DIY, Parenting

Creative Gift Giving For Kids: Idea #1 (For Less Than $30!)







gift ideas for seven year olds

It seems like everyone in our lives celebrates a birthday (haha), am I right or am I right?!  I absolutely love coming up with creative ideas for gift giving and I thought I’d share some of my ideas with all of you.  Today, I want to talk about gift giving for the six, seven, or eight year old in your life (this might also work for children who are slightly younger or slightly older, depending on the child).  I should mention that this idea is one that I think would be absolutely perfect for children who will be staying home during summer break since it provides daily activities that inspire creativity and encourage imagination. That said, I bring to you the Super Sleuth Spy Kit. The best part?! This gift can be assembled for a little less than $30!

We were recently invited to a birthday party for one of our sweet friends who was turning into a seven year old. Although the theme was “Monster High”, I knew I wanted to do something a little out of the box (I love unique gifts) for our gift to her.

gift ideas for a seven year old


The inspiration for this gift idea came to me when I was perusing my local Target for gift ideas.  While walking around the book aisle, I came across Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries and it was there that the lightbulb went off in my head. Why not create a Super Sleuth Spy Kit for her?!


Creative Gift Ideas for Kids

The book (which retails at around $6.00), provides some great suggestions for items to put in your very own spy kit. With only a couple of exceptions, I purchased everything the book suggested and separated them into gallon size zip lock bags based on which type of sleuthing the items would be most appropriate for (because you all know how important staying organized is to me).

Super Sleuth Spy Kit for Kids

The first bag included all of the materials a seven year old would need to collect evidence during an investigation: Composition books, a magnifying glass, pencils (and a pencil sharpener), and tweezers.

Disguise Kit

The second bag included some materials that could be used as disguises. As you know, a super sleuth can never be too careful. The book recommended also including a hat but I figured she probably already has a few around the house she can use.

Lock Pickers

No detective is complete without their lock pickers (bobby pins), of course!

Spy Material Kit for Kids

Some of the other items included in the kit were a mirror, lipstick (chapstick) for writing secret messages (sorry Mom and Dad ;)), a ruler, tape for picking up fingerprints, and a cup for listening through walls.

Spy Snacks

And because spies often get hungry on the job, I also included some fun super sleuth spy snacks.

Super Spy Kit Gift Idea for kids

I put all of the items together in a large case and wrapped them together in her gift bag. I will admit that I was nervous when we gave her the gift at her party. I wasn’t sure how it would go over with someone her age (especially after she got a series of new dolls from other guests) but her mom tells me she’s had a lot of fun collecting evidence all around their house.

Daily Life, DIY, Parenting, Pictures, Tutorials

A Minnie Mouse Themed Birthday Weekend

As you know, my sweet girl turned two years old  a week ago today and we celebrated all weekend Minnie Mouse style. I have been so excited to share this with all of you. We are so fortunate to be blessed with such an incredible group of family and friends. So much so that we decided it would be less overwhelming to break up the birthday celebrations into two days. On Friday evening, we had invited 21 people over for a hot doggity dog birthday dinner and did our family (along with a couple of our ‘basically family’ friends) on Saturday for a celebration at a place in a nearby town (closer to where my family is). The sad news is that it snowed so much on Thursday that many of our guests were stuck in their homes and unable to make it on Friday night so it ended up being a play date birthday celebration for C and her friend who lives just a few houses down. Having just gotten back into town from my friend’s baby shower, I found myself more pressed for time than I would have liked but, overall, I’m really happy with how everything turned out.

For both events I wanted to be sure to give guests a small takeaway as a thank you for spending time with us and so I hand dipped marshmallows and Oreo cookies in white chocolate, covered them with red sprinkles, and wrapped them in clear bags with a red Mouse head and white ribbon. I was really happy with them.

Chocolate Covered Oreos                 White Chocolate Covered Marshmellows

Mickey Mouse Party Favors

I dressed our dining room table with a red table-cloth, Mouse Head “placements”, white plates, and color coordinating decorations. On the light above the table I hung red, white, and black tissue paper pom-pom balls (which I posted a tutorial for on Tuesday).

Minnie Mouse Themed Dinner Party

Minnie Mouse Theme Table Top

Saturday presented a bit of a challenge. The location where C’s event was held required me to drop off the party decorations at least 24 hours in advance but, since it’s almost 45 minutes away and we had a massive snowstorm, I wasn’t able to meet that deadline. I called them and asked if there was any way I could get into the room earlier so that I would have some time to decorate. They told me it was no big deal if I wanted to show up at 1:45 (the party was at 2:30). What they meant by “no big deal” was “we’re not being honest”.

I showed up at 1:45 only to discover that they had booked our room back to back and the other party was not slated to be out of the room until 2:00. They really tested my resolve with this one. I got into the room around 2:10 or so and had just over 15 minutes to get it decorated, have the food out, and somehow manage to not look like I just threw it all together. “Challenge Accepted!” I’m not really sure how I got it all done but, somehow, it worked:

Minnie Mouse Theme Birthday Party Table

Minnie Mouse Theme Birthday Party

Red, Black, and White Table Top Decorations

Minnie Mouse Decorations

A few of the decorations I used for both parties:

Mickey Mouse Themed Party

Minnine Mouse Themed Party Decorations

Mickey Mouse Themed Party Invitations

The big Mouse ear (pictured above) was actually the invitation for the birthday party. What I did was slip a small white card with the party details between the red and black on the invitation. This was far better than anything I could have purchased from a store. Speaking of…I had made everything but the plates, cups, and napkins for this party. I wouldn’t consider myself the most crafty person so if I can do it, so can you! 🙂

Cupcakes, Daily Life, Food, Parenting, Pictures

Happy Birthday, Little One….A Look Back In Time (With Pictures)

I cannot believe how quickly time just seems to have flown by since we were celebrating C’s 1st birthday last year. Today, she turns two and since we’ll be busy sharing this special day with our family, I wanted to take some time to share last year’s event.

