Sunday, August 4, 2013


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer Cucumber Salad

This recipe has been around my family since I was a teenager.  I have no idea where it came from, I just know that when summer rolls around it is on my table!  It's the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, and did I mention is ridiculously easy to make?  You MUST try this recipe, you'll be hooked.

1 cucumber sliced thin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dill weed

The Method:
It's simple, slice the cucumber thin.  Mix the sugar, vinegar, salt, celery seed, and dill weed in a bowl.  Add in the cucumber and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night.

Could it be easier?! Grab it out of the fridge and enjoy!

<3, Sharla

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Balloon Dart Board Tutorial

I LOVE this project.  It is so fast, easy, and has a big pay off.  I made my dart board to use in conjunction with my punch board but this is a game that  can stand on its own.  You don't even need prizes!  What kid doesn't want to through sharp objects at something to try and make a balloon pop?  I mean, I wanna make one just for me!

What You Need:
-Board to staple on.  Below is a pic of the sticker on the board I used.  My hubby got it at Home Depot for pretty cheap.  It's a 2 foot by 4 foot composite board that was 1/8 inch thick.  Cheap and light weight.
-Balloons.  I blew up 30 balloons, but I could have really pushed it and gotten 10 more on the board if I wanted.
-Staple gun and short staples.  All people must have a hand operated staple gun.  This is what mine looks like...

Let's Get Started:

I played a game where the kids had to throw darts until they popped a balloon to get the number inside. So, I started by writing 1-30 on small pieces of paper.

Then I folded them small and stuck them in the balloon.  My original plan was to fill the balloons with small toys, but my husband pointed out how completely difficult that would be, and after putting numbers on papers into balloons and then blowing the balloon up, I see what he means.  Numbers on paper...easy, anything bigger...not easy.

Then blow up and tie.  My 11-year-old daughter loved helping with this part.

Looks like we're ready to staple.

Lay your board flat and start at one corner.  Use a short staple in your gun and staple the knot of the balloon to the board.  I did not try to make the balloons perfectly lined up, it seemed like a lot of effort for a look that wouldn't be noticed.  I just eyeballed it.

And, there you have it!  In the game I did, the kids took the number they got out of the balloon and had to punch that number on a punch board to get their prize (click here to see punch board tutorial or click the Crafting button at the top of the page).  It would also be fun to put clues in the balloons for a treasure hunt, or clues about what a big prize is.  Numbers can also designate order for hitting a piƱata or first choice in picking a prize.  Be creative, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

<3, Sharla

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Party/Game Ideas

Ok everyone, I know the last days of July are sliding past us, but summer isn’t over yet.  There is still plenty of time for fun outside with family and friends.  So I challenge you to have one more big party before school gets back in, and I have to games to make your party a hit.

Every year Amy M and her family have a 24th of July party.  What is the 24th of July, you ask?  It’s Pioneer day in Utah, the day this state was founded.  Another excuse to eat, celebrate and set off fireworks.  She has a great view of the professional kind from her yard so she has the party, and then everyone gets to watch the fireworks at the end.  It’s super fun.  But what's a party without food...


and FUN?!

Check out the cute signage Amy made...everything was labeled.  Drinks (to include specifying who can drink what...very important for under 21-ers), cupcakes, deserts...everything!  She just googled "4th of July printables" and then photo shopped them.

 Not to mention the sugar rimmed, chevron striped straws and mason jars for the drinks.  See them on the left?

The blue jug is full of home made root beer and how about the added detail of home popped popcorn in pre-made bags for watching the fireworks.  Adorable and delicious!

But I ask you, what's a party without games?  Every year Amy and her very cool husband, Kelly, set up an enormous slip-n-slide on the enormous hill beside their house.  All it is is a long sheet of plastic you buy at Home Depot, a sprinkler at the top, a few well placed tent stakes and dish soap.  You heard me, dish soap.  The kids played on this for hours.  The plastic sheeting is about $20 but they rinse it off every year, fold it up and its good to go for the next year to come.  Classic.

Bounce house?  Um, yes.

This game was a blast, and the kids "ate it up".  All you need are some paper plates, bubble gum, and a whole lot of whipped cream.  Every kid gets a plate.  Put an unwrapped piece of bubble gum on it and then cover that puppy as high as it will go with whipped cream.  Now they have to find the gum, with no hands!  Yes, we did prizes, the winner got a 4 pack of bubble gum, of course!

