Ring Master MomOctober 18, 2013Leave a comment

Halloween Party

As those who know me well know that I’m a big Halloween fan.  When James and I got married, we thought it would be fun to host a Halloween party each year.  We’ve done it every season – even when we were in Australia.  This year was great as the kids are getting a little older and into games and hanging out.

I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted this year.  My Mom has been in the hospital for the past month (but out again, yay!) and I was finally able to see her for the first time the morning I threw the party.  I spent a few hours with her, then raced home to shop, cook, and decorate!!  I was thrilled to have been able to give my Mom a hug and catch up and was floating as I prepared for this party.  When my friends arrived, I spent a lot of time catching up with them and giving everyone updates that I did not get a chance to be the photographer as well.  I have a few shots, so I’ll share here along with details of what I didn’t get to shoot.

We have to start with the candy bar

I love a good candy bar at a party despite not enjoying it much myself.  I enjoy colors and themes and seeing what people pick out.

I had candy corn, candy pumpkins, giant malt balls, and a Halloween mix of fruit gummy bears.

Sugar cookies and a Fall M&M mix

Gingerbread cookies from Williams Sonoma, chocolate covered caramel and marshamellows.  Also some Autumn colored lollipos (love the black and white!) and some Halloween shaped sprinkle cookies

Halloween oreos, candy corn oreos, licorice, caramels, and my favorite – a giant licorice rat

Cupcakes and vintage toppers

I put the sugary stuff in the kitchen away from the regular food and make the kids ask their parents if they’re allowed to have any if/when they find the stash.  For games, I had a pin the tail game, Halloween twister, and a bean bag toss.  I also set up a craft corner on the small table with stickers, crayons, pipe cleaners, and paper.

I am big into paper straws for all my parties, and had fun putting a Halloween collection together for the milk and juice bar for the kids.

On the big food table I had a carrot jack-o-lantern

with clementine “pumpkins”

“Spider eggs”

Mummy pizzas, chili bar, and a 7 layer dip “graveyard”

And treat bags for the kids filled with glow in the dark bracelets, Halloween pencils, glow in the dark fangs, stickers, and silly glasses.

The fun part about throwing this party every year is trying to mix up what I’ll serve.  I think we’ve done Mummy pizzas every year for the fact that they’re simple to prepare and you can make a ton at once.  What are your favorite Halloween recipes or treats?


Ring Master MomSeptember 12, 20135 Comments

Making felt garlands

I have found the coolest craft for my kids’ rooms. Heck, I’m so in love with making felt garlands that I’ve got one on my mantle for Fall!!

I bought a felt garland kit from for Patrick’s room. He’s got a green dinosaur theme going on, and I was thrilled when the colors in the kit matched his bedding perfectly. His kit came in a mason jar complete with a needle and colored bakers twine.

If you live in the Bay Area, I urge you to check out The Makery. It’s in downtown Los Altos and it’s like Pinterest and your favorite craft store had a baby. It’s difficult to leave with ONLY a few items. If you don’t live nearby, you can purchase the kits here. For scale, Patrick’s kit was a small jar. I’d recommend ordering the larger one cause these garlands are more fun the longer they are!

Here is the finished product:

I really wanted to take home the rainbow kit, but felt (ha, pun intended) that it was missing a few colors – like her favorite, pink!! No worries, you can buy any amount of felt you’d like and there’s seriously every color of the rainbow. That’s right – giant apothecary jars full of felt balls. Creative juices are a’flowin!!

I was thinking about doing a giant rainbow but with the light and dark colors along with white, it didn’t look quite right. I did a random pattern and I. AM. IN. LOVE.

The final garland I made was just something I thought of in my head for Fall and I have 3 other ideas for great color combinations for the same season! I chose brown, red, bright orange, orange, and yellow for a great Fall “rainbow” if you will. This one’s going up on my mantle.

I also think it would be fun for Fall to do a garland in just candy corn colors, or purple/teal/black, or different shades of browns/oranges. Endless possibilities – and I love my holidays and celebrations!!

Felt garland tutorial

I feel like I’m cheating you out of a real “how-to” since I didn’t make the felt balls myself. Also, I’ve never knitted or sewed before so I’m not sure I’m even doing anything correctly. I’ll give you the run down of what I’ve done for these garlands.

I used bakers twine (Fall garland used divine twine) for backbone of this craft. Plus and minus for this. Plus is you can pick any color to accent the felt balls (I had orange and black for my Fall one!!) but a minus is that the twine was 4 different strings which once in a while moved a bit while pushing the felt on. Nothing horrible here, but you may have to tweak it a bit if you’re a perfectionist. I may try nylon next time, who knows.

Lay out your balls (ha!) in the pattern that you want.

