Friday, August 18, 2017

Jurassic World Party Part Two

Last week, I told you all about the decorations we had at the Jurassic World party.  This week I will show you the activities and tell you about the food we had at the party.  Check out my party Pinterest Board to see where I got a lot of inspiration, tips, tricks, instructions and printables. 

A quick note about the Birthday Boy: this was a tenth birthday party, so I spent a bit of time with the birthday boy before the party.  We talked about the movie, his favourite parts of the movie and activities he would like to do.   I also asked him what type of party he wanted, organised games where everyone does each activity at the same time or stations for each person to move to as they liked.  We ended up with a combination of the two.  


The activities were supposed to be spread out through the backyard.  We had to move a few activities at the last minute due to rain.  The kids didn't care.  Kids were checked in when they arrived, receiving a name badge and dinosaur temporary tattoo (This was their VID- Very Important Dinosaur- pass, like in the movie)

Pin the Horn on the Triceratops: my very talented Mum took a printed image of a triceratops, and used a grid overlay to draw a huge triceratops. She made some black horns and used yellow stickers to write a number on each.

Guess Jar: I filled an old coffee jar (that had been thoroughly cleaned) with some small plastic Dinosaur figurines. The BFF drew up a name and guess chart for guests to record their guess.  Hint: don’t forget to count the dinosaurs as you put them in the jar and write it down somewhere safe! Lol. About half way through the party I took the guess chart away and worked out which three guesses were closest to the exact amount and awarded prizes from a lucky dip box.  The Birthday Boy wanted to keep the jar of dinosaurs. 

Squad Training: we used some dinosaur figures (about 20-30 cm high) and lined them up along a shelf.  Guests had a six shooter Nerf gun (so six shots) to hit up to 5 dinosaurs.  The one who shot the most dinosaurs in the one turn got a prize from the lucky dip.

Footprint Match: I made up some cards using images from the internet and a print of labelled dinosaur footprints.  Only a few guests participated in this.

Fossil and Bone Digs: I made fossils using salt dough and some skeleton figurines (click here for instructions).  I also made some dino-sized teeth and a hybrid dinosaur skull for the kids to dig up.  My mum, (go Grandma) bought some sand from our local garden nursery for us to bury the fossils and “bones” before the party. I laid out small spades, spoons and paint brushes as tools.

DNA sequencing: I made a couple of big batches of yellow/ orange jelly and pushed some plastic bugs into the jelly.  The kids were supposed to use eye droppers to ‘suck the DNA out of the bugs’ and drop it in a test tube before putting it in the DNA sequencing machine (a box).  When they did this, they were given an ‘egg’ and went to the Hatchery.  Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a photo of this.  Sorry. 
Hatchery: I made about 25 fizzing eggs (directions here) with dinosaur figurines in them.  The kids sprayed the eggs with vinegar and broke the eggs to hatch their very own dinosaur to take home.

Creation Centre: Dinosaur colouring, word searches, dinosaur cut outs and some coloured pens made this an easy centre! Check out my Pinterest board to get all the links I used to find these.  No picture of this either.  I was so busy that day! 

Photobooth: I threw together a bunch of props that we purchased from discount stores and the Big W party shop.  I also made a fire torch using cellophane and a large piece of brown cardboard.  The backdrop was created using a plastic table cloth, brown crepe paper, green crepe paper and leaves cut out of green paper.  A camp chair, a ladder, caution tape and an old pallet made it even better.  I created some "Warning: Dinosaur Area Keep Out" signs using a Google Image search.  

 I'm sure you're all very excited about the next part... THE FOOD! 


For the Herbivores: carrot sticks, celery sticks, assorted fruit,
For the carnivores: party pies and sausage rolls (dipped in tomato sauce/ blood)
Dinosaur Cookies: I planned to make footprint cookies (check out the inspiration here), but I used my own cookie recipe which was a bit too soft for the footprint.  I added milo to my cookie mix to make it look like dirt, spread some Nutella on the top of each cookie and stuck dinosaur lollies (from the Natural Confectionery Company) on top.  They were really yummy!
Cake: was made by the Birthday Boy’s mum and dad. It was inspired by a few of the cakes on my party Pinterest board.   I pinned about 20 different cakes for my nephew to choose from.  As it was created by family, the cake wasn't as perfect as the ones that inspired it, but it was still cool.  Easy way out: check out these cake toppers!  (I'm not affiliated with the site linked).  

