Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Advent Party Ideas

December 8 marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception is one of six recognized Holy Days in the liturgical calendar. Here are free printable activities and lessons to celebrate this feast day. If you're Catholic, why not throw a party to honor the Blessed Mother? I did. Here's how. Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Advent Activities for Parents and Children
I've gone through all the noted Catholic websites and linked this article to children's liturgy activities that explore the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother. 

Free Printable Hanukkah Crafts, Kids Activities

 Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) is the Jewish Festival of Light. It begins the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 27, this year (very early). On the Hebrew lunar calendar it's always the 25th of Kislev. This eight-day feast lands some time late November to early December on the Gregorian calendar.

Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas. The two holidays share nothing except calendar proximity. Hanukkah celebrates the Miracle of the Maccabees, when the temple lights did not burn out for eight days. The festival involves lighting the menorah, feasting, dreidel games and other activities.  Free Printable Hanukkah Crafts, Kids Activities

Free Printable Hanukkah Crafts, Activities

Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) is the Jewish Festival of Light. It begins the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 27, this year (very early). On the Hebrew lunar calendar it's always the 25th of Kislev. This eight-day feast lands some time late November to early December on the Gregorian calendar. Here are Free Printable Hanukkah Crafts, Kids Activities 

Free Printable Secret Code Patterns, Spy Kits

Remember secret decoder rings? They're coming back. Kids love them! Why not make your own decoder ring. Here are free printable secret code patterns to help. There are decoder wheels, crafts and spy games. I've added a link for a free printable spy kit from Backyardigans at Nick Jr. Perfect for a spy themed kids' birthday party. Or James Bond, Indiana Jones or Doctor Who theme. Or an Egyptian theme--hieroglyphics are just really cool codes. Free Printable Secret Codes for Decoder Rings 

Five Worst Gifts for Women, With Better Alternatives

It's the holiday (or birthday) of your beloved and you did it again, didn't you? You put off shopping too long. Whatever the gift giving holiday, most guys can usually found at the store last-minute, frantically searching. And since you put off shopping so long, you'll be in a hurry and will grab the first thing you see. Guys, we women hate it when you do this. But never fear, I am here to bail you out of your own foolish mess. Here are five gifts ideas that you should avoid with alternate gifts that will always be appreciated.  Five Worst Holiday Gifts and Great Alternative Presents for Women

Roaring Twenties Flapper Gangster Couple Halloween Costume

I dressed as a dead flapper for our Haunted Museum Saturday. I used costume ideas from a vintage carnival photo we had done in 1983. And a Roaring Twenties gangster-flapper couples' costume my husband and I wore in 1994. Wish I could find the photos (no, that's not me!) Here's how to make, easy and cheap, dead or alive (scary version or living one). This couples' costume is tres Gothic and very definitely for adult-only parties. .Roaring Twenties Flapper Gangster Couple Halloween Costume, Dead or Alive

Dual Purpose Halloween Costume, Scary and Non-Scary

 I just wrote about dressing up for Halloween this year and needing two costumes. I'll need a non-scary one for helping at my daughter's school concert. The I'm volunteering at our local "Haunted Museum." Here's how I plan to make one costume multitask for both. I'm going as Boudica, Warrior Princess. My Dual Purpose Halloween Costume, Boadicea Scary and Non-Scary

Host a Harvest Apple Party! Crafts, Activities, Recipes, Printables

Looking for a non-scary Halloween party theme? How about apples? Apples are the perfect party theme for fall harvest frolics. Here's an interactive apple activity planner with crafts, recipes, art, creative writing, math and more. I've added free printable apple-themed crafts and worksheets for activity extenders.  Preschool Apple Unit, Cross-Curricular Hands-on Crafts, Activities, Recipes 

Uninvited to a Party? The Term Is Social Ignorance

There's more to planning a party than decorations and recipes. There's social protocol. Case in point: invitations. My daughter just told me she was "uninvited" to a party. She didn't do anything wrong, wasn't rude, was just her sweet, loving self. The hostess was asked by another invitee to exclude my daughter. And the hostess kowtowed.

