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The Noon Year’s Eve Celebration (that wasn’t)

Noon Years Eve for Kids

Below is a picture of my sister and I banging pots and pans at midnight for New Year’s when we were just 1 and 2 (I’m the super cute one on the right that appears to have no nose). No doubt this was my dad’s idea and I’m sure my mom was thrilled with the idea of having 2 toddlers up that late at night. Thrilled. 😉

1982 New Years Eve

Unlike my father and my long-suffering mother, I have absolutely no desire to have my little ones up past 8pm, let alone midnight. So, last year I set up a New Year Tree in preparation for a Noon Year’s Eve Celebration with my children and my nephew.

New Years for kids

BUT…I never finished the tree (nor was there any party) because I got the stomach flu. Then Adaline finished off the New Year by waking up puking in the middle of the night. All three kids continued to be some version of sick on and off for over a week. I finally gave up the idea of having a party, took pics of my kids in their tuxedo shirts and took down the tree.

I decided to share my party plans with you anyway (complete with pinnable images that don’t tell the whole story) because the concept is still good…if you’re not puking. Or maybe I’m just a poser. Either way…

Dollar Store New Year Tree

I got all of these “decorations” at the Dollar Tree half-off (December 2012). There are silver, gold, red, and green tinsel ornaments of various shapes, and while they’re kinda tacky, I really love their almost vintagey look. I also added some beaded necklaces and party blowers from the Dollar Tree. I was going to add balloons, paper clocks, and top it off with a sparkly top hat but I never got the chance before I got sick 😦

Here’s what it looks like in my mind (thank you, PicMonkey):
(…and yes, in my mind the paper clocks would’ve all been set to the same time and have an incorrect amount of dots rather than numbers. Shut up.)
The New Year Party that wasn't

To countdown to noon, I was going to write various times on the balloons and put a piece of paper in them with an activity written on it. Every hour (or half-hour) we would pop a balloon and then do an activity on that balloon.

Here are some of the things I planned on doing:
-Fill out interview sheets and/or do a video interview for a time capsule
-Make handprints to put in a time capsule
-Have a Dance Party
-Fun with Glow sticks
-Fun with Bubbles
-Fun with Silly string
-Bubble Wrap Stomp
-Balloon Drop at noon

Other fun things:
-Wear tuxedo shirts
-Drink apple juice in plastic champagne glasses

I wanted to keep the “activities” simple but fun. Also, my nephew likes to move around and I didn’t want to plan a bunch of crafts that he would quickly lose interest in. The kids were 3.5 and younger last year so simple things like bubbles and glow sticks were would’ve been a lot of fun to them.

New Years Tuxedo Shirts

I thought it would be fun to “dress up” for New Year’s Eve/Day by sporting some super classy tuxedo t-shirts. Classy, fancy, funny! 😉
Top hats, tiaras, and boas would also be fun!

Apple juice in plastic champagne glasses is a “big deal” for my kids because they almost always drink water, so juice is a treat. Although the entire idea is a tad ironic considering that we adults don’t drink alcohol at all, so we don’t even own real champagne glasses. I actually have two child sized champagne glasses that were given to me and my sister when we were flower girls in my aunt’s wedding. We were always so excited when we got to drink out of the “fancy” glasses and I look forward to when my kids are old enough to be trusted with them too.

Will there be a Noon Year’s Eve Party for 2013-2014?!
No. Luckily we’re all puke-free, but my nephew got sick again.
Maybe we’ll try tomorrow. Or next year. Or when they’re in college…


How does your family celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Let me know in the comments!



Half Birthday Celebrations

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Yesterday was Adaline’s Half Birthday!
She turned 3.5 🙂

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I’ve always wanted to celebrate her half birthday but never have before. When she was younger I didn’t really want her to have the extra cake…and without the half-cake it seems kinda pointless to celebrate the half birthday. Last year I was super pregnant so we skipped it again.

This year seemed like the right time to start. Jonathan’s first birthday is a few days away (can you believe he’s already a year old?!) and Adaline was a little jealous and having a hard time understanding that this is not her birthday, or party, or cake. Giving her a little half-birthday celebration was something special for her before all of the focus shifts to Jonathan.

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We celebrated with half of a cake, 3 and a half candles, and half plates.
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We also sang Adaline “Halfie Birthday”.
It still sounds like “happy”. Oh well.

(Email and feed readers click here to watch the video.)

At the end of the video she’s running away from the candle smoke. She told us to “Get that stinky thing outta here!”

Adaline received half of a birthday card and a small present from the dollar store. We gave her the whole present. Only giving half of a present to a 3.5 year old would be a little cruel since she doesn’t quite understand it yet.