Jurassic Juice: a mix of pine-lime cordial, lemonade and water.  We poured this into jugs for serving.  Guests all got a cup with a Jurassic World Logo on it. 

I had lots more ideas for food, but as the party was mid-afternoon, we didn't go all out on a big range of food.  I pinned lots of ideas on the Pinterest Board, link above, so you can get inspired.  If you want to do something easy, you could order pizza:  Meatlovers for the carnivores, Vegetarian for the herbivores and Supreme or Hawaiian for the Omnivores.  You don't get much easier than that! 
That's that then. 
Enjoy the party planning! 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jurassic World Party Part One

The party was a while ago now and hopefully this means I won’t ramble too much.  On the other hand, I might have forgotten some of the important things I wanted to tell you. Sorry about that, only, it takes a lot to write a party planning post and I just didn’t have it in me.  I will be posting in two parts, because it’s just way too long for one week!  Here goes.


My nephew has loved Dinosaurs for more than 5 years.  It was a no brainer that his 10th birthday would have a dino-theme.  He was very specific that he wanted his party to be a “Jurassic World Party” NOT, Jurassic Park… that is so last decade!  So, unlike my Frozen Party, I had to do a lot of research (watching the movie and using the website was so helpful) before I could start committing to ideas and finally creating all the wonderful stuff that made the day. 


I downloaded a printable party pack (that was FREE) from including invitations.  I didn’t use all of the pieces in the pack but what I did use worked brilliantly.  We used a lot of paper for this party too.  I think we may have killed a couple of trees to pull this one off.  :/  It was simple to print, cut out and laminate all the name tags, security badges, thank you notes, logos and posters, it just took a long time.  I also copied an image of the Jurassic World sign so that we could make some awesome signs/ posters of our own.  

The other awesome printable was a template for our pterodactyls.  Click here to check it out.

I also downloaded the Jurassic Park font (click here to get it) which we used for the signs at each activity and party zone. 

Let’s give you the tour:

Entry: the gate! We used cable ties to attach large pieces of cardboard to our wrought iron gate.  Grey plastic tablecloths made the side pillars (I love my staple gun!).  We made 6 torches from brown paper bags and yellow/orange/red cellophane.  The BFF used the A1 printer at her work to print some supersized logo signs for us.  One was cut in half and stuck on the gate so when it was closed it was whole.  It looked great.  The other sign was stuck on the wall of the house, so kids could get a photo there if they liked.  I was so proud of the gate! 

Discovery District: Tubs of sand for kids to dig in, under our clothesline.  We hung various leaf shapes on the line and had some hanging vines (crepe paper and craft paper) draped around so it felt like a bit of a jungle.  

Innovation Centre: A high camping shelter with folding tables and chairs laid out underneath.  There were three activities set up under the shelter.  Each space was signposted.  

Main Street:  Green Leaves were cut out from a few different templates (found on my Pinterest board), we used a few different shades of green paper and card.  Pterodactyls were cut from brown and black cardboard using a template we found online (link above).  We printed it and photocopied in three different sizes so they looked like some were higher in the sky when hung up.  We rearranged my Mum’s pot plants to line the sides of an alley on our verandah and made a few cardboard palm trees to bulk it up a bit.  Dinosaur figurines hid among the trees too!

Fact Wall: I made some small posters with random dinosaur facts and we stuck these along the wall for the guests to read while they were eating.  I used this as a sort of game when we were running out of things to do.  I asked questions and the kids had to run to the wall to find the answer.  Most of the facts came from the Did You Know? slides on the Jurassic World Website.  

Bathroom Entryway: As most of the activity was outside, we didn’t go overboard decorating inside the house.  However, we combined a few ideas from Pinterest to make a Dinosaur Mouth over the archway that leads to our bathroom.  When guests came inside to use the bathroom they were greeted with this scary sight and then had to walk into the monster’s mouth to use the facilities! The BFF added her expertise to make it look just right!  Thanks Bestie! 

