Archive for the 'Cheap Thrill' Category

Bumbling onto Brilliance

I was looking for some visuals to liven up my last post and I came across these two cool links.  They would probably fall into the category of  “Why would you want to know how to do that?”  But, I say “Why wouldn’t you want to know how to do that!”

I’m a bit of a surviliast — you want to know how to do things in a pinch. 

So, if you are in need of messaging your own candy converstaion hearts, here you go…. 

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/02/how_to_stamp_your_own_val.html

And if, shudder to think, you can’t get your hands on candy conversation hearts at all, make your own…

http://candy.about.com/od/valentinesdaycandy/ss/convoheart_sbs.htm

 Make your own candy hearts

Brilliant! The last time I found a gem like this is was Mug O’ Cake Recipe.

“Be Prepared” is my motto. It is this kind of thinking that has me stocked with 6000 mailing labels, 1000 paper clips and 500 twisty balloons. Got a tip, let me add it to my bunker.

Ode to "Bacon Concentrate"

Feeling Giddy. Am I Dreaming?
My once ordinary mug is steaming.

Can it be? Is it true?
Cake in minutes from chocolate goo.

I StumbleUpon this magic trick —
tablespoons of ingredients, microwaved quick.

Not just a fan, but a devotee.
Bacon Concentrate is the food blog for me.

I am completely overcome. Is there really any wonder why I am moved to poetry today? A recipe that allows you to make cake in a coffee mug that you microwave — Brilliant! When I StumbledUpon Bacon Concentrate the other day and saw this recipe, I just loved the IDEA of it. But, I tried it last night and feel…complete. I have found what I was missing: the ability to have chocolate cake in a moments notice.

I may need to practice this recipe and fine tune it. (I am more than willing) There are many helpful adjustments and additions in the comments. (Comments the gorgeous sprinkles on the cupcakes of a post) Mr. Party MOMster was not as moved as I was. But, he’s really an ice cream guy. In the words of one-hit 80’s wonder, Matthew Wilder, “Ain’t nothing gonna break a my stride” (Feel free to click and rock a little — maybe rock is a bit strong. Tap your toe energetically).

Spread the word, it can be done, Cake-in-a-mug-in-minutes. My beloved MacGyver would be proud. If anyone has any other microwave dessert recipes — bring ’em on!

A Loom, A Shredder and Some Eggs…

I am so charged about “Put Your Cards On The Table Week”. But, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Inspired by a childhood memory of my sister and I weaving potholders like sweatshop workers (Hey, doesn’t that sound like fun?), I thought — let’s try that with cards.


So, I run around the house digging up stacks of old cards. I have to admit there are some I can’t bear to re-purpose and tuck them back away. But, a few seem like prime candidates and run to the shredder.

Yes, I said the shredder. I haven’t used the shredder in a while, but I thought it would slice through the cards like a pasta maker — turning my cards into colorful paper fettuccine.

“Hey guys, watch this.” I feed the card into the shredder and it spits out confetti. Not quite what I had in mind. One staffer is speechless studying the card remains. The other turns to me with wide eyes and says plainly, “Why did you do that?”

Not everyone is on board.

Plan B. The staffers are busy on their own projects. They don’t seem to have the stomach for this. So, I pull out my paper cutter and begin making my colorful paper fettuccine. Now that the cards are unrecognizable and the craft table is a big mess, the staffers want back in. We begin to weave a bookmark.

Somewhat skeptical at first, they see the pattern take shape and are thrilled. The Party MOMster’s cool quotient is rising steadily. Earlier instability is now seen as genius. The staffers can only be described as “stoked”. (Is a Mom of three allowed to stay “stoked”? Does anyone say “stoked” anymore? Am I wicked dating myself?)


Moral: You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.

“Put Your Cards On The Table Week” continues….

Put Your Cards On The Table Week…

Whoa…After my niece’s stage debut, a Graduation party and Father’s Day, the Party MOMster’s got a celebration hangover. (That does not mean the same as it did in college. I did not partake in the Beer Pong game that evolved at the end of the Graduation Party. I’m just really tired, but my house does look like a Frat house at the moment.)

But, I shall press on — because I’m the Party MOMster and I’m on a crusade: squeezing every last penny out of greeting cards. Call me “Joan of Hallmark”. (A clever twist on Joan of Arc…..ok, moving on.) My pocketbook is still smarting from my Father’s Day card purchases, as I mentioned in last week’s post, Father’s Day Gift Idea. So, this week is “Put Your Cards On Table Week”. We are going to take all our old cards, throw them on the craft table and get to work.