I didn't think this needed saying, but there is no such thing as uninviting. Call it what you will, it translates to bad manners. In any respectable socal group, taking back invitations is socially verboten. What the hostess more accurately should have said was "I have no pride or self-respect. I'm so desperate to be popular that I'll kick my friend to the curb to please." What she in fact looks is foolish. Read more Uninvited? The Old Term Was Bad Manners

Paranormal Prose Flash Fiction Slam and Party for Halloween

On another site I wrote for, we used to have an annual Halloween flash fiction contest. Several years in a row, I "hosted" a fiction share thread on our forum. We'd share our submissions, read each others' and have good spookable fun. I added submissions to my blog. Now I'm inviting and challenging you to a paranormal prose flash fiction share
online. Oh and how about a Halloween party following your haunted slam? Check out the Halloween link for oodles of party tips. Paranormal Prose Flash Fiction Slam for Halloween 

How About Amateur Wine Tasting for Girls' Night Out?

I discovered the joie de vivre of wine about 10 years ago, before it began to enjoy the girls-night-out popularity it does now! I wasn't raised with it. Few were, in our small Michigan Dutch community. And wine hadn't come into it's own for the common man till the mid-90s. My grandfather tippled his daily cream sherry, but as my grandmother was wont to point out, that was not exactly haute epicurean wine! I'd always been fascinated with world cultures in which wine was part of their tradition.

So how about, at your next bash, an amateur wine tasting? I won't say I'm a sommelier yet, but I'm learning the language. And I can steer you to some good ones. My new find is Amateur Sommelier Wine Musings: Chilean Carmenere Merlot

Family Glue Recipes: Organize DIY Events, Festivals

We've been married 26 years and raised four kids. From first-hand experience, I can say, the disconnected family falls apart, but the family does things together stays together. I've been writing a day Relationship Glue Recipe and Family Glue Recipe with bonding activities to keep families close.

A favorite is hosting my own events and festivals. I got the idea from the old Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Carnival. You could buy a kit and host your own backyard carnival. I never did but wanted to as a kid, so I reprised it as an adult (this article contains links to get one of those old kits!) Read on for tips Family Glue Recipes: Organize, Host Your Own Events, Festivals 

Free Printable Bridal Shower Letter From Groom Game

For some reason I'm not entirely sure of, free printable bridal shower games are a freakishly popular search term. I've been to and thrown a fair amount of wedding showers. And I love the games part best (well, almost as much as the mimosa bar I did for my oldest daughter's shower!) Here's a game that never gets old--letter from groom to bride with fruit and vegetable fill-ins? Never heard of it? Click this link. You'll love it! Free Printable Bridal Shower Game

Free Printable Writer Party Story Starters, Picture Cue Writing Prompts

March 21 is World Poetry Day and April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. But why wait till then? Host a writing party in the middle of summer, for back-to-school or just because. Teens love to write (but shh, don't tell them you know. They'll get shy and clam up). So why not throw a writer-themed birthday party for your teenager? Or tween or younger child if that's their thing. Parents, you can do with kids at home or make activities part of a home school lessons. Here are free printable preschool story starters and picture cue writing prompts to get the ideas flowing.Free Printable Preschool Story Starters, Picture Cue Writing Prompts

Free, Cheap Birthday Party Ideas for Children

 My friend posed an excellent question recently. Is it necessary, she wondered, to throw a big party for birthdays? While I think birthday parties are nice, particularly for kids, they can get out of hand, price-wise. I know many people to blow several hundred bucks just on the party. That doesn't even cover gifts. Ridiculous. And it serves no purpose except setting up a horrific case of attitude of expectation in the child. The last thing you want is the green-eyed greed monster biting your child.