That's it for now! Next week I will tell you about the food and the activities that kept the kids busy!

Monday, August 7, 2017

BIG WORDS: Paraprosdokians

I found this post in the old archive and it made me smirk. It was originally posted here. Enjoy:

A brand new word for you to learn!

Paraprosdokian: (noun) a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; this is frequently used in a humorous situation.
For example: "Where there's a will, I want to be in it."  

Here are a few more for you...

"The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list."

"Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

"If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong."

It seems to me, Paraprosdokian, is just a fancy word for: "a funny t-shirt"

If you want to enjoy some more Paraprosdokians, click here.

One more for the road... 

Much Love

Friday, August 4, 2017

Flashback Post: Jigsaw Puzzles

I know it's been a while since my last post... two weeks! No excuses.  I was reading through some of my earliest blog posts and I just had to share this one with you.  IT was originally posted here way back in 2011.  Trust me, just stay until the end.  😏More to come.  One day I will catch up with myself. 

The Joy of the Jigsaw 

I have been enjoying my holidays and the opportunity for some quiet time at home, filling my hours with reading and drawing and colouring in, all the while listening to music or watching old movies.  I have also been doing puzzles.  I'm talking about the kind of puzzle that comes in a box, in lots of little pieces, and you have to put it together to make the picture on the front of the box.

The other day, I was packing up a puzzle so that I could pull out another one. As I pulled each little piece away from its mates and put it in a bag I became a little sad.  That puzzle had occupied the kitchen table for a number of weeks.  Everyone who entered our house had seen it, leaned over it, peered at the box and attempted to place a piece correctly.  Everyone had enquired regarding it's progress.  It had filled the hours of quiet evenings when I was unable to sleep.  It had kept me company while I "watched" television or listened to music.  Any time I became just a little bit bored, I would be drawn towards the picture and become engrossed in it.  There were nights when I would close my eyes in bed and see candy canes and Christmas ornaments, puzzle pieces everywhere.  Every time I walked past the table I would pick up a piece and examine it, twisting and turning it between my fingers, eyeing the holes in the puzzle, trying to match a colour or shape, anything to find the right position.  The perfect place for this seemingly insignificant piece of cardboard did exist.

There is nothing like finding the right puzzle piece and pushing it gently into place.  Squeezed between the other pieces, it brings it's tiny shape and distorted colours to the big picture.  It contributes what it has and as you place piece after piece you begin to see the scene take shape and form a life of its own.  Eventually with a triumphant grin you come down to the last few pieces and all of a sudden you are in a frenzy.  The pieces just fall into place, like they are magnetised to their cohorts.  One after another, you place them more and more quickly until... the triumphant grin becomes a glow and your whole face lights up in pure ecstasy as you lift that final piece of the puzzle and place it gently and methodically into position.  You did it, you conquered this (insert number here) piece monster!

The puzzle had taken pride of place, once finished.  I took photos, visitors admired it and the children were scolded away from it.  This "experience" was over.  This beautiful picture, with a life of its own, had been finally assembled.  Now, it was being dismantled.  Packed away.  The big picture became tiny detached pieces again, destined to return to the shelf and gather dust.  There was something sad about those little jigsaw shaped items lying on the table.  Separated.  Lonely.  There was no way anyone could see how each piece would fit together to make something beautiful.  I sat there for a moment and contemplated all of this.

Then I rolled my eyes, shook my head and switched on the television.  What a drama queen?!

I'll say!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Aunty's Day, 2017

This Sunday, 23 July is Aunties Day 2017!

It's the day that you all get the chance to tell your Aunty/ Aunties how absolutely AWESOME they are AND how much you LOVE them.  You also get the opportunity to remind them that you wouldn't be the brilliant person you are if it wasn't for them.  If you think I'm exaggerating, think about this...

If it wasn't for your crazy aunty, how would you know that you shouldn't tell your grandma her bum looks big in those jeans?!

If it wasn't for your silly aunty, who would have given you farting slime for Christmas?

