Welcome!

This blog is a place for me to talk about all things Fall related. I'm hoping it'll be a place to help keep me organized and on the path to stress-free holidays (if there is such a thing)!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wow!

Time sure has flown! Here it is almost Thanksgiving and I haven't posted much of anything! I'm so ashamed! :o) Not really! I've been ├╝ber busy lately with the Elves and some other projects that I've got going and I just plumb haven't had time to post. Besides that, I haven't really done anything in preparation for Thanksgiving. Everything is already decorated and now I'm just patiently awaiting it's arrival.

I've purchased both turkeys...for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know...I probably could've waited and gotten a great deal somewhere but the knowledge that I won't have to fight other people for the right sized turkey makes me feel wonderful! lol I've got almost everything that I need for the big day. All but the fruits and vegetables. Those will be purchased the weekend prior. So, apples for the pie (we don't do pumpkin) and onions, celery for the stuffing.

In all honesty (I might as well admit it), I wish Thanksgiving would hurry up and get here already...I'm dying to dig into my Christmas stuff! LOL But...I'm showing restraint! I will patiently wait! Besides, on the down side...if it were Thanskgiving already, the Elves would be arriving and I am sooo not ready for that yet! :o) So I guess I'm glad I've got a little bit more time!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Countdown...Weeks 5 & 6

So...it looks like my Bunco party will turn into a girls' poker night instead (if that) so there's not much left to do for party prepwork. This is actually a good thing! I've got family coming to visit mid-November and the Christmas Countdown begins this Sunday so I'll be able to concentrate on that better. Sweet! Christmas notebook, here I come! lol

It Is Done!

After several weeks of preparations and stress over getting it done...the Halloween party is finally over! The scavenger hunt went well with only a few hiccups along the way. I learned a few valuable lessons along the way that I will put to good use should we do this again next year.

The scavenger hunt, as it was setup, is more suited for kids 10 and up. The 8 year olds had trouble with reading the clues and following directions so that will probably be changed for next year. Separate!!! Someone helped themselves to the candy for the scavenger hunt and took my metal pumpkin that was holding the clues. So...keep the little ones in another area. If you're going to do crafts, separate them into age groups. The older kids really enjoyed making their own treat bags but the little ones had to have the parents make them so paper lunch bags with crayons and stickers might have been a better option for them. There needs to be structure also...the kids broken up into groups and led by an adult. I think that would've cut down on the confusion.

Over all though, it was a great experience! The kids had a great time and we had fun setting it up.

Here's the breakdown of what we had...we didn't have a bunch of prizes. We had a raffle instead with everyone getting a ticket to enter it in (there were 3 prizes total.) Each room was decorated and the kids got to vote on which room they liked the best (ours won!) The kids got to make their own treat bags and we had some Halloween foam crafts to decorate. We had 3 games...pin the tail on the black cat, pin the body parts on the mummy and hot pumpkin (which I don't think got played). All the kids could get their pictures taken at the pumpkin patch we had setup and we had a parade of costumes. They also walked through the hallway and got candy from various bowls along the way. We had food...hot dogs, punch, jell-o jigglers, chocolate covered pretzels and cupcakes.

The scavenger hunt went as follows...I won't put all the details and clues...just the jist of it!

They first got a picture of a witch that they then had to match to a picture on the wall. From there they had to go find a chocolate eyeball with EN on it for Eye of Newt. Then they had to find Dracula's dentures (glow-in-the-dark teeth and a vampire eraser). They had to help Frankenstein tighten his bolts so they had a box with 5 nuts and 5 bolts to put together. Then onto finding the Pirate's X with a treasure on it (black cardboard X with a treasure chest sticker on it. Once they found that, they got to play BOOGO...a bingo card with a 5 letter halloween word which they had to match with a certain color. Then they had to find the headless horseman's head (small pumpkin Jack O' Lanterns). After that, they had to help wrap the mummy back up (wrestler dolls and strips of fabric). They had to find 13 spiders in a word find puzzle and 13 number 13s in a hidden picture puzzle. From there they had to find 31 of a certain flavor of candy. Then they had to find little baseball bats with a paper bat attached that were hanging from the ceiling and then they had to come find me and tell me a knock knock joke. And the last thing they had to find was the graveyard where they had to dig to find the coffin with the coin that they had to return to the Pirate Master.

For each area, they got a small treat that they got to keep...such as erasers, halloween pencils, tattoos and stickers. It turned out really great and the kids that did it had fun...it was just crowded because the little kids and the big kids were in the same area. It would've been better had they been separated and in their own space. That'd be something I'd change for next year, if we were to do this again.

So...today, I get to go through all the stuff I brought home last night and clean, chuck or put away what's left! Fun times ahead! lol

Halloween Countdown...Week 4

No, I didn't forget...I just didn't have anything to do for this week so I didn't type it up. :o)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Halloween Countdown: Week 3

This week focuses on food.

