3 Themes for a Kid Friendly New Years Eve Party


Sometimes I think kids like New Years Eve more than adults. At least that’s what it seems like in our house. The kids get excited about staying up late, making noise, and watching the ball drop on New Years Eve. I usually want to go to bed early to recover from post-Holiday stress. However, if they are excited about it then let’s jump on their enthusiasm and celebrate.

It’s easier to plan a kid-friendly New Years Eve Party if you have a theme. Whether you celebrate with just your family or you invite some neighbors over, here are 3 easy themes and activities to keep the family occupied and laughing while you wait for midnight.

    Game Night
    Get out those new board games you got for Christmas or Hanukkah, find your old favorites in the closet or fire up the Wii for a little family competition. Definitely grab prizes like big boxes of movie theater candy, large chocolate bars, or my favorite, win coupons to get out of household chores. Click here for more ideas on planning a Family Game Night. Here are a few of my family’s favorite games that you can get from our affiliate Amazon:

    fladoodle

    Flapdoodle

    Mexican Train Dominoes

    5 Second Rule


    Family Pizza Party

    Pajama Pizza Party

    Why not have fun cooking together and sharing some laughs in the kitchen by making homemade pizza? If you have a great pizza recipe and a pizza stone, you are good to go. If not, here’s my family’s killer homemade pizza recipe. To make the evening more unique, have everyone wear their pajamas all night. Invite another family over and make it a kids/adult slumber party. Or set up a tent in the living room and the kids can watch the ball drop from inside the tent in their sleeping bags. Here are some more ideas on how to host a fun Pizza Party.


    Fancy Schmancy New Years Eve Dance Party

    Half the fun of New Year’s Eve is getting dressed up. Who loves dress up more than kids? It’s also fun to dance so why not combine these two into a Fancy Schmancy New Year’s Eve Party? Kids love watching their parents get dressed up for New Year’s Eve Parties, so let them share in the spotlight this year by dressing up in their fancy duds or their kooky dress-up clothes.

    If you are dressing up nice, think of it as a prom and decorate the room like your old high school dances with balloons and streamers on the ceiling. Or, for my daughter’s birthday party last year we had a Michael Jackson dance party. You can see how we decorated here.

    Turn the New Year’s countdown on the TV and let the kids dance along to the featured bands. Or set up an area in the house as a dance floor and spin the tunes. Create a playlist of the top dance hits of the previous year and groove those holiday feeding-frenzy calories away. Play Freeze Dance where every time you turn off the music the dancers have to freeze in their position. Get your video camera out because the video of your kids dressed up and dancing will be worth it!

Have a fun New Years Eve Party!

Tags: Family Celebrations · Holiday Celebrations

A Valentine’s Day Twist on a Classic Cookie


My husband and kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. I make them for birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions to show my family that I love them. And these cookies truly are an act of love because I hate peanut butter! So, I don’t even get to engage in my favorite cookie baking activity – licking the batter. What’s the point of baking cookies if you don’t get to lick the spoon, right? But that’s OK. It’s their favorite cookie and it’s an easy way to make them lip-smacking happy.

For Valentine’s Day this year though, I tried to shake it up a little. I wanted the cookies to fit in with the theme of the Holiday. So I made them pink and used Dove chocolate hearts instead of Hershey kisses.

I love baking these cookies with the kids because they can help out at almost any age. When they are little they can unwrap the chocolates and roll the dough balls in sugar. As they get a little older than can roll the balls themselves. Finally, now that my kids are tweens and teens, they know how to make them all by themselves and don’t need my help at all. How awesome is that!

Here’s the recipe:

Valentine’s Day Pink Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

1/2 c. butter (or we use Smart Balance spread and it works fine)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Pink food coloring paste
Dove Chocolate Hearts (milk or dark)


1. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, peanut butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed butter mixture. Add pink food coloring paste. I start with about a 1/4 tsp. of the paste and keep adding until I get the color I want.

3. Shape dough into balls the size of a quarter or walnut. (My husband likes a less cookie, more chocolate ratio so we make our cookies small.)

4. Roll balls in sugar.

5. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. While they are cooking, unwrap the chocolate hearts.

6. Top each cookie with one chocolate heart, pressing firmly into the center of the cookie. The cookies will crack and that is fine.

