Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Elf on the Shelf brings Gifts, Treats, and Fun

We had fun with our Elf on the Shelf last Christmas season. And sometimes (not everyday! don't worry) our Elf liked to bring a fun gift, toy, treat, etc. The gifts usually provided a fun winter activity for me and my daughter and also made very useful props for the Elf. (Sorry about my poor quality of photos)

The following are Elf on the Shelf ideas involving gifts, toys, and treats the Elf brings along. An Elf on the Shelf  'shopping list' is also listed along with the photos.

For some fun and creative Elf on the Shelf ideas that just use things that you have laying around the house, follow this link:

And for some quick and easy last minute Elf on the Shelf ideas, follow this link:
To Buy: A bag of Christmas M&Ms
Naughty little Elf getting into the bag of M&Ms. The hardest part of all this was my kids wanting to snack on the candy all day, but didn't want to touch the Elf.
To Buy: A Christmas paint box and book to color.
(Or a box and crayons and coloring book would work too)
The next few days my daughter had fun painting lots of winter schemes in her new book. 
To Buy: A new Christmas storybook
(or you could get some books from the library, with a note to return them for him when you're done enjoying the stories)
My daughter loved her new book, I think we read it every night before bed or nap up until Christmas!
To Buy: Christmas Sticker
This naughty Elf got stickers all over himself! My daughter loves stickers. This sticker book was a lot of fun for months to follow (it had over 600 stickers!) and provided many quiet moments in the car and at church.
To Buy: An advent calendar. Actually 2 advent calendars.
One calendar for the Elf, he opens all the windows and eats all the chocolate. A second advent calendar for my daughter for the remainder of the season. And this elf idea was used on the first of December.

To Buy: Kiddie safety scissors
The Elf made snowflakes and was holding the new safety scissors. The next day my daughter and I made her first paper snowflakes, it was a fun winter activity. Also, my daughter uses the scissors weekly and is working on her fine-motor skills.
To Buy: Candy Canes
The Elf left a note to find the hidden candy canes. There were candy canes hidden all over the house; taped near the stockings, in the doorways, on the fridge, in the blinds, etc. It was so fun for my daughter to find the candy canes throughout the day (and even some the following days too)

Quick and Easy Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf is way fun and my kids loved it and I would get excited about fun, new ideas to do with him too. But I am a very busy person and sometimes it's late and I am just too tired to do something extra fun and cute with our family Elf. Or it's early in the morning and I forgot to do something the night before. Here is a list of my quick and easy Elf on the Shelf ideas. (Sorry about my extremely poor quality of photos).
The following are quick and simple last minute ideas for the Elf on the Shelf.
To find some fun and creative Elf ideas with things that you already have around the house, follow this link:
And for some fun Elf on the Shelf ideas where the Elf brings a treat, gift, or toy you can follow this link:





Elf on the Shelf

We have a special little Elf at our house around the holidays, his name is Ooooooh (that's what you get when a 2-year-old names the family Elf.....). Last year was our first year doing the Elf on the Shelf, it was so much fun but I can see how coming up with ideas for the Elf for the next X-amount of years could be difficult, so I wanted to share some of my ideas with others here because I appreciate when others do the same. (I apologize for the poor quality of photos, most are from my old phone).

The following are some Elf on the Shelf ideas that I thought were really fun and were just done with things that were readily lying around the house.

To find some quick and easy last minute Elf ideas, follow this link:

And for some fun Elf on the Shelf ideas where the Elf brings a treat, gift, or toy you can follow this link:

As part of our Elf on the Shelf tradition, Oooooh the Elf makes breakfast for my kids the first morning that he shows up. Here are mini-pancakes, mini-donuts, and an 8-oz can of Sprite. The spatula is from our toy kitchen.

Here is the Elf with hairbows clipped all over him, peeking out of the bow drawer.
This one was our favorite. This is a little potty that came with a potty doll, I placed it on top of the toilet in our powder room. And of course, a Hershey Kiss makes excellent 'Elf Poop'.
Again, on the toilet, hiding in the toilet paper rolls.
Again, on the top of the toilet (the bathroom was a great place that the Elf wasn't in the way too much and it wasn't too temping to want to touch him in there) Ooooooh has an 'owie', Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment.
 I used my kids' washcloths to wrap the Elf up. I put a hair elastic around the bottom the washrags to hold the towel turban in place and the keep the towel around his body.
I hung Elf on the mirror with snowflakes and kiddie scissors. Then the next day my daughter and I made her first paper snowflakes together. It was a fun winter activity inspired by the Elf.
This is Ooooooh and one of my daughter's toy dolls getting busy under the mistletoe :) I have them on top of a chalkboard so they could be under the mistletoe, but not anywhere in the way or too tempting to touch the Elf.
Here is the Elf in a microwave popcorn box with a TV remote and the Kindle on Netflix. The Elf was watching a Barbie cartoon (he loves the ladies.) I would do this again in front of TV that wasn't used much throughout the day. And my kids enjoyed the popcorn the next day too.
 The Elf is wrapped up in a doll blanket, to stay warm obviously, and was inside the fridge. This was super fun when my daughter found him in the fridge in the morning.
On this morning, the Elf left a note that he had hidden candy canes all over the house. They were taped near the stockings, in the doorways, on the fridge handle, etc. It was super fun when my daughter found them throughout the day. (She also used to have trouble eating her dinner, so he included in that in his note also, of course).
                                        FIND THE CANDY CANES