As a homeschooling mom to four kids, I've planned a plethora of kids' party activities. I'm also a teacher and I've hosted numerous classroom events. I've had some great successes and colossal fails. From those experiences, I've compiled a list of tips for parents on party planning for children. Being a frugalista, these party planning hints focus on cheap, homemade party activities.

* Keep kids party activities simple. Birthday parties for children should be fun for parents, too. And they won't be if you're stressed out. If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Contrary to popular belief, kids are very easy to please. Most (regardless of age) would rather just play with friends at birthday parties for children than have the fancy-schmancy trappings.

* Skip the overpriced d├ęcor for birthday parties for children. DIY it. Use free printable party supplies. Put the money you save toward presents. Your kids will enjoy gifts more than throw-away decorations (Mother Earth appreciates it too).

* Do birthday parties for children at a park, beach or playground. Some kid party venues charge $15 per guest. Parks are free and often have bathrooms and trash cans for ease of cleanup. Park parties mean less wear and tear on your backyard, too. You can run over-rambunctious guests and circumvent potential behavior problems. Choose one close to home, in case of emergencies.

* Limit guest list at birthday parties for children. My kids party planning rule of thumb is one guest for every year the child is old, including siblings and the birthday child. I don't recommend whole-class parties; guests who are invited only because parents force it often feel left out. And please, speaking as a teacher, don't let kids distribute invitations at school. This always causes drama and hurt feelings.

* Award everyone (or no one) a prize for party activities for kids. Competitive games at birthday parties for children don't work for several reasons. It's sometimes difficult to determine who won. It encourages greed and ruthlessness. Avoid prizes and also keep little take-home junk bags simple. If you do a giveaway at birthday parties for children, make it something useful. Make-it-take-it crafts do double duty as party activities and giveaways.

* Keep food simple in kids party planning. Picnic foods are great for a kids party-- hamburgers or hot dogs (precooked and stored in foil-covered, disposable pans). Pre-made sandwiches work well, too. Or order pizza. Little Caesars sells large Hot and Ready single-topping pizzas under $6. Provide water bottles, juice boxes or small cans of soda. Serve individually-packages ice cream novelties. Don't bother with a cake. Most goes to waste. Make cupcakes and let kids decorate their own. Or serve packaged cupcakes. Pop in candles before serving so you can sing to the birthday child.
These party planning tips make for win-win kids parties

Free Printable Castles: Cut and Paste Activities

Got a fairy or princess party to plan? How about free printable crafts for said party? I am the printables diva. I check for free internet printables when I need crafts, projects, lessons or activities. One day our youngest asked for a free printable castle coloring page. She wanted coloring pages with some challenge. Not only did I find her castle coloring pages, I found printable cut and paste castle models as well. A perfect craft for your princess party!Free Printable Castles: Cut and Paste Activities

Free Printable Educational Cut and Paste Craft Projects, Activities

Summer is an excellent time to explore the wonderful world of free printable projects and activities. Planning a children's party? Tune in these websites for printable holiday, birthday and special-occasion crafts. Cut and paste activities are perfect for day care, kids at home, road trips, rainy day fun and summer craft camps. During the summer, teachers and homeschoolers have an opportunity to make educational games and activities for their classrooms. Free printable activities are the perfect resource for educational games.  Free Printable Educational Cut and Paste Projects and Activities 

Easy, Inexpensive Dad-Centered Kid-Friendly Father's Day Party

It might not sound odd to title a Father's Day party "dad-centered." Obviously it should be about dad. Unfortunately, parties aren't always geared to the person of honor. Here's a party dads will love, as well as kids. Being a frugalista mom, I focus on cheap, kid-friendly homemade fun.