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She was happy with her little celebration but she did get upset because there weren’t any balloons and she asked, “Where are all the people?”. All of those big birthday parties are coming back to haunt me.

In addition to measuring height on their birthday each year it has also been our tradition to measure height on each half birthday. Now I know why none of her clothes fit anymore!
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Look how grown up she looks after just 6 months!
2012-2013 Adaline 3.5yo

This half-birthday took me less than a half hour to plan 😉 All it took was a trip to the dollar store and making/buying a small cake.
(The cake looks deceiving big in the photos…it was very small.)
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The scary part is that I only have 6 more months to plan her 4th birthday party!

Do you celebrate half birthdays in your family?
Let me know in the comments!


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How to Make Shadow Puppets (Links)

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If you’d like to learn to make shadow puppets with your hands, shadow puppets with paper, or a shadow puppet theater…try one of the many links below. Shadow puppets are a great activity for Groundhog Day or Halloween and kids love them!

Click here for more Groundhog Day ideas

If you need to get your room completely dark during the day, check out my review for the awesome room darkening shades Blackout EZ Window Covers!

Hand Shadow Puppets*
The most difficult hand puppet subject may be accomplished after only a few minutes.

*Fun with Shadows for Home Entertainers (Jan, 1930) @ Modern Mechanix
This feature explains how anyone can cast the shadows of sixteen different figures, an accomplishment which will provide many full evenings of entertainment for either children or adults.

*How to Make Shadow Puppets @
Teach your kids to have fun without their toys by bringing shadows to life. See how to make a dog, swan, and bunny rabbit with nothing but your hands, light, and a little imagination.

*Shadowy Days @ Little Page Turners
I stretched a sheet between two chairs, placed a naked lamp on the ground, and voila! We had ourselves a shadow puppet stage.
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*Hand Shadows @ Apples 4 the Teacher
What a delightful way to expand on the concept of the Groundhog’s shadow – teach children how to make their own shadow characters! These can be made in front of an overhead projector or behind a hanging sheet with a light source.
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*Showy Shadow Puppets @ Disney
Animal Hand Shadow Tips: Puppy Face, Spider, Goose, Elephant Head
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Paper Shadow Puppets*Kid Craft: Make a Groundhog Shadow Puppet
by Modern Parents Messy Kids @ Momtastic
Here’s a fun kid craft that’s part art project, part puppet show
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*Shadow Puppets for Kids @ Drawing Mom
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*Winter Shadow Puppets @ Little Wonders Days
They played with making the shadows bigger, smaller, and disappear altogether by moving their flashlight or the puppet.
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*Shadow Shapes Craft @
Regardless of whether the ground hog sees his shadow or not on February 2, kids can create their own Shadow Shapes—and make them all year ’round.

*Shadow Puppets @ (formerly FamilyFun)
Your kids can cast a shadowy show of their own with just a few of these simplified paper puppets and a tabletop stage.

*Shadow Puppets (Free Printable) @
This craft is easy and fun plus it’s a great way to entertain young children! (Free printable polar bear or muskox puppet template.)

*How to Make a Shadow Puppet (Free Printable) @ Frolic Blog
The template for an octopus, a shark, a wolf eel and a ship.
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*Halloween Shadow Makers (Free Printable) @ Mini Eco
The best thing is that they are very easy to make – all you need is some black paper, a craft knife, sticky tape and some wooden sticks.
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*Shocking Silhouettes (Free Printables) @ Martha Stewart
As day turns to night, call on candles to cast an eerie glow throughout your home. When fierce silhouettes are propped above them, spectacular shadows dance across the walls.
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*Shadow Puppets @ While Wearing Heels
The possibilities for making your own shadow puppets are endless and the cost involved is next to nothing.
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*Shadow Puppets and Their Presentation
In shadow puppetry you are limited only by your imagination! Go make some fun puppets!

