One Megacoolmama…

…with fun and healthy ideas for kids!

“Little Monster” first birthday party


The birthday boy enjoying his first taste of cake!

The birthday boy enjoying his first taste of cake!

My little guy recently turned one, and I wanted to focus his party on a theme that had not been overdone. Also, his birthday is on Valentine’s Day, so I wanted to make sure that I was making a clear separation between the holiday and his birthday.

The “Little Monster” theme came to mind when searching through Pinterest, (of course, where else?).  I wanted to try and do as much as I could myself in the way of decorations and to use as many scrap materials around the house as possible when doing it.

After a while, I was starting to drive myself crazy with all of the cute Pinterest-y things I was finding, hoping that I would find the time to do everything…yeah, didn’t happen!  However, I think we still pulled off a pretty cute Little Monster Party, and I did it by just focusing on a couple of main things instead of trying to make every single little detail perfect.  And, guess what?  I got lots of “Great party!” comments on the way out!  I would say that is a success!

I am sharing with you a few of the activities, foods and decorations that I did for the Little Monster party.  Feel free to use any of the ideas for your own Little Monsters!



-Tissue poms with pasted on eyes.  We hung a few and stuffed a few into buckets for centerpieces for the tables.





tissue pom decoration

-Homemade birthday banner.  I used scraps of card stock that I had leftover from my scrapbooking days, and went with the colors I had most of- blue, orange, green, purple and yellow….those ended up being the main colors of the party!  I drew and cut out the letters and just pasted everything with Elmer’s glue.  I used a paper hole punch, strung some yarn through, and voila!  I plan on using this banner in years to come and just switching out the “1” with a different number!

photo (22)

-Big wall monsters.  I used big butcher block paper and colored paper plates for the eyes and claws/teeth.  I cut out the shapes, colored where necessary and taped to the walls and doors!

door monster





wall monster

wall monster

-Hanging monsters.  These little inflatables I bought from Amazon and were a cute touch.  I hung them from the light fixtures in the kitchen and dining room and had another one just floating between tables.  Super cute and lasted the entire party!



-Monster fruit.  I drew faces on some clementines and bananas, and then I used a chip tray to arrange green grapes and blueberries with a big eye in the center.  I used, once again, a paper plate and marker for the eye.

monster fruit tray

monster fruit tray 2

-Monster pretzels.  My sister helped me out here!  We took rod pretzels, dipped them in white chocolate, covered with colorful sprinkles and then stuck an edible eyeball on them.  So cute and a nice sweet/salty treat!

monster pretzels

-Monster mix.  For the sweet table, I had two buckets of Monster Mix (as seen in the far right and left buckets in the picture above).  One was a bucket full of colorful jelly/sugar candies, like gummy Jolly Ranchers and LifeSavers, jelly beans, and gummy SweetTarts.  The other bucket was full of M&M’s.  I had little striped cupcake paper wrappers out for the little ones to fill with candy.  The sweet table was a big hit, especially with the option to fill the cupcake wrappers from the buckets!

-Monster lollipops.  Yep, ordered these from Amazon, too!  Something simple, but added just the right touch to our little sweet table.


-Adopt-a-Monster.  The goodie bag for the kids at the end of the party was a little monster that they could adopt.  I ordered a couple of bags of cute little monster dolls from Amazon and created an Official Monster Adoption Certificate that each child could fill out and take home with the monster of their choosing.  The kids loved being able to adopt a monster; as a matter of fact, I think my niece snagged three! 🙂

-Make your own Monster.  All I did here was make copies of a monster body parts template that I found here.  The kids cut out body parts, colored them and pasted them on their monster bodies.  It kept kids busy and creative at the same time!

-Monster labels.  I just printed these out, cut them, and left them on the table for the kids to do as they pleased with them.  Some used them as labels for their adopted monsters, others used them to give monster names to themselves, and others stuck them on their cups.  Just something a little extra to go with the theme.  🙂


We had a great time celebrating my little guy’s first birthday, but all of these ideas were just a fun addition to what made the party the most special– the people, of course!  We are blessed with amazing family and friends, and were are grateful to be able to celebrate our children’s milestones with the people we love most!

first birthday

Oh, and CAKE!  Lol…I almost forgot the cake!  To serve the guests, we just ordered a blank sheet cake from Costco, and I decorate it myself–not too shabby, eh?  And, the special birthday boy’s smash cake was ordered from a bakery by my house.  Loved it! (and, yes, those are Monster cookies you see in the background!)



monster cake



Thanks for reading!  Hope you can use some of my ideas…I would love to hear some of yours in the comments below! 🙂


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No-mess water bag toy

I just thought I would share a super simple, frugal idea for a no-mess water toy for toddlers.  I got the idea from a friend after seeing a pic of her little guy playing with this on her Facebook.

All you need to make it is a large Ziploc bag, water, and duct tape.  Optional are oil, food coloring and small non-pointy items, like beads or buttons.


no mess water bag toy

My little guy playing with his water bag on the patio door window!


I filled the Ziploc bag with about 2-3 inches of water and added a bit of oil to add some interest to the plain water.  You will want to hold the bag over the sink once you have a bit of water in it to make sure there are no little holes that could spring a big leak!