If it wasn't for your rich aunty, who would have paid for you to go to soccer camp/ sponsored you in the fun run/ bought all those fundraising chocolates?

If it wasn't for your aunty, your Mum/Dad wouldn't understand that siblings can be really annoying!

If it wasn't for your aunty, you would be stuck with the cranky old lady next door as your babysitter!

If it wasn't for your aunty, your grandma wouldn't know that your favourite colour is no longer blue!

If it wasn't for your aunty, your Mum would probably be sitting in the corner of her bedroom, rocking back and forth, staring.... because she would have no one to remind her that before she had kids she was cool and interesting to other adults and she knows more about the world than her three year old.

If it wasn't for your aunty, your dad would have no idea about daughters!! Like, you think he has no idea now, but he would know even less than nothing about being a girl!

If it wasn't for your aunty, you wouldn't have a fun adult woman in your life with disposable income, a sense of humour and your art framed on her wall.

If it wasn't for your aunty, you wouldn't learn anything about your parents' past life... including when they got a nose ring, crashed a car, dated a bad boy and swore at their parents.

If it wasn't for your aunty, you would have nothing to do this Sunday!!

Go on, tell that wonderful woman that your life would be a whole lot less fun without her!

If you want more info about Aunties Day 2017, check out the article on Savvy Auntie

If you want to read more about being an Awesome Aunty, check this out.

Happy Aunties' Day!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Text Messages from my Mum

My mum is at church this morning.  I'm not because I hurt my back earlier this week.  She is one of the Sunday School leaders.  She just sent me these texts... my responses are there too. 

You would totally trust these people with your children, right?!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Lastest of the Cards

I have been busy!  Nanny was here and we were busy having fun.  Putt Putt, Cat Café, High Tea and sleepovers have been keeping us moving all the time.  I accidentally went to my specialist appointment two days early, so that ended in a busy day for no good reason.   I spent some time catching up with friends from school too.  I have been making cards and learning new techniques.  One of my aunties from interstate came to visit and shared her love of card crafting with me.  That was fun.

Here are a few photos of the latest cards I have made.

Created for a good friend of mine who is expecting a baby.
I tried a new distressing/ inking technique on the big hexagon.
I can't get through any month of the year without making at least one birthday card! One of these was for my nephew who LOVES pigs.  The other was made for my cousin who LOVES to Soccer. 

I call this Pigs in Mud!

I love my hexagon nested dies. This is the second
soccer card I have created this year!

As I was on holidays, I decided to get ahead with a series of Thank you cards.  Teacher Aide Appreciation Day is sometime soon and I want to be prepared for it.  I used a similar style as a series of cards I created in January.  Click here to see them

Inspired by this

I love the "messier" look of these cards.
The shadow is created simply by cutting the words
in both white and black card then gluing off centre.
Die cut machines make this really simple!
I bought some new crafting tools online the last few weeks.  A beautiful cat silhouette set of dies finally arrived and I made this card, just so I could play with them!

I added a sentiment in the top corner but didn't
photograph it before sealing the envelope to post it!
Silly me!
That's that then.
I would love to hear from you.  Do you have a craft that you like to do when you have time?  What is your favourite type of craft? If it's not craft, what else do you do when you have the free time?

Off I go, Lots to do!

Thursday, July 6, 2017


I threw an Art Party for my niece who turned 5 and while it certainly wasn't perfect... It was pretty close.  The birthday girl told me later that she had lots of fun and with no prompting from her parents she thanked me for her present!  She is growing up so quickly, my little artist. 

After my epic sunburn at the last outdoor party, we decided to use some portable shade covers in the yard.  It was a pain to get them erected, but it was totally worth it! I didn't even get a tan this time around.  It probably helped that it was a cloudy day, but I'm sure the shelters were a big part of it.  When you live in Australia, you can still get sunburnt on a cloudy day!

As the party was all about Art (the birthday girl LOVES painting and being creative), I went with "rainbow" for the colour palette.  This was easy and tricky all at the same time.  Have you ever tried to find a bright orange tablecloth when pastel patterns are all the rage for party themes?  Thankfully, it was easier to find all the streamers I needed.  The balloons didn't do so well in the weather either, but at the end of the day it didn't matter. 