Thread your needle through the twine and start stringing the balls through one at a time. I made sure to go directly through the middle, and push all the way to the end of the string. I did not knot the string after each ball, but did knot the ends once I was done. There were one or two that I didn’t push the needle through and had to use my back teeth but I should have used pliers to get the needle out.

As I threaded each ball, I tried to keep the spacing about even. Once I was done, I made some adjustments to make sure the spacing looked perfect. They’ll move wherever you want, but won’t slide on the twine.

Have you worked with felt before? Any pro-tips to share with this first timer?


Ring Master MomJuly 29, 2013Leave a comment

Making necklaces & bracelets

I am a huge sucker for the dollar bins at Target.  As a Mom, getting great craft items at an amazing price, is almost as exciting as someone handing me a margarita.  Almost.

Last week I found bags of beads for a buck.

I always tape one end of the string or ribbon on the table to minimize frustration.

Kids loving to be creative and I’m enjoying the quiet!!

This craft is great for little ones to work on placing small beads through a ribbon.  Watch your kiddies if they like to eat everything!!  Alice just turned 2 so she’s happy to recognize each color going on.  “LOOOOK, BLUE MOMMY!!” and Patrick who is 3 enjoys making patterns.

Creating things like this is fun because the kids get to make something for themselves and then you, Dad, Grandma, etc.

One of many creations!


Ring Master MomJuly 24, 2013Leave a comment

Magnetic Alphabet Letters

What is it about little ones who love to follow you wherever you are?  Near the end of a long day when I’m starting to prep dinner, I love how Patrick and Alice want to be literally at my feet while I’m in the kitchen.  Last year when we were living in a condo, it wasn’t as easy to maneuver around them in my small galley kitchen.  I found that bringing out a toy they hadn’t played with in a while would entertain them as I chopped and started cooking.  One toy that captured their attention was magnetic alphabet letters.

This was a perfect toy because I could ask them what color the letter was, was it lower or upper case, or which letter they were holding.  The only thing that I really disliked about the letters were that they were attached to the fridge in an area I needed to get in and out of as I was cooking.  I was thrilled last year when we moved into a house and had a much large space to cook and entertain.


As you can see from the picture above, there are only magnets attached to one section of the fridge.  Yes, that’s right, only the top left part is magnetic.  When we bought our home last year, we had to redo everything from plumbing to flooring to roof to doors.  Everything was taken out of the house and I made every decision as to what would be put back in.  I suppose I didn’t have the time to check the details such as having magnetic doors because I had assumed that they always came that way.

Now I had magnetic alphabet letters and numbers with no place to live!!  The kids really wanted to play with them as I cooked but I didn’t want the mess of the magnets on the floor.  I considered installing a piece on the wall that would hold magnets, but I was afraid to ruin my brand new walls.  It occurred to me a few days later that a drip pan might be able to hold magnets, and low and behold, it does!


I really enjoy having the letters and numbers on the drip pan as it’s easy to store and the kids aren’t sitting in front of the fridge which is where I need to be sometimes as I cook.  We are now using letters to make words and we also point to a certain letter to practice what sound that letter makes.  We even get our silly Elf on a Shelf involved in the fun!

Hopefully if you need a distraction for your little ones as you cook, this will be a great help for you and learning toy for them.


Ring Master MomJuly 23, 20134 Comments

Sidewalk chalk fun

Do you want a new and fun game to play with your kids that’s guaranteed to have them listen and quiet them down?  I know, sounds too good to be true.

We were getting down to the last nubs of our huge bin of sidewalk chalk, so it was time to open up a new box.

I drew three lines on the ground – one straight, one zigzagging, and one rounded.

Patrick and Alice had to wait and LISTEN for directions and walk slowly on whichever color I picked.  With the slow walking, they practiced their balance which for some reason required them to be quiet for a few minutes.  BONUS for me!

Alice didn’t understand anything that wasn’t the red line, so Patrick was really patient and loved showing her again and again how it was done.

“Mom, I think my feet got stuck!”

It was great to see them help each other out and encourage each other to finish.

I love having a fresh box of chalk and hope to find some more creative uses for it other than the usual coloring and then rolling around in it – ha!  What is your favorite way to use chalk with kids?


Ring Master MomJuly 22, 2013Leave a comment

Rustic wood slabs turned chalkboards

Walking into The Makery in Downtown Los Altos is like walking into Target.  I come in with a plan, but I always leave with much more than was written on my list.  I went in for washi tape and party bags for a baby shower I’m throwing next week, but left with much more!

I strolled by these kits, and knew they had to come home with me!

I got one for Alice and one for Patrick.  They contain a rustic wood slab, a great quality paintbrush, and a piece of chalk.  I love how it comes in a glassine bag with washi tape – the devil is in the details.  P.S. I have never seen equation washi tape before – gotta find this for the hubby!!