7. Bake for 2 to 5 minutes longer to soften the chocolate.

Makes about 36 cookies.

For more easy Valentine’s Day Treats that you and the kids can make for Dad, check out:

Cooking with the Kids: Valentine’s Day Chocolate Mousse

Valentine’s Day Heart Shaped Brownies

Chocolate Strawberry Pound Cake Hearts

Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Valentine's Day Family Fun Ideas

10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Groundhog Day with the Kids

Groundhog Day is coming soon and with the extreme cold and snow we’ve been having so far this year, I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to hear if we have 6 more weeks of winter. Well, even if you’re not, it’s still fun to watch Punxatawney Phil and dream about Spring. To help celebrate the Groundhog’s big day and have some fun with your family or the kids in your classroom, I’ve rounded-up 10 easy, cute craft ideas, recipes, and activities.


Cook Up Some Fun

    1. While you watch Punxatawney Phil on TV Groundhog Day morning, thrill the kids with these fun and easy Groundhog and His Shadow Pancakes. My kids and I made them and had a blast.

    2. Check out these incredibly creative Groundhog Day inspired recipes from the Gourmet Mom on the Go blog. I love the Groundhog sticking up out of the hot chocolate!

    3. Here’s a Groundhog Day fruit snack idea to treat the kids after school from Jill at the Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons blog.

    4. These Groundhog Pudding Cups look so cute and tasty from the Simple Girl blog.

    5. If you really want to go all out, these Groundhog Day Cupcake Push-Pops are so cool!



Pure Fun

    6. Since the day is all about seeing a shadow, why not play shadow puppets? Set up a white sheet a few feet away from a wall. Place a lamp behind the sheet near the wall. Have your kids take turns going behind the sheet and casting shadow puppets. Here’s a post I found on making a Shadow Puppet Theater that looks easy enough.

    7. Here’s an idea for a Felt Groundhog Day Finger Puppet from Skip to My Lou.

    8. For toddlers, you’ll love this template for cutting out and coloring a Groundhog and his shadow.

    9. The official Punxatawney Phil website has plenty of Groundhog Day Activities to do with the kids. I’m all over the Groundhog ornaments to print out and hang from a chandelier or indoor tree but the Word Searches and coloring pages are cute, too.

    10. Finally, if your kids are a little older, watch the Groundhog Day movie. We saw it again last weekend and my kids think it is hilarious. “Don’t drive angry!”


Do you do anything fun with your kids at home or in your classroom for Groundhog Day?


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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Family Fun Ideas · Holiday Celebrations

Fun Ideas for a Kid-Friendly New Years Eve Party

New Year's Eve party

Looking to ring in 2014 with some fun for your family? Personally, I prefer to go to bed early and sleep in on New Year’s Day to recover from the Holiday season. My kids however, like the idea of celebrating the arrival of the new year. So, we will PARTY. Since I’m usually running on empty by New Years Eve, I’ve put together some fun but easy ideas for staying home and celebrating in your family room with the kids.

GENERAL TIPS:

    Keep it low-key.
    You don’t need to go crazy cleaning the house, buying party favors, and cooking to have a fun New Year’s celebration. Keep the party ideas simple. Even if you just end up watching the countdown shows on TV with the kids, they’ll appreciate it.

    Make it a party.
    Definitely invite neighbors, family and friends with kids about the same age over to help celebrate. This keeps everyone off of the road, you can all watch the kids together, everyone can ooh and aah over your Christmas decorations one more time, and it saves on babysitter money. To keep it casual and easy, have everyone bring a dish to share. Start the party later so you don’t need to cook dinner, just have snacks and desserts. Invite the kids to come over in their pajamas so it’s casual, and parents won’t have to change their kids’ clothes if they fall asleep before going home. If that still seems daunting, remember, even if you only invite over one other family, it’s still a party and a chance to have some fun!

    Time is all relative.
    Even if you have small children, you can still ring in the new year together. Here’s a trick. If you have small children who might not make it to midnight, change the clocks in the house so that “midnight” hits around 9 or 10 p.m. The kids will feel like they got to stay up and celebrate and you will still be able to put them to bed at a decent time. Or have the kids at the party bring sleeping bags so they can go to sleep while the parents stay up and keep the party going.