To kick off this week, I’m actually going to highlight a project that I did a few years back. We added our second staffer and received many beautiful cards congratulating us on our bouncing baby boy. I also had a baby’s room that could use a little art. So, I created this card collage. It was a cool memento of all the well-wishers, as well as a neat art piece for the little guy’s room.


I believe this could be a great 1st Birthday Gift. But, I think if you are looking for some cool wall art for your kid’s room, sifting through some old cards is a great start. One staffer loves pink, princesses and hates to throw stuff away. We may create another cool card collage this week or something else — you will have to stay tuned…

So, you wake up on Monday thinking it’s just another ordinary day, and you find out it’s “Put Your Cards On The Table Week”. I know the sun seems a little brighter, the air has a sweetness to it and a bird has just rested on your shoulder to chirp you a tune. Share the euphoria and your card ideas with us this week!

Father’s Day Idea: Make Dad Feel Like a ROCK STAR!


There was a time when we freely expressed our passions by emblazoning them on our chests. The Party MOMster had a GO GOs baseball t-shirt with 3/4 length purple sleeves that was worn with pride. (sigh) Good times…(written wistfully) Even the staffers proudly wear their faves: Nemo, Disney Princesses, Dora.

Doesn’t Dad deserve this kind of adoration?

We have expressed our love for Dad in various ways throughout the years — fabric painted onesies, Gap PJs and ridiculously expensive catalog T-shirts. Why? Because, we can’t resist Mr Party MOMster’s face when the staff rushes him on Father’s Day liked crazed fans with T-shirts proclaiming their love. (Think the mob in Back Street Boys, I Want It That Way or the snarkier homage of Blink 182, All the Small Things )

This year, we will continue this tradition with handmade shirts using supplies (fabric markers and iron-on inkjet sheets) from our Guest of Honor Project . But, I wanted to put this out there in plenty of time for others to partake. We will be working on ours today as we enter our 11th day of rain and 14th day of summer vacation.

So, have fun and show your love, because DADs ROCK!!!!!

P.S. (Beware the Back Street Boys videos. They seem to have a hypnotic quality. I’ve listened to five of them while I posted this. “You are my fi-re. My one de-si-re….” …Must…brake it’s hold…it’s just… too… stong! )

Father’s Day Gift Idea

Well, the Party MOMster and staff are on high alert in preparation for Father’s Day. I purchased cards today and OUCH! that really adds up. We will likely be making more of our own cards in the future. Especially after the staff added their personal touch to today’s posh purchases — they are barely recognizable.

But, enough regrets — the staff and I created a nifty card keeper to keep those little slips of gold in as a Father’s Day Gift a few years back. We used a photo box bought at the craft store and covered it with pictures of Mr. Party MOMster and the staff. Mr. Party MOMster is very sentimental and couldn’t image tossing out his beloved cards, so now he has a safe place to keep them.

Now, if your staff is a bit young or heavy with the glue stick, you can also use Full Sheet Ink jet Printer Labels at an office supple store. You can just print out your pictures, cut them out and stick them right on. It looks nice and neat and the pictures are less likely to curl or pop off. I love these label sheets. We have used them on goody bags, presents and invitations.

For those of us that are a little less sentimental and want to get a bit more mileage out of our pricey bits of paper, I have started keeping a small scrap box of old cards. The staff can take bits to make other things — like cards (I should have remembered that earlier), place mats, bookmarks, art, etc.

Have any handy Father’s Day gift ideas? Please share. We love to spoil our Dad, Grandad, Poppy and Great Grandad on Father’s Day.

MacGyver Your Party Decorations

Oh, MacGyver. He is just dreamy. I forgot about the mullet hair — yes, there was a time that it could work. If you feel like going in the wayback machine, watch this clip. For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, MacGyver was a TV show from the late 80’s to the early 90’s. Angus MacGyver was a secret agent who was extremely resourceful using whatever he found, a piece of gum, a ballpoint pen, a button, whatever — to save the day.

So, we are going to talk about using what you already have to decorate. (See this wasn’t just a gratuitous 80’s reference and use of video)

One thing the Party MOMster is lousy with is TOYS. So, pull some out as decorations. Here are some from the Party MOMster archives:

  • Little People Farm as a centerpiece at our farm party.
  • Littlest Pet Shop characters on my cupcake display stand for a Littlest Pet Shop Party.
  • Dress up beads and crowns for a Princess party. We also had a fairytale puppet set. We slipped the individual puppets over water bottles and put them on the fireplace mantle.
  • For our several animal, jungle, polar parties, we dug out any stuffed animal, puppet and figurine applied.
  • Any books that relate to the theme can be a colorful addition as well.