[ X ] Make invitations or fill out store bought ones if you are hosting a party.
[ X ] Finish picking up all decorations. There’s plenty out in the stores by now.
[ X ] Update your budget.
[ X ] Food is the focus…try out a party recipe or two this week..better to test before serving. I'm not planning on trying anything new for the party...all of my favorites are being served!
[ ] Finish shopping for all non perishables. This I will spread out over the next couple of weeks.
[ ] Party favors and goodie bags. Get them finished this week. Tuck them away in a safe place and make a note in your planner where they are stored. I have to get the trick-or-treating bags done soon.
[ ] Map out the food table and drink table arrangements for your party. If it’s an outside party, think about ways to create backdrops behinds tables. This adds places for decor and focal points. I'll probably arrange the food on the counter since it's a central location to everyone.
[ ] Order any meat trays, deli dishes, or specialty food items you need. I'm going to make the deli tray on my own...just some crackers, meat and cheese.

Over all I don't think I have much that needs done this week. I will focus more on the TorT bags and also the scavenger hunt since that's in two weeks...assuming it doesn't get cancelled. Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Halloween Countdown: Week Two

Sunday kicked off week 2 of the Halloween Countdown over at MHH. Here's my list of what needs done!

(X) Make your invitations list and start addressing envelopes. Try for 50% this week. Although I won't be hosting a Halloween party, I was thinking of hosting a Bunco party a week after Halloween so I may do those invitations instead. Already did this via e-mail and will hand out the rest when I can.
(X) Decide on a party budget. Jot down a plan. Again...will do for the Bunco party. All planning for party from this point on is for the Bunco party...no point in repeating myself! lol I have a tentative budget...we'll see how close I stay to it.
(X) Plan your party menu or Halloween dinner menu. Create a master shopping list for it. As of right now, I'm thinking just some light appetizers like chips and dip, chicken wings, mini sandwich fixin's, etc.. Got that figured. Let's see...chips & dip (two kinds), Honey Glazed Holiday Appetizers, Deviled eggs, cookies, and a couple of other desserts (I have 4 in mind...just need to narrow it down to 2).
(X) Do a decor declutter. Clean out items and make room for fall decor. I really need to do this. Trying to figure out where to put my decorations so that the little ones can't get to them....running out of space for that! :o) I think I've got most of my stuff out.
(X) Plan the date, time, and details of any pumpkin patch visits. We're actually going to one on Friday as part of our playgroup. Should be fun! Been there, done that now! Had fun!
(X) Make a HOME and YARD list so you can start getting ready for the big event! I don't have a lot of outside decorations so I think this list will be a wish list of things I'd like to get so that after Halloween is over I can go scour the clearance racks and pick up stuff for next year. I've got everything out that I plan on putting out...with the exception of a carved pumpkin. But I'll wait until Halloween is closer before doing that.
(X) Decide on costumes and start buying elements for them. Done and Done! The oldest will be Cinderella and our youngest is going as a pumpkin.
(X) Check out your gift closet and decor stash for any items bought on clearance last year after Halloween. Decide on any gifts or party favors. I will have to do this for the Bunco party. Somehow I don't think the ladies would appreciate my leftover Halloween toys and candy! lol I've decided on the main prize and will have to keep an eye on sales to get it.
(X) Party Table Check: Decide on serving ware and other items. Find it, store it in a handy place or buy it if needed. Will have to take inventory of tables and coverings for the Bunco party. I've got two tables already and will have to keep an eye open for a folding table with four chairs on sale somewhere. Have two tables already and will keep an eye on sales flyers to try to get a folding card table and chairs.

Looks like I actually have something to do this week! Now, if I can just find time to fit it in! lol

***Update...as you can see, I finished everything I needed to for this week. Yippee!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yippee!

I managed to squeeze in the 15 minutes a day getting organized for Halloween. Mostly, I worked on my BOOing bags and FINALLY got those finished yesterday. So now, all that's left to do is wait until the 1st to go deliver them to the neighbors. This is my first Halloween in this neighborhood and I dearly hope that my neighbors won't turn out to be a bunch of party poopers (I wouldn't know...they're not very social!) Looking forward to it to see how far it goes. Last year, I gave them to people who's yards were decorated for Halloween but no one has any decorations out yet so...?!?

I managed to fit everything I got in the bags I had leftover. In the bag is a Halloween deck of cards, a votive candle (Fall scented of course), a Halloween cookie cutter, a temporary tattoo, some stickers, a glow-in-the-dark bracelet and naturally, candy! Hope whoever gets the bags enjoys them!