*Shadow Puppets @ Martha Stewart
More elaborate shapes require some supplementary materials, such as our templates for a shark, sea horse, angelfish, tuna, crab, and mermaid.
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*How to Make Shadow Puppet @ The Organic Lemon
They are easy to make, affordable and provide hours of entertainment for little ones!
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*Glow-in-the-Dark Star Shadow Puppets
by willowday @ The Crafty Crow
The shadow puppet can be used for: 1) a window shadow puppet 2) a flashlight shadow puppet (Something for summer nights in tents) and 3) a glow-in-the-dark toy or decoration.
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*Make a Shadow Puppet Play @ Acorn Pies (also found here)
”For the theater, you could stretch a white sheet across a doorway, glue vellum to a wooden canvas stretcher, or like me, tape one-ply white paper to an old metal frame from the attic.”
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*Shadow Puppets (Free Template) @ Education
Make the most of some ordinary household supplies to create this fun puppet craft that hails from Indonesia.
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*Shadow Puppet Cutouts @
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*Shadow Puppets (free printable) @ National Wildlife Federation
Dolphin, fish, starfish, octopus, squirrel, rabbit, turtle, butterfly
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*Easy Shadow Puppet Show @ Rhythm of the Home
”We stretched a sheet over two chairs in our living room. We attached the sheet to the chairs using clothespins, and stretched it all tight by using the weight of the chairs themselves.”
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*Make Bedtime (even more) Theatrical with Shadow Puppets
@ Canadian Family
”We just lay down with our puppets close to the wall and shone a flashlight right on them.”
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*Make Shadow Puppets @ Squidoo
Illustrated step by step directions how you can make your own shadow puppets, set up your stage, and put on a shadow puppet play.
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*Kid Craft: Shadow Puppets @ Gardening without Skills
We got two barstools and stretched out a piece of freezer paper in between the stools and taped it in place. We put a halogen desk lamp behind the stools and turned off the lights in the room.
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*Shadow Puppets @ Nuture Store
Puppets are a wonderful way for children to work out real-life relationships and develop their language – and so much fun to make!
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Shadow Puppet Theaters
Make a Shadow Puppet Theater

*Cereal Box Shadow Theater @ Mini-Eco
This cereal box shadow theater makes a great project for an older child. It’s really simple to make, and can be made from household scraps.
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*Shadow Puppet Theater Tutorial @ Givers Log
Supplies: Freezer paper, Elmer’s Glue, Masking tape, permanent fabric paint (like textile paint or acrylic), sponge brayer for applying paint, Fabric that will let a little light through, Tulle (optional)
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*DIY Shadow Puppet Theater @ Givers Log
”Tie a piece of string between two chairs and clothespin your theatre to the string. All you need is a flashlight and a puppeteer or two and you’re ready for a performance.”
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*Little Light Theatre @ Home Adventurer
”At home we simply transformed our little entrance hall into the theatre; using a floor lamp for illumination, and a small table covered with a large sheet of baking parchment* as a screen.”
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*Table Top Shadow Puppet Theater
@ (formerly FamilyFun)
Your kids can cast a shadowy show of their own with just a few of these simplified paper puppets and a tabletop stage.

*How to Build a Simple Shadow Puppet Theater
@ Inner Child Fun
Shadow puppet theater was made from an empty cardboard box with the bottom cut out, and replaced with two sheets of white tissue paper held in place with packaging tape.
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*Shadow Puppet Theater @ Make Monthly
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*DIY Shadow Puppet Theatre @ Salsa Pie
Here’s an easy way you can turn a cardboard box and some freezer paper into a shadow puppet theatre!
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*Shadow Puppets Cereal Box Theatre @ Red Ted Art
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*Shadow Puppet Theatre @ Kirsten Rickert
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*Shadow Puppet Theater @ Squidoo
Making a shadow puppet theater is an inexpensive family time activity that will build memories. All you need is a cardboard box (a cereal box works very well), scissors, tape, thin white paper or wax paper, and either straws, craft sticks, or skewers.
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Fun Ideas for Groundhog Day / Groundhog Day Goodies / ”I Love You” Shadow Groundhog Day / Valentine’s Day Tradition
cfotb iluvushadow
Product Review: Blackout EZ Window Covers
The easy way to darken a room!
Product Review Blackout EZ Window Covers


Easter Tradition: Easter Bunny Paw Print Tracks (2012)

Easter bunny paw prints trail

The Easter Bunny visited and left a messy paw print trail all over the family room again!

(Watch video here)

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The bunny hopped in through the window and onto the sofa before hopping off to hide the Easter baskets.

Easter bunny paw prints trail

He hopped straight ahead and hid Jonathan’s Easter basket near the chair.

Easter bunny paw prints trail

And then the Easter Bunny hopped onto the chair and his trail continued across Adaline’s toy table (where he had left some Cadbury Eggs for Mommy and Daddy)…

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The Easter Bunny’s paw print tracks led to Adaline’s toy basket in the corner of the room where he hid her Easter basket.

Easter bunny paw prints trail

From there he hopped onto the end table and loveseat…

Easter bunny paw prints trail

…and then he hopped across the room again.

Easter bunny paw prints trail

And finally he hopped back onto the sofa and out of the window the way he came in.

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Does the Easter Bunny leave paw prints at your house? Does he hide the Easter basket?
Let me know in the comments!

Free Printable Easter Bunny Paw Print Template
Bunny Paw Print Trail
diy Easter bunny paw print trail tradition
Round up of 50+ Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Natural dyes for coloring Easter eggs


Valentine’s Day Tradition: I Love You Shadow

I Love You Shadow

You can celebrate Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day with your kids without the focus being on furry rodents and pink and red hearts. Use the month of February to show your kids why you love them with the “I Love You Shadow” tradition.
(This is great if you’re starting a Valentine’s countdown on February 1 but still want to acknowledge Groundhog Day on the 2nd!)