I would love to say that this was my idea, but this was a staff revelation. And they are very thorough in scouring the house for any relevant toy. Bottom line, you have likely picked a party theme because it interests your kids. And if it interests them, they probably have some related toys already.

Go get you MacGyver on!

You got a Book in my Party. You got a Party in my Book. Two great things that go great together….

I love books, especially Children’s Books, and books can be a great theme for a Birthday Party. If you are not convinced, then here is a celebrity example. Christina Aguilera had a “Where The Wild Things Are” First Birthday Party for her son, Max, earlier this year. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20253528,00.html

And even bigger celebrities, like yours truly, has pulled off a book party or two.

One thing I love about a party that is tied to a book is the amazing keepsake the book then becomes. The guest of honor will always have great memories tied to that book, which will be triggered every time it is taken down from the shelf.

Now, the book can become the theme as Ms. Aguilera did. Or the book works with a larger party theme, like jungle, polar or princess. It can be displayed as a decoration — maybe guests can sign the inside of the cover or leave a message. A staffer received If I Ran The Circus by Dr. Seuss at their Circus Party. Inside was a poem their clever Grandmother wrote, needless to say it is one of their favorite books.

And reading a book can be a great party activity, especially for toddlers and preschoolers. At a Safari party for preschoolers, we read Sitting In My Box by Dee Lillegard. It is a cute story about a bunch of animals that join a boy in a cardboard box. We had a cardboard box and animal puppets which we used to act out the story.

Coming soon, more book suggestions and ways to bring them to life at your party. And if you have a great book to share — please post!

PS (Did anyone get my homage to the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter commercial? Come on give it to me!)

Chair of Honor

If you are looking for a way to make someone’s Birthday a bit more out of the ordinary, decorate their chair creating the “Chair of Honor” (Can you feel the Grandness of it all — imagine trumpets blairing) Big or small — no one can resist the Chair of Honor.

This can take many forms. You can have your staff decorate the chair with pictures, paper, bows, balloon, stickers, streamers. Too much is never enough on this one.

Or for a keepsake that can be used again and again. Take a pillowcase and decorate it with fabric markers, ribbon, buttons, iron-on patches or laser printer sheets. On Birthdays, you can slip the pillowcase over the back of the honorees chair. The staff and I just finished up this one today. One side we used iron-on laser print sheets and on the other side was customized by the staff using fabric markers.


The “Chair of Honor” can become a great family tradition that can help punctuate the extraordinary nature of the day. Other ways of achieving this are eating in the dining room or anywhere out of the ordinary — picnic in the family room! I have a red plate with “You Are Special” painted on it that is only used on celebratory occassions. You can make something like this at a paint your own pottery place.

Have a great tradition to pass along? Please share!

Stay tuned to see if the staff embraces this great tradition for yours truly(Tomorrow is the big day!)

Make the News on their 1st Birthday

So, I don’t want this blog to look like a catalog. Here’s an idea that won’t cost ya….

Your Baby’s First Birthday is a very exciting time. Especially, if it’s your first First Birthday. Things seem to even out as you finish out Year One. What knocked you on your butt 12 months earlier has evened out, you feel like you’ve found your parenting groove and its time to celebrate. And it is easy to get carried away. But, let’s be real. Your guest of honor doesn’t really know what is going on. And it is very easy to overwhelm him or her. Even the Party MOMster has learned to show some restraint.

But if you are looking for a lot of bang for your buck — get your little one on TV. Many local TV stations announce Baby’s First Birthdays and it doesn’t cost a thing, just a little planning. Check the different news affiliates in your area at least a month ahead of the big day because there is usually a few weeks of lead time. Then, you just need to email a picture file (they will let you know the format they require). And then wait for the big day. If the Birthday is during the week, you may have to get up early to see it announced. I’ve done a 5am viewing. But, now there is Tivo and VCRs(ok, those aren’t new — I’m trying to think why I was up at 5am –probably just my enthusiasm) you can catch it at your convenience.

Getting your little one on TV gives you that celebration buzz so fitting for a First Birthday.


Party Tableau from My Talented Staffers

Super Foolishness (According to Me!)