    Pop in the Fun
    Kids love to make noise and New Year’s Eve is all about loud noise. Grab some inexpensive noise makers at your local Dollar Store or buy a roll of large bubble wrap. Give each kid a piece and let them “Pop it Up” at midnight while the adults pop open the champagne. Skip any confetti or streamers unless you want to spend the next day cleaning.

    Balloon Drop
    Another fun idea is to blow up balloons and “drop” them at midnight. Rig up a net in a corner of the basement or drop them over the balcony stairs. Kids will have fun popping the balloons and chasing them around.

    Re-Decorate Your Christmas Tree
    I loved this idea from a Mom who wrote in to Family Fun Magazine a few years ago. She had her children help her take the ornaments off the Christmas tree so that they could make a “New Year’s Tree.” They took all of the Christmas ornaments off of the tree but left the lights on. They then added curled ribbon, party horns, balloons — basically everything needed for a New Year’s Eve party for the children. What a fun and festive idea and you get a second use out of your Christmas tree! If you are planning on having people over to help celebrate New Year’s Eve, this is a perfect idea on how to decorate.

Hourly Activities
Since New Years Eve is all about time and counting down, why not create a new activity for the kids each hour? That way they stay amused, stay awake, and look forward to the next hour. The Red & Blonde Tangles blog had a wonderful idea for creating an activity bag for each hour. She printed a clock face and wrote the time on it, glued it to a brown paper bag, and when that time came around, the kids got to open the bag and either do the craft activity or eat the treat inside. Genius!

ACTIVITIES:

It’s easier to plan a party if you have a theme. Here are 3 easy themes and activities to keep the family occupied and laughing while you wait for midnight.


    Game Night
    Get out those new board games you got for Christmas or Hanukkah, find your old favorites in the closet or fire up the Wii for a little family competition. Definitely grab prizes like big boxes of movie theater candy, large chocolate bars, or my favorite, win coupons to get out of household chores. Click here for more ideas on planning a Family Game Night.

    Pajama Pizza Party

    Why not have fun cooking together and sharing some laughs in the kitchen by making homemade pizza? If you have a great pizza recipe and a pizza stone, you are good to go. If not, here’s my family’s killer homemade pizza recipe. To make the evening more unique, have everyone wear their pajamas all night. Invite another family over and make it a kids/adult slumber party. Or set up a tent in the living room and the kids can watch the ball drop from inside the tent in their sleeping bags. Here are some more ideas on how to host a fun Pizza Party.

    Fancy Schmancy New Years Eve Party

    Half the fun of New Year’s Eve is getting dressed up. Who loves dress up more than kids? It’s also fun to dance, so why not combine these two into a Fancy Schmancy New Year’s Eve Party? Kids love watching their parents get dressed up for New Year’s Eve Parties, so let them share in the spotlight this year by dressing up in their fancy duds or their kooky dress-up clothes.

    You don’t have to go to a club to hear the latest bands and dance on New Years. Pick a theme and host a kid’s prom at home. Turn the New Year’s countdowns on the TV and let the kids dance along to the featured bands. Or set up an area in the house as a dance floor and spin the tunes. Create a playlist of the top dance hits of the past year and groove those holiday feeding-frenzy calories away. Get your video camera out because the video of your kids dressed up and dancing will be worth it!

Whatever you decide to do, have a safe and wonderful New Years Eve with your family. We look forward to sharing more simple, creative and memorable Family Fun ideas with you in 2014, so we can all have more Chocolate Cake Moments.

For more Family or Kid-Friendly party ideas check out my New Years Eve Party board on Pinterest.

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Tags: Kids Parties

Happy Halloween!

Since Halloween and Dia de los Muertos are two of my favorite Holidays, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween! Have fun with your families this weekend. (Psst! This was our costume at a Halloween party last weekend. I’ll put up a post next week on how easy it was to put this couples costume together.)

Want to learn more about Dia de los Muertos? It’s not scary and the sentiment behind the Holiday is something I think every family should celebrate. Here are some great books that explain the Dia de los Muertos Holiday to your kids. Then, here’s what you need to know to start a tradition of celebrating Dia de los Muertos with your family.

Tags: Kids Halloween Party