I kept it as simple as possible (when you have a 5 year old it's more about the games and the presents).  Balloons were hung along the fence at the front of the house (rainbow of colours of course) to make it obvious where the party was going on.  When guests entered the gate they were greeted with a whiteboard resting on an easel that said "Happy Birthday" then they could go to various activity stations. 

The yard had a range of stations set out for guests to enjoy and each had a decorated sign with a cute theme name.  This allowed for about an hour of Free Play Fun.

Face Paint Parlour (obvious): check out some of our sample pictures for the kids to choose from.
Circle of Flowers
This rainbow was created with a rainbow split cake.
I seriously recommend you purchase one!

Selfie Stop (photo booth): one of our good friends is studying to be a photographer, so she brought her fancy camera and took some great photos of the kids.  The back drop was a simple curtain of coloured tablecloths.  I bought two black cardboard frames for the kids to hold up and stuck some rainbow pom poms (that I made) on the corners. I also had some glitter covered hats leis as extra props. 
This is the Pin that inspired the Photobooth I created. 

Colour My World (colouring in): I printed free colouring pages from the internet including Barbie and rainbows.
Sculpture Street  (playdough and found objects): I made three batches of this playdough recipe and divided into approximately equal portions to add colouring.  This way we had a rainbow of colours, without having too much playdough!

Click for the recipe.  I used the no-cook option.

Bubble Station (obvious): I bought bubble tubes from Kmart for $1 and taped the to the poles on the shelters that we had erected.  Grandmas helped the little ones with dipping wands into the tubes. This was inspired by this pin, pictured and linked below. 
Click for Source

Some organised activities included Pin the Ponytail on Barbie (Grandma created the poster and ponytails for this activity) and Pass the Parcel (various rainbow wrapping paper and pink/silver/ glittery paper). 
Pass the Parcel- each layer had a wrapped chocolate or wrapped lollies.
Prize in the middle was a CD case with coloured pencils and a small colouring book. 

That was basically it, for decorations.  I used a silver plastic tablecloth for the cake/gift table. The activity stations were set out on folding tables with a coloured plastic tablecloth (I used random colours so each table was different).  A few dropsheets that we have often laid out when the kids were painting were a great addition as well. 


We started with Free Play and while I planned for only 30 minutes we managed to stretch it to nearly an hour.  That's when everyone enjoyed the activity stations  mentioned above.  This worked very well for ensuring the face painting line was never too long and no one got bored while they waited for their turn.  At least one adult was stationed at each activity to help with materials and make sure none of the children were left looking lost.
When everyone had visited the face paint parlour we had a group shot at the Selfie Stop.  Guests were invited upstairs to enjoy a rainbow of fruit and some fairy bread! While they were eating, some elves (the best face painters ever) packed up the stations and set up the next two activities- Painting and Pin the Ponytail on Barbie.  The birthday girl happens to love Barbie too and originally wanted a Barbie party.  Considering that all her big brothers were attending the party we went with the art theme so everyone could enjoy themselves.  Barbie had to be included though! 
Everyone had fun painting and as they finished Grandma blindfolded them and spun them around to Pin the Ponytail on Barbie.  That was a good laugh.  Everyone trekked back upstairs when they were finished and we awarded prizes (a lucky dip of mini colouring in kits, packets of Smarties/ MnM's and mini watercolour paint palettes) to the top three "pinners" before playing pass the parcel.

We sang Happy Birthday and enjoyed a rainbow layer cake.  Guests were handed a loot bag before they left and the Birthday girl thanked them for coming to her party!  Everyone also got to take home the paintings which were dry just in time. 
Loot Bags were simple brown paper lunch bags. 
They were decorated with colourful washi tape.
Bags included Smarties, small notepads and coloured pencils.

Just a hint: It's very important when having this much activity at a party to have lots of adults on board to help out. The Grandmas were equally good at helping in the kitchen, packing away after an activity finished AND more importantly joining in with the games and fun.  I was so lucky that the BFF came along to help set up AND face paint AND clean up while I was entertaining the kids. She is beginning to become a fixture at the children's birthday parties and they love having her there! They think she's so cool. 

