more fun science centers we’ve seen (and if you haven’t noticed from my past posts, we’ve seen a lot!). The exhibits are very unique and offer something for every age. The KC Rail Experience is another fun activity that my little one rally enjoyed. In addition to a detailed model train exhibit, the train museum also has an exhibit on the history of the railway and full-sized engines and train cars to climb in and enjoy. Union Station also has a very nice IMAX theater showing the latest 3D movies. Learn more about Union Station here.

Dining

We venture away from the hotel to eat, and every place we went was great!  First was Grinders. Featured on Drive-ins, Diners and Dives, Grinders is a pizza place known for its New-York-style pizzas and authentic Philly cheesesteaks.  We ordered a pizza and it did not disappoint.  A visit to KC isn’t complete without barbeque so we picked Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue and it was ah-maz-ing.  And finally, for the little guy, we traveled to Kansas to eat at T-Rex, and he LOVED it.

Making Summer Learning Fun: Pirate Treasure Hunt

We continued our summer school fun with a pirate week, upon my little one’s request.  We have complete several pirate-themed units, so I had to recycle some of our sit-down activities.  But I was able to find a few new worksheets to keep things interesting.

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I found several fun worksheets and games on Twinkl, including a pirate addition sheet, pirate dot-to-dot, pirate create-a-face, and pirate tic-tac-toe.  We also used some pages from pirate printable packs at Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1.  I also created some pirate see and spell words to use with letter tiles.

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Our fun activity this week came from Fun A Day: exploding pirate treasure chests!  To make the fizzing chests, I mixed baking soda and water to create paste, then added some lemon Jell-O to add coloring and scent.  Lemon wasn’t a good choice because the color wasn’t very vibrant, but was the only flavor I had in the pantry.  Make sure you use plenty of baking soda to get the fizzing effect.  Once you have your mixture ready, pour it into an ice cube tray, add the “treasure” (we used pennies and plastic jewels) and freeze.

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Then, use vinegar to fizz the ice from the treasure or hot water to melt it away.

Here are a few other pirate-related activities to keep learning during the summer:

Sinking Ship experiment from Kids Activities Blog

Magic Treasure Rocks from Growing a Jeweled Rose

Sink or Float? Pirate Style from Science Sparks

Summer Travel with the Family: Nashville

We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Nashville because we had to work our trip around gymnastics class and t-ball games, but we find some fun things to do for everyone in the family.

Opry Mills Outlet Mall

We’re not much of a mall family, but this outlet mall was right down the road from our hotel and looked like an interesting place to spend our first evening after a long car ride. We were not disappointed! This place had something for everyone…Coach and Kate Spade outlets for mom, Bass Pro Shop for dad, and a huge Lego store for the little one. And the restaurant offerings do not disappoint either.  We opted for Rainforest Café, but other fun places available were Aquarium, Johnny Rockets and Dave & Busters.  Check out everything the mall has to offer here.

Nashville Flea Market and Antique Archeology

This part of the trip was definitely for me. The flea market is amazing, and I fully intend to go back without the little one so I can spend more time perusing the endless buildings and pavilions full of unique “junk.” The flea market is held the third weekend of every month at the Nashville Fair Grounds.  Find out more here. We also visited American Pickers’ second home, Antique Archeology Nashville, during our trip.  While the site seems more like a museum than a store, it was still fun to look at all the antiques and search for items you watched Mike and Frank purchase on the History Channel show.  Check out more about the store and its hours here. Be prepared to get to the store early or wait in linewpid-imag1832.jpg…this is a popular attraction!

Adventure Science Center

This place really makes learning fun.  It has several exhibits, including BodyQuest and Space Chase, as well as several interactive play/learning stations. The best part of this center is the giant jungle gym that climbs the height of the building, with plenty of slides, stairs and ladders along the way. Learn more about the center’s exhibits here.

Puckett’s Grocery

This historic restaurant and grocery is family-friendly during lunch and dinner hours, and offers live music later in the evening.  It’s a must-eat when in downtown Nashville. The menu features down-home cooking and the atmosphere is relaxed. In addition to great food, the kids will have fun checking out the unique décor covering the walls.  Check it out here.

Since we were only in town two days, there were several activities we didn’t get to check out.  Here are some other places I researched but didn’t have time for during this visit:

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage 

Belle Meade Plantation

Country Music Hall of Fame