Also, I had some old container of cupcake sprinkles that were in the shape of hearts and stars that I threw in there so the baby could see something moving around when he touched the bag.  Finally, I made sure the Ziploc bag was good and shut and then duct taped it to the window, right about the height of his head.

He spent a good 10-15 minutes just pounding on the bag, watching the water move around!  However, we did have to move the bag up a couple inches right after taking the above pictures since he decided that he wanted to try and eat the bottom corner of the bag!

I have left the bag taped to the window so that he has something else to pound on when he plays in his little area, and I will probably leave it there for the next few days or so…it seems to have withstood the pounding he gave it today pretty well, so I’m hoping it will survive a few more days!

Do you have any ideas for frugal, simple toys for your kids?


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Fun with foil: a simple kids’ craft

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am constantly looking for something new to keep my kids busy and off of technology for at least a good part of the day.  I see some really cool ideas on Pinterest, but, most of the time, I don’t have the materials I need to even begin the project!  In my desperation to combat the dreaded “I’m bored” coming from my son’s mouth, I came up with this activity for him to do.  Honestly, I was cooking in the kitchen when he came up to me with the “I don’t know what to do” complaint.  I walked into the pantry to grab something, saw the aluminum foil, and “voilá!”, this idea was born!

All you need for this simple craft is aluminum foil.  Nothing else!  Just rip or cut it into strips, and let your kids’ creativity do the rest!

aluminum foil craft step 1

Step 1:  Take a out a piece of aluminum foil, about a foot out of the box.  Tear little starting “tabs” at the top of the foil piece (about an inch apart), like shown in the photo above.


aluminum foil step 2

Step 2:  Tear the aluminum foil sheet into (more or less) even strips.  You can cut, too, if you feel like your ripping skills are subpar. 🙂


aluminum foil step 3


aluminum foil 3b

Step 3:  Squeeze and pinch the aluminum foil strips so that they form pliable “wire-like” pieces.


aluminum foil step 4

Step 4:  Start pinching and pushing the pieces together to form different figures–let your kids get creative here!  In this picture, Devin is making a snowflake.  My daughter decided to break the pieces apart and try to make her name.


aluminum foil 5

Step 5:  Show off your creations!  Devin ended up making a mini tv set!

The kids had fun and stayed entertained for a good 30 minutes with this.  And, they really enjoyed crumpling all of the little aluminum foil pieces into a big ball when they were done.  I know this activity is SUPER simple, but sometimes simplicity = creativity, which is always a good thing in my book!

Did you try this activity with your kids?  Do you do something similar?  I’d love your feedback in the comments!

Land Of Nod: Design for Kids and People That Used to be Kids

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Paper towel tube activity!

Being stuck inside during cold weather with no snow = some pretty fun and creative activities inside the house!  For some reason, I had decided to save up our empty paper towel tubes….I figured that we could use them one day for something.  Well, my son and I came up with that “something” yesterday!  We decided to make what we called a paper towel tube slide for his cars and my daughter’s miniature-sized dolls.  It worked well, was really fun, and we only needed the empty paper towel tubes and scissors to make it!  Less mess is always awesome in my book!  See the photo collage below for a visual on how it was done…


Our paper towel tube slide!

Our paper towel tube slide!


Here is the wordier version, for those of you who like to read through it:

1.  Cut one end of the paper towel tube with scissors.  Make sure not to cut where two flaps come together because it doesn’t seem to work as well that way.  Too much flapping going on.

2.  Admire your cut.  It should be about an inch to an inch and a half long.

3.  Line up the cut end of your paper towel tube with the non-cut end of another paper towel tube.  You will want to make sure that the other tube is about the same size (some brands run smaller or bigger versions of tubes).

4.  Insert the cut paper towel tube into the other one until the cut is completely inside.  You may need to move/twist it a bit to adjust it.  Repeat this step and the previous three until you get a “slide” to the size that you want it.

5.  Hand off the paper towel tube slide to the little one.  Admire his/her look of joy!

6.  Have fun sliding cars and all kinds of miniature toys through your paper towel tube slide!


Simple?  Yes.  Silly?  Maybe.  But my kids loved it and were actually entertained for at least 30 minutes at a time with this thing!  They experimented with different toys and in different places, which gave the slide all sorts of fun angles.  You could get really “educational” with this and have the kids predict which toys will slide down the tube the fastest, which ones may or may not fit, and which angles will give them the most velocity.  That’s only if you feel like you need to make it a more noticeable learning experience.  The kids will actually start experimenting on their own if you just let it happen!

Did you try this?  Let me know in the comments how it went!  🙂

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Free downloadable pumpkin stencils, and for a cause!


If you go to this link, Better Homes and Gardens will give you a cute selection of downloadable pumpkin carving stencils!  And, what’s even better is that every time a stencil is downloaded, Better Homes and Gardens donates $2 to a charity!  Each stencil is associated with a different charity, all for good causes.  Why not download them all to give a helping hand today!  Free stencils AND donating to a good cause?  Megacool!  🙂

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