I Love You Shadow

On Groundhog Day, February 2, I had Adaline lay down on a giant sheet of paper and I traced her outline on to it.
(If it’s a sunny day with good weather you can do this outside and actually trace the child’s shadow being cast on the paper as they stand nearby)

I Love You Shadow

You can cut out the “shadow”, but Adaline chose to leave hers as it was.

I Love You Shadow

Adaline wanted to draw a face on her “shadow”, which isn’t really very shadowy, but it made her happy! 🙂

I Love You Shadow

Next we hung the “shadow” on her bedroom door.

I Love You Shadow

Every day we wrote love notes to Adaline and hid them around the house. She was so excited to find a new note. You could write your love notes directly on the “shadow”, but I knew that Adaline would enjoy looking for her note each day. (Also, if you want to save the messages as a keepsake the notes will be easier to store than the entire “shadow” will.)

I Love You Shadow

If you don’t want to do a scavenger hunt for notes each day, you can just attach them to your child’s door for them to see when they wake up. Adaline liked to put the hearts on the “shadow” herself.

I Love You Shadow

If your children are old enough to write, have siblings write messages for each other. The messages can be something small like, “I love the silly dance you do when you hear your favorite song.” or something more serious such as, “I love how kind you are! Thank you for sharing with your sister today.” You can leave notes with scripture and reminders like “Jesus Loves You!”. The possibilities are endless.

(I’m not gonna lie, the thing hanging there with a face on it creeped us out a little bit. But we didn’t write that on one of the hearts, though 😉 “We love your picture even though it creeps us out on our way to the bathroom at night.”)
I Love You Shadow

The idea of leaving love notes for your kids is nothing new. Adding the notes to their “shadow”, as if you were pinning these positive messages onto them directly, will have an even greater impact. Whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow this year your children can look at their own “shadow” and realize how truly loved they are. 🙂

Do you leave your child “love” notes for Valentine’s Day? Do you have any Groundhog Day or Valentine’s Day traditions? Let me know in the comments!

Fun Ideas for Groundhog Day / Groundhog Day: Shadow Puppets (Links) / Groundhog Day Goodies / Valentine’s Day Links


This post is linked to…
Show and Share Saturday / Design Dazzle: Valentine Link Party / Mama Gab: Pin it Party

Eco-Friendly All Natural Dyes for Coloring Easter Eggs (Links)

Did you know that you can color eggs using natural dyes you may already have in your kitchen? Beets, onion skins, coffee, tea, and more, are all great natural ways to color eggs!

Check out the links below for pictures, tips, and tutorials on how to die your eggs naturally.
(Click on the titles or photos to follow the links.)

(For 50+ other ways to dye and decorate your eggs click here!)

Natural dyes for coloring Easter eggs
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*Natural Egg Dyes @

*Dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally @

*Naturally Dyed Eggs @ The Herb Society of America:

*Natural Easter Egg Dying @ Oh Dee Doh:

*How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally, Without a Store-Bought Kit
@ Serious Eats:
“A couple of beets, some ground turmeric, and a red cabbage, and I was turning out gorgeous eggs in all three primary colors.”

*Vibrant Eggs, Dyed Naturally @ The Kitchn:

*How to Make Onion-Skin Easter Eggs @ The Kitchn:
This is a great, natural way to make subtly beautiful Easter (or Passover) eggs. And they answer the question, “what to do with all those left-over onions?” here.

*Natural Egg Dyeing Techniques @
*Easter Egg Dyes @

*Natural Easter Egg Dyes @

*Easter Egg Dye @ What’s Cooking America:

*The Natural Easter Egg Dye Off @ Art of Natural Living:

*Natural Egg Dye @

*Dying Eggs Naturally @ What’s Cooking with Kids:

*DIY Project: Gorgeous Sienna Easter Eggs @ Hostess with the Mostess: These chic sienna Easter eggs from floral design guru Kim Foren are gorgeous, easy and non toxic!

*Natural Easter Egg Dyes (Video) @ Tyler Florence shares ideas for making natural, vegetable-based Easter egg dyes.

*Simple Recipes for Natural Egg Dyes @ Green Living Ideas:


*Chinese Tea-Dyed Eggs @ Barefoot Kitchen:

*Tea Infused Marble Eggs – Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs @ What’s Cooking America:

*Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe @ Steamy Kitchen:


50+ Easter Egg Decorating Ideas (Links)
Round up of 50+ Easter Egg Decorating Ideas


This post is linked to…