And this is just for fun, but I call it an S'elfie'


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Teddy Bear Picnic

My daughter wanted a Teddy Bear Picnic for her 3rd Birthday Party. This was actually one of the easiest and most inexpensive big parties that I have done. And it was super fun. The kids loved it too! They were told on the invites to bring their favorite 'stuffed friend' as their guest to this fun Teddy Bear Picnic.
A lot of my decorations came from my local dollar store. It was easy to just get lots of things in the gingham (picnic table cloth) print and anything with teddy bears. This Teddy Bear Picnic was toward the end of the Summer, but I started picking up picnic stuff at the beginning of the Summer (and in the Spring) while it was still readily available. And I collected every teddy bear I had lying around the house and I borrowed teddy bears (mainly really large bears) from friends and family that had some and were gracious enough to let me borrow them.

 I made the Happy Birthday banner myself with my Cricut (scroll down to the bottom for directions for the banners). The cute little ants (ants at a picnic....) were from And I thought the burlap table runner was a nice touch over my gingham table cloth. I had lots of BBQ baskets full of different snacks and treats all over this fun table too. And of course, a copy of the classic book The Teddy Bears' Picnic. I also bought an album of children's teddy bears songs off i-Tunes that I had playing in the background through-out the party.

 I had fun with the food at this party. Obviously, I did picnic food! Sandwiches, chips, macaroni salad, veggies, and my baked potato salad. I get so many compliments on my baked potato salad and everyone asks for the recipe, you can follow the link below for the recipe.

 Baked Potato Salad Recipe:

And my favorite thing I did at the Teddy Bear Picnic was that I made cute individual picnic baskets for all the kids!

These were dollar store baskets with some cute gingham ribbon from the craft store and a checkered liner (the liners came with my BBQ baskets). I filled each basket with an Uncrustables sandwich, pack of Teddy Grahams, bear snack cup (from the dollar store, came in a set of 2 snack cups) filled with Honeycomb cereal, and a bag of gummy bears. The kids loved these! They showed up at the party with their stuffed animal friend, grabbed their own picnic basket and fun drink, and went out to sit in the yard and have a picnic.

I bought a case of 24 empty honey bears off for only $15 to use for the kids' drinks. The fun straws are from Walmart. I had a dispenser of juice and a Sharpie marker nearby to fill up these bears and to write each kid's name on their drink.
Even my baby loved having her own juice bear!
And of course, snacks and treats! They had to be bear-related!
 Teddy Grahams! Every flavor, in their own baskets, all over the party!

Honeycomb Cereal

 Cinnamon Bears

 Gummy Bears
These popcorn bags aren't bear-related, but they were in my party colors and on sale, and my birthday girl just happens to loooooove popcorn! And we displayed the popcorn in a picnic basket and the cake was displayed on a picnic basket.
And these adorable Bear Claw No-Bake Cookies that my best-friend made for the party! They were so freaking cute and delicious! (No-Bake Cookies with almonds for the claws).
And the CAKE!

This cake was made by the AMAZING Sprinklebelle Cakes, who makes all my cakes! You can find her and her incredible cake-making at . She is in Utah and I  highly recommend her to everyone. You can see some of the other cakes she has made for some of my parties here:
Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake and Smash Cake
Pink Lemonade Cake and Smash Cakes
And of course we had to go outside for our picnic. I had more gingham tablecloths outside with different centerpieces. Baskets and tins came from the dollar store and I got cheap mums from the grocery store to put in the baskets with a teddy bear.

 More BBQ baskets full of snacks on all the tables.

I was planning on setting up really large teddy bears as if they were having picnics and making it all cute so that kids could take pictures with the big bears, but we had a huge thunderstorm the night before the party and my lawn was mostly flooded. My other best-friend Adrienne did a fantastic job setting the big bears up even cuter than I could have imagined.

 This teddy bear was HUGE!! He was seriously bigger than me! He was holding a picnic basket full of teddy bear puppets (from the dollar store) that I sent home with the kid's as party favors (in addition to their picnic baskets too).

We put a tarp down over the driest patch of my lawn, with picnic blankets on top and a sunshade over it for the kid's picnic area. I made another cute banner that read 'Riley's Picnic' on the sunshade too. All the kids and their stuffed friends sat together and had a big picnic!

This ended up being the best Teddy Bear Picnic that I have ever been to! It was so much fun for the kids, cute for the adults, and my 3-year-old daughter still talks about her birthday party everyday! It was also easy and (fairly) cheap!


P.S. Quick banner tutorial. I made a 'Happy Birthday' banner, a 'Riley's Picnic' banner and a couple of cute decorative banners with the leftover paper I had.

I used the Cricut cartridge that came with my Cricut. I used the cutout for a tag. And then I cut out the letters I needed and placed them in the center. I used tan raffia from the dollar store to string them together. I used red, blue, and brown/white paper that matched my picnic colors.

Cake: Sprinkebelle Cakes
Photos: My best-friend Amy Lewin and her i-Phone. Amy also made the adorable Bear Claw No-Bake Cookies. She's an amazing friend.