First, a word on party psychology. Make it clear who it's about.  I have a dear friend who, though she means well, is selfish. Every event must center on her, even when its someone else's day. Parties she plans are about what she wants, not the person she's throwing it for. Make holidays about everyone. Fit the party to the person, not the person to the party. Let dad do as he pleases on Father's Day. Don't expect dad to dress up if he doesn't want to. It's his day to be comfortable.  Read more at Easy, Inexpensive Dad-Centered Kid-Friendly Father's Day Party 

Cheap Homemade Memorial Day Party Fun for Toddler to Grandparent

Holiday party planning is easy when dealing with one age group. Planning for young and old is more challenging. Easily-bored kids want to romp while grandparents want to sit (quietly!) and visit. Here's a patriotic Memorial Day party--crafts, food, parade, activities--everyone from toddlers to seniors, yes even parents, will love! Cheap Homemade Memorial Day Party Fun for Toddler to Grandparent 

Free Printable Mardi Gras Masks

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a Catholic Christian celebration. Around the world, Mardi Gras is also called "carnival," meaning "farewell to the flesh" in French. It kicks off in mid January. In New Orleans, the Mardi Gras celebration fills the city with costumes, parades and feasting in preparation for the solemnity and fasting of Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Krewes, Mardi Gras parade troupes, spend months making masks and costumes in preparation for the festival. Party-goers, looking to dress up for Mardi Gras? Here are free printable Mardi Gras masks to accent any ensemble. Teachers, homeschool families and parents, why not teach kids about the holiday by having kids make these mask crafts? Celebrate a Mardi Gras themed party for weddings, showers, birthdays, Girls' Night Out, church festivals and more! Read more 

Best Movies for Cinco De Mayo

Cinco de Mayo isn't the Mexican independence day, but it does celebrate an unprecedented military victory. A small Mexican army routed the superior French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Here are movies to celebrate Mexican culture.

Stand and Deliver, 1988: In the poor barrios of Los Angeles, underfunded public schools and underpaid teachers struggled to prevent Latino students from turning to the streets. Math teacher Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos) decided to steal students back from the streets by teaching his Hispanic kids calculus. Very few people believed the students were capable of learning basic math let alone calculus. They were wrong. Also starring Lou Diamond Phillips.  Best Movies for Cinco De Mayo

Free Printable Stickers, Labels, Gift Tags for All Occasions, Holidays

Family Fun magazine is a fun resource filled with free printable activities, crafts and games. I just discovered links at FamilyFun.go.com for even more printables; stickers, labels, gift tags and themed party stickers. As a magazine, Family Fun is the best all-around family magazine in publication. On the website, you'll find that you've only touched the tip of the iceberg if you have only read the magazine. I couldn't begin to describe the huge inventory of free printable coloring pages, games, crafts, party decorations, room theme decor, seasonal activities and holiday fun. Click here for more on printable gift decorations, stickers, etc.Read more

Free Printable Baby Shower Games, Decorations, Invitations, Cards

Got a baby on the way? Or maybe a friend or relative does? If you're planning a baby shower, baptism or christening party, you know costs can easily get out of hand. Why not save money using free online printables? Print baby shower games, crafts, decorations, banners, invitations, cards and thank-you notes. Give what you save as a gift to the mom-to-be.   Baby Shower Printables, Games, Decorations, Invitations, Cards

Free Printable Beltane Party Activities for May Day, Walpurgis Night

April 30 to May 1 celebrates the pagan holiday of Beltane, one of the eight wiccan sabbats. Also called May Day or Walpurgis Night, celtic druidic and Germanic tribal religions celebrate mother earth and spring fertility rites. It has links to ancient Greek and Roman holidays. There are bonfires, feasting, May Pole dancing, floral decorations, incantations and blessings.  Here are free printable Wiccan, fairy and pagan coloring pages, crafts and games to celebrate with kids or as an adult-themed party or bridal shower. This article focuses on all pagan sabbats including: samhain, imbolc, lughnasadh, yule, ostara, litha and mabon along with Beltane, too. Free Printable Wiccan, Fairies, Witches Coloring Craft Activities

Free Printable Palm Sunday, Holy Week Crafts

Palm Sunday, in the Christian faith, celebrates the Biblical triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem one week before His crucifixion. It begins Holy Week and the countdown the Easter Triduum: Good Friday, Holy Thursday, Easter Vigil and then Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday is a floating holiday; linked as it is to Lent and Easter which fall at a different time each year. Holy Week has a sombre aspect, not a party atmosphere. However, Catholics do celebrate it. So I recommend observing Holy Week event with family or kids.