Here's an idea to keep kids a pack of water balloons with the nozzle that you hook up to the facet in the backyard and let the kids go crazy.  The kids all took turns working to fill up balloons for an epic battle for later in the night.  I bought special grenade water balloons for a classic balloon toss.  Everyone gets a partner and stands across from their partner and take turns tossing the balloon back and forth taking a step back every time they pass. You play until only one team has a balloon left.  Easy, fun, classic.

The last game we played was my favorite to make and the play.  It was balloon darts and punch board.  Wanna learn to make your very own balloon dart board, click here.  How about the punch board, click here.
I loved these two games because it took a little longer, and everyone got a prize.
Each balloon had a number in it....
 The kids threw darts until they popped a balloon and got their number...
 The numbers coordinated with numbers on these punch boards...
 They punch their number and get the prize inside.

Finally, at the end of the night everyone got glow sticks and they took their water balloon arsenal and had their epic water balloon battle in the dark.

A big thanks to Amy M and her husband Kelly for yet another fantastic 24th!
<3, Sharla

Want to make he punch board and/or balloon dark board?
Click PUNCH BOARD or BALLOON DARTS to visit the tutorial.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Punch Board Tutorial

This is one of the best games I have ever made.  I have used the punch board in primary (put scripture quotes in some holes, songs in others and stories in others), for class parties, and for summer parties.  Really, this thing could be used for kids and adults for a million different ideas.  I made two and used them both every time, the tutorial is for one board so double it up if you want two.

You Will Need:
-1 piece corrugated poster board (you know, the kind with the foam core, its with regular poster board, I’ve also seen this done with plywood)
-15 paper lunch sacks
-Elmer’s Glue
-Gift Paper or Tissue Paper

Let’s Do This:

1. Prepare the poster board.  I was able to get 5 holes across and 3 holes down for a total of 15 holes.  I did not grab a compass and protractor to accomplish this, I just found a bowl that was a good size and eyeballed it.  I traced the bowl on the board with a pencil for all of the circles and adjusted if one was too close or too far and, voila!  You're ready to cut.

I admit, cutting is the hardest and most time consuming part of this project.  You need your scissors to be good and sharp, and get to work.  It's going to be messy work.  Yes, the edges of the holes are going to be jaggedy, but its ok!  You can either go back and use a file to smooth them out or just leave them be.  I found that once the board is put together it wasn't noticeable.   

2. Now you've got holes, yay!  Time to make the "chambers" so you can put stuff in the holes.  I created this using paper lunch sacks.  A full lunch sack is too long to use and unnecessary, so I cut about 6 inches off of the top.  It's best to make sure to measure the same for every bag so you have a nice uniform project at the end.

Now we need to prepare the bags to be attached to the board.  Cut a 1 inch slit at the four corners of the bag so the end result looks like this:

See how the flaps are folded out?  Make a crease at to fold the flaps out, and place the bag mouth down over the top of your first hole.  My holes were slightly larger than the paper bag, no big deal.  I stretched the bag a little so the hole was completely covered.  I have repaired my boards many times and found the this part is best done using good old fashioned tape.  Tape each flap to the board.  Move onto the next hole and do the same.  If your taped flaps overlap, no big deal!  This is the back of the board, no one will see it.  :)

3.  Closing the holes is last and most fun.  Now pick your board up and take a look at the front...

Mine has a lot of color on the front because I have used this so many times, but you get the idea.  Small holes in the bags or gaps where you couldn't stretch the bag to are no big deal, you are ready to fill and close.  What are you going to put in there?  Like I said, I have actually used this as a teaching tool many times but today was a party so in go treats and small prizes.

Now we need to close them up.  Tissue paper is the best for this.  It is opaque so you can't see in and light weight so it's easy to break and easy to glue!  

Grab the same bowl or object you used to cut the holes, this is going to be our template for making the circles to glue on.  I fold my tissue paper into thirds so I'm cutting 3 circles at a time and lay the bowl on top.  I trace a circle around the bowl with a generous 1 inch boarder (that's for gluing).  Don't stress getting the circle perfect.  Just as long as you have an edge to glue down, it's not going to matter if it was a perfect circle.

Now cut and repeat until you have enough to cover all the holes.

This next part is fun, easy and quick.  Lay the board down flat on it's back and lay a line of Elmer's Glue all the way around the edge of the hole.

Lay your circle of tissue paper on top and smooth down until it is well adhered to the glue.

Move onto the next circle.  Don't stress if your circles overlap, just make sure the holes are getting covered.

Once you've done them all you are good to go.  Some ways that I have determined which holes to punch are to number them, or use certain colors of tissue to signify what's inside (red holes have candy, green holes have toys, or pink holes have a song to sing, blue holes have a scripture to read, ect). GET READY TO PARTY!

<3, Sharla