The home-made treat bags are still giving me fits! Partially because I am spending a lot of my time working on the scavenger hunt so I'm starting to stress a little that I won't get them done in time. However, I suppose that since I already purchased the bags for next year, if it comes down to it, I can always use those this year and then spend next year finishing up the bags I started this year. That would probably work too! Did that make any sense? lol

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Halloween Countdown Week 1

Today begins the Halloween countdown, a 6 week plan to help get you focused on what needs to be done in order to have a nice, relaxed Halloween! The plan can be found here in its entirety...
http://magicalholidayhome.com/?page_id=113
I will be trying to follow along. So...for this week, I figured I need to do the following:
(X)(X)(X)(X)(X)(X)(X)Spend 15 minutes each day to get organized for Fall.
(X)Set up Halloween/Autumn planner in a notebook. It's set up, I just need to label the tabs and organize a bit.
(X)Make or designate a planning calendar. Already have a Master calendar that I use.
(X)What did we do last year that worked? We had some treats for the little babies. We went trick or treating for about an hour and then handed out candy until we were out. The kids loved handing out the candy! What new things do I want to add? This year we're handing out treat bags instead of candy. We're making 50 and when those are gone, we'll be done.
(X)Print home spruce-up worksheet and complete it. I'm following along with the HGP so that should count.
(X)Planning a trip to the pumpkin patch...get it on the calendar now! Planning on going in two weeks with the playgroup. Should be fun!

That's it. I've pretty much already got all that stuff done. So, I think I will devote my 15 minutes to getting my Halloween section organized and start taking pictures of my decorations for future reference. I'll also finish decorating for fall this week. Don't really have all that much left to put out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Halloween Update

I'm pretty sure I've lost my mind! My bright idea of making my own bags is turning out to be a burnt out lightbulb of an idea! Somehow, I forgot to plan out my course of action and it turns out that my bags will cost more and take more time than if I had just bought some at Wal-Mart or something. BUT...I've already got way too much time and effort invested now to just quit. So this year, I will do the handmade bags and chalk it up to lesson learned for next year. As a matter-of-fact, I've already purchased some bags for next year...and the year after that! No way am I doing that twice! lol

Although we won't be hosting a Halloween party this year, the spouse's group that I belong to will. So..I volunteered to do the scavenger hunt for the older kids. I am having sooo much fun with it! It's not gory and due to space and time issues, it's not going to be all that I would like it to be but it should prove to be fun for the kids, none the less! It's still in the planning and creating stage but once all of the kinks are ironed out, I'll post it here to share with everyone. Maybe give some ideas to others for their next party!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August GPD

For those of you who don't know, GPD stands for Great Pumpkin Day. You are supposed to spend some time on this day doing things that will help you be ready for Halloween. So in honor of this, I decided to get my little treat bags ready today.

I spent the better part of this morning driving all over town looking for Halloween crafting supplies. It is absolutely amazing just how hard it is to find orange paper. Who knew?!? I finally decided to go a cheaper route and buy paper in a pack ($3.99) as opposed to $.25 a sheet. Now, there's only 10 sheets of orange but there's also 10 sheets of purple so I figure I can use both. And I bought a pack of white cardstock to round it all out. I did manage to find some orange sheets at Michael's that were marked down to $.15 so I grabbed those.

I also bought some stickers and a pumpkin hole punch. I saw a bunch of rubber stamps but they were a little on the expensive side so I'll wait until they go on sale or use a coupon to purchase them.

Now I get to go and cut out 50 bags. After this, I may just BUY the little gift bags on sale after Halloween for next year! :o)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Halloween Town

Friday, I went and purchased my first building for my Halloween village from Michael's. I'm sooo excited! I really wanted the Manor so I bought that one first and then found the Apothecary. So...I know what I'll be getting with the next 50% coupon I get!
Aren't they cute?

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Autumn Notebook

With summer close to being over and fall just around the corner, I've decided to get a jump on things and get my autumn notebook in order. So...for the past couple of days I've been going through MHH and printing out the great ideas that are over there. I've also been printing out all of the papers I need to get my notebook organized and ready for the Halloween countdown.

So what makes up my notebook?

- I have a section for Autumn birthdays (this is for any family member who I need to purchase something for but isn't part of the immediate family). In here is a sheet for gift ideas and that's it.
- I've chosen to celebrate Grand-parents day so there's a section for that with ideas on gifts or crafts for the kids to make.
- The first day of Autumn is in there. Complete with sheets for menu ideas, activities, and crafts.
- This year we will celebrate Mother-in-Law day (yes, I'm lucky enough to have a good relationship with mine) so there's a sheet for gift ideas as well as activities, just in case I feel like sending her on a scavenger hunt! :o)
- Halloween has a big section. It's filled with crafts, food, costume ideas, activities, BOO'd ideas, and party ideas. The Great Pumpkin Day has it's own page for ideas on what to do when that day rolls around every month.
- Just for fun I think we'll do something for Daylight Savings time ending. So, it has a section with ideas for food, activities and crafts.
- Thanksgiving is also another one with a big section. Here you can find the Thanksgiving countdown, a recipes list, craft ideas, menu ideas, activities for the kiddos, inventory of my decorations and a list of family traditions. There's also ideas on what to do for Turkey Day each month.
- My last section is a list of all the weird and wacky holidays for Fall. This is so that I can pick and choose a new and different holiday for us to celebrate from time to time. I can choose it well in advance and plan activities, food and crafts for it.

Each section divider is color coded so that I can reference that in my calendar.
So, there you have it, my notebook in a nutshell. This is my first year using it so I am hoping that it will keep me on track and ready to face the holidays stress-free!