Make a seder meal for Jewish Pesach (passover) on Holy Thursday. In 2013, passover begins sundown, March 26 and goes till April 1. Here are Passover printables. Spend Good Friday in prayer and devotion. Turn off the TV. Have kids spend time in favorite places outdoors--tree house, fort, garden--weather permitting. Focus on Jesus's great love and sacrifice. Here are crafts, coloring and activities for parents to use with children. Use as lessons in homeschool, Christian school, Sunday school or Catholic religious education. These printables provide inexpensive, hands-on ways to explore and celebrate the Palm Sunday.  Free Printable Palm Sunday, Holy Week Crafts

Mother's Day Party, Gifts for Stay at Home Moms

Is Mother's Day gift-giving any different for stay-at-home-moms than go-out-to-work moms? Having done both, I say it is. Actually Mother's Day gifts should be individual for every woman based on her wants. But having been a SAHM and now a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) let me speak for the girls. What SAHMs want can be grouped into these categories: adult time, couple time, personal space, away from home time and spoiling (LOTS of spoiling). Mother's Day Gifts for the SAHM Mom

Free Printable James Bond 007 Skyfall Coloring Pages

Skyfall" is the 23rd James Bond 007 film. It aired in 2012 to coincide with the series' 50th anniversary. Daniel Craig is the sixth actor to portray Ian Fleming's debonaire UK MI-6 espionage agent. For fans of Agent 007 spy thrillers, here are free printable Skyfall coloring pages and images of James Bond lore. Why not plan a spy-themed party for your birthday child! Use these coloring pages as party crafts and favors. Make up an I Spy style scavenger game. Free Printable James Bond 007 Skyfall Coloring Pages

Double Duty Bridal Shower Decorations, Prizes, Wedding Gifts

I've said before that I'm a party gal. I love planning festivities with a low-cost, repurposed, recycled, homemade Here are cheap, double-duty party prizes and bridal shower prizes and wedding party gifts for receptions or showers. Reuse decorations as game prizes, bridal gifts and thank-you presents. Here are suggestions. Double Duty Bridal Shower Decorations, Prizes, Wedding Gifts 

Free Jewish Purim Party Activities

Get your graggers ready--February 24-25, 2013 is Purim (14 Adar in the Hebrew calendar)! On Purim, Hebrews celebrate Queen Esther and Mordechai's courage defending their people from decimation in Persia by King Ahasuerus and Haman. Here are resources for Jews and gentiles to explore Purim and embrace the holiday more deeply. Chag Sameach Purim! Free Printable Jewish Purim Activities

Host a Coed Bridal Shower; Gender Neutral Party for Guys and Gals

I'm a party girl! I've organized kids' parties, receptions, open houses, theme parties and showers. Currently, I'm hosting a different kind of event: a coed shower. No, you don't bathe together; it's a gender-neutral bridal shower with men and women guests. Here's how to throw one everyone male and female will love! Coed Bridal Shower, Unisex Wedding Party Ideas

Free Printable Mardi Gras Masks

 Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a Catholic Christian celebration. Around the world, Mardi Gras is also called "carnival," meaning "farewell to the flesh" in French. It kicks off in mid January. In New Orleans, the Mardi Gras celebration fills the city with costumes, parades and feasting in preparation for the solemnity and fasting of Ash Wednesday and Lent.  Free Printable Mardi Gras Masks

Homemade Printable Valentine Cards for Kids---Free!