If you are looking for more inspiration and advice for your own Art Party check out my Pinterest Board. 

Ta ta for now!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Playing Catch Up

I know it's late and I know your life didn't end just because my blog post was a bit late.  Considering I haven't updated you on my goals since March (and it's about the half way point) we are checking in today.
This Year, 2017, I will…

Quit… eating because I’m bored, sad, angry, frustrated or confused.

I have been emotional eating the last few weeks.  Now that I'm on holidays I am starting afresh.  So far, so good. 

Eat…   three balanced meals and two snacks at least 6 days a week. 

I need to start fresh for this one too.  I was doing well.  Then, I wasn't. 

Start… exercising for 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week.

More excuses.  I went for a big walk yesterday.  That was good.  I played with a big and happy dog today.  It probably doesn't count.  Trying, trying. 

Visit… family and/or friends once a month.

Totally on track!! Woo Hoo.  This one is harder than you might think.  I find social gatherings daunting.  More than two or three people in a group and I'm done. I can't concentrate.  I feel frumpy and tired and confused.  Managing to consciously make time for connecting with others is tricky sometimes.  I am finding that (for the most part) it's worth the effort. 

Accept… that I cannot fix everything. 

I am going to give it a tick this month. There are things I can fix and I need to take control of those.  The biggest thing for me to remember that I cannot change or "fix" the past.  It doesn't matter what I do or how long I worry, I can't change it.  I have to remember that. 

See…    Melbourne in real life/ Capital Cities.

I went to Adelaide and I saw a bit more of Brisbane (yes, I know I live in Brisbane's suburbs!).  During the holidays, I am getting out and about more so I'm giving this one a tick too!

Learn… at least 12 scripture passages by heart. 

Let's See: Scripture Verses learned so far
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Psalm 23
Psalm 32:7
Colossians 1:11

I'm working on:
Psalm 32:8
Philippians 4:19 I might try to learn a larger passage from Philippians 4, but for now I'm starting with one verse. 

Therefore, I'm on track! I have found a new app to help me with this and it's awesome!

Give… to Christian Missions overseas and in Australia (12 times or once a month).

I have been continuing with my regular sponsorship of a day care centre overseas.  I am saving some money to send to an orphanage in Cambodia where my cousin is the director. 

Be…   Quiet

I have been feeling challenged in this.  I am doing it.  I am.  I need to do it more.  I almost feel like I need more than quiet.  Maybe I need silence?

Grow… spiritually by reading my Bible 5-7 times a week and attending church at least 3 times each month.

I finished the devotional book I was reading and I am now working my way through a section in an Everyday with Jesus for a year book.  Each book is divided into four, twelve week plans.  There is a Bible passage for reading, a short commentary and references for further reading (with questions).  I am finding it very useful and a little challenging.  The books I have are currently out of print, but if you are interested this website publishes a daily devotional by the same author with the same structure. I did quite a bit of research to try and improve and meet this goal.  I think I have gone backwards.  I am continuing to read and pray at least 4 times each week.  Church attendance is on track though. 

Invest… in reaching these goals.

Obviously I'm doing this.. I need to refocus. 


Friday, June 16, 2017

Amidst the Party Planning

I didn't post last week because it was very busy.  Every spare minute was spent on party planning.  There was a lot of stuff that needed to be printed, cut, laminated, folded, rolled, wrapped, packed, stuck and set up.  On Tuesday night, I got a strange message from my aunty asking if we had received a message. 

The short version of the story is ... my Uncle died on Wednesday night.  He was on life support on Tuesday and they turned off the machines on Wednesday. 

I was in shock.  I was sad. I was angry.  I was lost.  I cried.  The funeral was yesterday.  We cried together and we laughed together.  It was nice to remember him. 

There is so much to tell you.  I just have no words.  This time next week, I will have finally finished the semester at school and I will be on holidays.  I hope I will have found my words.  Then, I will tell you about parties and friends and how I have reached some goals and how I haven't reached others.