Sock Monkey Cupcakes

Late last winter C was obsessed with her Sock Monkey, Isabella, and all of Isabella’s friends (we had a few of those singing and dancing sock monkeys that Target sold last year) and so we wanted to capitalize on what we knew she enjoyed.

Sock Monkey Theme Birthday

Sock Monkey Smash Cake

It's An Ordinary Blog

It's An Ordinary Blog

It's An Ordinary Blog

It's An Ordinary Blog

It's An Ordinary Blog

It's An Ordinary Blog

Tissue Paper Pom Pom Ballls

It's An Ordinary Blog

Birthday Party Treats

Sock Monkey Birthday Party


The Surprise

My husband had a big day on Friday (happy birthday, honey!) and I wanted to do something special to help him celebrate. So, I decided to throw a surprise party with a few friends. In case you’re searching for ideas for an upcoming event, I thought it might be nice to share how ours went down. I should mention that this was a little last-minute (having birthdays around Christmas can sometimes make planning a lot more difficult) and I probably could have tweaked the security company script a little better (I’ll get to it, don’t worry). All in all I think it went really, really well. The husband had no idea and the surprise was hysterical. Here’s what happened:

My husband was under the impression that we were going to meet some friends at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner…we weren’t. Instead, some of our friends came over for pizza, beer, and cupcakes. Pulling this off was a lot of fun but it absolutely would not have worked without the help of everyone who came. Here’s why…

Our friends that were “meeting” us for dinner were supposed to call when they were ready to leave their place. That call really came from the two friends who were waiting on our back porch as we left the house. I asked the husband to go ahead and bring our toddler down to the car, warm it up, and get her in her car seat while I grabbed a few things we would need for dinner. I was really letting them into the house and getting out a few of the things for the party, letting them know where they could find the balloons, and growing anxious with excitement.

We drove away while the rest of our guests parked down the street and came over to hide in our living room and wait (that sounds a lot more creepy than it actually was). I needed gas anyway, so it was the perfect excuse to still be relatively close to home in the 15 minute window we had before we would be heading back. I had a friend, who lives out-of-state and has never met my husband, call and pretend to be a representative from our security company calling about our front door alarm.

I thought that part of the plan would go off without a hitch…I was wrong. When the call came in, my husband was a little confused as to who would be calling from a blocked number (our security company always calls from their toll-free number) but I had assumed he wouldn’t think much of it. When the caller indicated they were from the security company, he wasn’t buying it. In fact, he wouldn’t give them any information and thought the call was highly suspect (which, of course, it was). It took some quick thinking to turn the situation around before my husband called our real security company or, worse, the police department.

I happen to keep the number for our security company in my phone and so I pretended to call them and verify what had happened. I reassured my husband that it was, indeed, them who had called and that they had dispatched the police department to meet us at our house for the alarm. Surprisingly, he still had no idea at that point. We turned around and headed back home. On the way, I called the friends who we were supposed to be meeting to let them know that we would be late (really to let them know that we were on our way).

When we got home, I went and checked the perimeter of the house for signs of a break in (which is exactly what I did the last time we had an alarm go off at home). When I got back to the car, I told my husband that it didn’t look like anyone had broken in but I was too nervous to go check the front door so I asked if he would. As I suspected, he obliged.

Our guests had left the door cracked open just enough so that it wasn’t noticeable from the street or the driveway. When my husband went to check the door, he pushed it open ever so slightly and heard a noise (our friend’s daughter) in the house. He booked it back to the car (we were parked on the street), got in the car, and said “someone is IN the house!”.  Trying to contain my laughter, I asked, “What?! What do you mean someone is in the house?”

“The door was open and I heard someone,” he exclaimed.

“Go back in there and see who it is,” I said.

“Hell no I’m not going back in there! We’re waiting for the police,” he replied.

“Just open the door and tell them that we’ve called the police and then come back to the car,” I requested.

“Absolutely not,” he yelled.

“Fine, I’ll go,” I replied.

“If one of us is going it, it’s going to be me,” he urged.

He went back up to the house, opened the front door, and yelled, “WHAT THE F***?!” as he saw his friends waiting for him at the top of the stairs.

“SURPRISE,” they yelled.

It was absolutely hysterical. My poor husband was a little shocked, flustered, and maybe just a little embarrassed but it worked and I guarantee it will be among the most memorable of his birthdays. I feel confident in saying that everyone who was a part of this event enjoyed playing their respective role and it was fun to plan a surprise he would never, ever expect.

As I stated before, it really wouldn’t have been possible without the help of everyone. Here’s the timeline of events from the night:

6:10pm: Friends show up on back porch, call to let me know.

6:15pm: We leave the house.

6:20pm: Friends who were picking up the pizza I ordered arrived.

6:20-6:30pm: Guests arrive.

6:30pm: Call comes in from security company, we head home.

6:40pm: The surprise happens.

Thank you to everyone who came over to help my husband celebrate his big day and thanks to my husband for being such a good sport even though it was a big prank. Honey, you don’t have to worry…I don’t think I will ever be able to top this surprise party. Unless, of course, I can think of something else. 😉