Valentine's Day card exchanges are a rite of passage in preschool and elementary school. Homeschool groups, scout troops and religious education classes often exchange cards, too. Here are free printable DIY valentines to share. These free printable valentines come courtesy of Family Fun magazine. What's more fun than Valentine's Day card exchanges? Making your own valentine's that look completely different than everyone else's!  Free Printable Valentine's Day Card Crafts for Children

Free Printable Dinosaurs Coloring Pages for Kids' Birthday Parties

Hey kids, did you like "The Good Dinosaur" Disney movie? Do you want free printable The Good Dinosaur coloring pages and activities? How about you get a bunch of dinosaur themed craft projects, activities, games, puzzles? Teachers and homeschool parents, here are dinosaur lesson plans and worksheets too. Dinosaurs have been a favorite subject for children for several decades now. Many TV shows and cartoon characters are based on dinosaurs--the original Japanese Godzilla, The Land Before Time, Barney and Baby Bop, Disney Pixar Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and now The Good Dinosaur. Interestingly, though many kids prefer real dinosaurs. So here are free printable coloring pages of realistic dinosaurs. Use these for life science activities and paleontology lessons.
Disney Family has free printable coloring pages from The Good Dinosaur. Scroll around that site for more free printable crafts, recipes and party activities from The Good Dinosaur. Coloring Book has more printables from The Good Dinosaur. For some educational dinosaurs activities, hit Fossil Facts. Get free printable dinosaur coloring pages featuring: Archeopteryx, sauropods, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and Stegosaurus. Next go to First School for free printable realistic dinosaur coloring pages to use for unit studies on dinosaurs. First-school has handwriting pages on dinosaur names and pictures to color from A-Z. Teach writing, spelling, reading and science activities with favorite dinosaurs from Allosaurus to Zephyrosaurus. These science activities provide language and etymology connections, as all dinosaur names and paleontology words come from Latin.
For realistic coloring pages, Edupics can't be beat. Print dinosaur coloring pages featuring various dinosaurs in their habitats and environment. There are also free printable dinosaur classification posters. Christian Answers addresses Dinosaurs from a Biblical perspective. Get free printable Bible-based dinosaur coloring pages, worksheets and activities that teach dinosaurs from a Bible based perspective.
The American Museum of Natural History has cool free printable paleontology science activitiesand dinosaurs worksheets. Have kids compare images of dinosaur skeletons to dinosaur pictures. Have them draw fleshed out dinosaurs over the skeleton. Build in some creativity and ask kids to draw from imagination what they think the dinosaurs looked like. For a more hands-on activity, have students mold dinosaur bones in clay, using printable images.

Fisher Price has free printable Imaginext coloring pages of Mattel Dinosaurs characters--D-Rex the fierce Tyrannosaurus Rex, Screature, Xtractaurs PINDOWN the triceratops and Xtractaurs Whiplash the stegosaurus Dinosaur. DL-TK Kids has free printable dinosaur crafts, greeting cards, coloring pages, puppet and cross-stitch pattern. Free Kids Crafts has free printable dinosaur crafts. Print Activities has dozens of free printable dinosaur activities, puzzles, games, lesson plans and worksheets. Coloring Book Fun offers free printable realistic dinosaur coloring pages featuring dinosaurs in their habitats. These would make excellent lesson plans. Assign students to color these pages to illustrate a dinosaur timeline, science activities notebook, report or project.

Free Printable Valentine Crafts for Preschool Parties

Christmas is barely over and we're gearing up for Valentine's Day. My email box is full of nifty craft, treat and card ideas to celebrate. Alas, many are also costly. As a penny-pinching teacher and homeschool mom of four, I don't spend big. Here are free printable preschool valentine crafts, lesson plans, learning activities and party games. My fellow fru-gals and guys, you'll love these. Perfect for preschool and kindergarten activities. Valentine Printables, Crafts, Games, Lesson Plans

Cheap, Recycled Valentine Craft Project for Party

Valentine's Day requires us to do some writing of cards, notes or letters, so why not write with a flourish? Use this guide to design a lovely flower (or feather) pen and an attractive vase. You can make the entire project from recycled materials, purchasing or finding only the new pens or pencils and floral tape. No floral tape? Use masking tape and color in green! Read more


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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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