They also sell chalkboard paint and since I was in a rush, I grabbed the basic charcoal color since I wasn’t sure if I could decide on a color that both Patrick and Alice would like.

The paint goes on easy and smooth, and I love the wood.  It’s a thick cut and very sturdy.

Now to let this dry, add a few more coats, and let the kids create!  The Makery also sells rainbow chalk, so I picked up one for each kiddo.

I can’t wait to see what they create on their boards!


Ring Master MomJuly 16, 2013Leave a comment

Summer Fun List

We had a whiteboard in our kitchen that for the fun things planned for that month.  I am a big fan of adding fun things to my to-do lists, and thought it was a great visual for the kids to see what was in store for them soon.  I found that some months had a lot more fun than others, so I’ve changed it up a bit and sometimes do seasons.  Since the little whiteboard was too small, I upgraded to my old chalkboard from my childhood room.  These are our plans this summer – more or less.  And yes, it was made a full month before summer this year!  We had some sizzling temps early on, so I was inspired by the heat to do our summer fun list.

What do you think I left off the list?


Ring Master MomJuly 8, 2013Leave a comment

Makers Gonna Make

Creatives, sewers, party planners, and friends who love producing things – there is an unbelievable space for you. is a new shop opened in Downtown Los Altos full of felt, books, fabric, bunting, etc pretty much a heaven for someone like me.  I haven’t checked out the studio, but I believe there is an embroidery machine, sewing machine, classes, and a typography machine.

Felt is sold by weight or in these cute containers:

I love that pairing since they are the colors of my son’s bedding.   Fun banner over his new curtains!!

The Makery also sells turkish towels in every color.  I had to get just one this time.  Perfect for layering tablecloths!  Also in addition to every color of washi tape, they also sell fabric tape.  Great for a quick touch me up to a boring votive.

This is one corner of one section of the store:

Aaaaand the logo is pretty amazeballs.  (Rainbow editing mine)


Ring Master MomJuly 5, 2013Leave a comment

4th of July

I love holidays – and I love them even more as a Mom because doing crafts and preparing special dishes are a fun distraction.  I was thrilled when I heard that Ball Jars was releasing blue jars and immediately knew which holiday I’d use them for first

And yes, I own about a trillion cupcake wrappers.  I have always been a cupcake fan since I was a kid and friends and family members love buying the wrappers for me.  Gotta get creative with using them!

We did a flag craft that was easier than it looks.  Since my kiddos are 3 and 2, craft time needs to be quick when it comes to painting!  I laid out lots of newspaper and then popsicle sticks with red, white, and blue paint.  We practiced using our listening skills (ha!) as I told them to paint the first half blue, then the next part red, etc.  Once those dried, we glued them together with a popsicle stick on the back, and they glued stars on the top.  Really easy and a great decoration for my mantle.

This was the first year I hosted a party on the 4th.  We usually do a block party at my childhood home, and I was lucky enough to know ahead of time that I’d need to stock up my party supplies for July.

My kids love colors and I had a great time scouring Pinterest to find cute meals for the 4th.  I attempted to make a rectangle pizza for the first time.  I laughed when it was finished as it didn’t look as amazing as I pictured in my head.  That was also thanks to two giant bubbles in the middle of it.  But it tasted great!  I used blue potatoes that I sliced thin and quickly pan fried before adding to the pizza, and sliced pepperoni for the stripes.

Right now, my kids think yogurt is a special treat, so anytime they get it (especially with berries!) they think I’m the best.  I was more than happy to prepare this plate for them.  And no, I didn’t nibble the United States outline in the toast.  I found some cute FEED cookie cutters at Target!

Whole Foods sometimes has cute chips for holidays, and I was able to score these all natural red, white, and blue veggie chips for snacks.

My little Patrick

And Alice

And these shoes.  I mean…

We had an all American BBQ

And instead of making a cute hidden flag cake I had found on Pinterest, I decided to do something cooler.  It was pretty hot the day before, and I didn’t feel like baking 5 cakes in my house that has no air conditioning.  Ice cream cake it is!  The homemade bunting is two fireworks straws, twine, and 3 different types of washi tape.

My kids have been to every fireworks show they’ve been able to see, and this year was no exception.  It’s hard for them to stay up so late, and I’ve always got something to distract them.  Glow bracelets work the best as it gets dark.  They had no interest in the red vines or popcorn…mmm…more for the adults!!

Having fun before the fireworks begin

“Woah” after every blast

After our walk back to the car.  I love the different necklaces and designs we made with the glow bracelets.

And of course I couldn’t pass up stars and stripes jammies – especially on sale!!  Successful 4th for sure!!