Are you looking for a new craft idea? Check out Diamond Art Club


“Firstborn” canvas art from the Diamond Art Club.

I love doing crafts (when I have the time). I have always enjoyed doing crafty things. Back when I was a young girl I used to make my own Barbie clothes and furniture out of fabric scraps and recyclable items from around our home. I would even have my dolls put on a fashion show of my handmade fashions.

Over the years I have done a variety of crafts, including soap making, candle making, and stenciling. I once stenciled our entire dining room from floor to ceiling to look like a garden. We ate dinner surrounded by squirrels, rabbits, flowers, butterflies and a 5′ tree that took me forever to stencil.

If you look on the walls you can see some of the stencils and the 5′ tree.

I used to work with kindergartners as a Teacher’s Assistant. Every day we did some kind of craft/project. That was fun! I wish I was still able to do that. We came up with some pretty cute things.

Sadly, I haven’t had much free time to do the things I love, like crafting and reading books. By the time I get home from work it’s late and I’m exhausted. Before I go to work I have errands to run, blog posts to run and a home to clean. The weekends I spend as much time as I can doing fun stuff with my family.

If you are on social media, especially Instagram, you might have seen posts about a new crafting craze called Diamond Art, from the Diamond Art Club.

Diamond Art Club offers consumers a variety of art designs, from animals to landscapes, and from florals to landscapes and just about everything in between. The art is available in a variety of sizes too.

Remember paint by number sets? I used to do them all the time when I was a young girl (I wonder if they still sell them?). You would match up the number on the canvas to a specific paint color. It would turn non-artists into Picasso’s or Monet’s.

Diamond Art Club art is similar, but instead of paint you color the canvas with sparkly rhinestones. When you are finished you’ll have a BEAUTIFUL piece of artwork that sparkles and shines.

Diamond Art Club art comes with a printed canvas, colorful rhinestones and tools to help you with your craft.

This brief video shows you how to create a beautiful masterpiece using your Diamond Art Club kit.


My husband said it reminds him of doing cross hook (yes, he used to do that when he was younger). You are matching up a color with a chart on the canvas you are working on.

It is a REAL cloth canvas that you are working on. It’s not paper or plastic. It’s the “real deal.”

When you first see the canvas it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of tiny squares with symbols on them that you need to match up with the rhinestones that you are using.

I have to admit that it’s not as easy as it looks. There are A LOT of tiny little squares and symbols. It takes a bit of patience to work through it.

An example of one of the canvases. Simply match the rhinestone to the code on the canvas, similar to a paint by number.

Match the rhinestone to the code on the canvas using the included “pen.”

The canvas has a special protective sheet on it. In the video they recommend you do a small section at a time, leaving the film on the rest of the canvas. I would have to strongly agree with that recommendation. Especially if you have cats. Trust me… I’ve already had to remove cat hair and pick up rhinestones that were knocked on to the floor.

You’ll need a comfortable work place. I originally tried to do this on our coffee table so I could watch TV at the same time. That was not the best idea. I had to bend over to see the canvas and what I was doing, which ended up giving me a sore back. I would recommend using this at a desk or a table.

I appreciate that the Diamond Art Club provides you with everything you need to complete your spectacular piece of art, including a tray to put the rhinestones in that you are working on, a special pen (stylus?) which helps you to get the rhinestones in the right position, and baggies to put the loose rhinestones in.

I have an older kit, so mine didn’t come with the comfort grip for the “pen,” nor does mine have the tray that helps you to get the rhinestones right side up. My kit (an older one) also has just a square shaped piece of wax, not the cute heart shape one like in the picture.

My “kit”

The special “pen” that you use is really neat. It uses wax (which is supplied) to “grab” the rhinestones and to help you put them where they belong on the canvas (you have to be very precise when you do it).

So far I am enjoying working on my Diamond Art Club canvas. I have a landscape scene called “Autumn Reflections.” Autumn is my favorite season, so I thought this would be a beautiful addition to our home’s artwork.

Diamond Art Club “Autumn Reflections.”

You have to dedicate a lot of time to complete the canvas. There are thousands of little rhinestones that need to be adhered to it. It reminds me of doing a puzzle with a lot of pieces. You leave it out and work on it here and there when you have the time. Unfortunately I haven’t had a lot of time lately, so I haven’t touched it in a while. It’s still on my dining room table. I keep meaning to work on it some more, but I haven’t had the time to do it.

This is a GREAT “rainy day” project you and your family could work on together. I keep telling my husband I’ll be working on it during snow days when it’s too cold to go outside and do things.

I wish I could give you a great photo of how it really looks. It’s really cool how the image comes to life in a sparkly way with the rhinestones. It’s such a unique idea too.

Can you see how it sparkles?

You can sort of see how sparkly the art is in this photo.

The only thing that I am not happy with is what to do with the canvas once I’m done with it. I can’t afford to get it professionally framed – like a traditional canvas print. I could put it in a frame, but that would take away from the sparkle. So for now, what I am going to do with it when I am finally done with it is still up in the air.

If you are interested in learning more about the Diamond Art Club, or you would like to check out the lovely designs they offer, visit DiamondArtClub.com. You can also check them out on Facebook and Instagram. Their links are found at the very bottom of their website.

What do you think about Diamond Art Club? Do you think you would purchase one for yourself?


*I received a free product to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Set sail on a new adventure with Hotel Transylvania 3 – Available today on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital


Summer may be over (although you wouldn’t know it with the weather we’ve been having here in New York), but that doesn’t mean that vacation time is over. For Drac, Mavis, Johnny, Dennis and all their friends, their vacation has just started.

Available today (October 9, 2018) on Blu-ray, DVD and on digital is the latest installment in the popular movie franchise, Hotel Transylvania, appropriately titled Hotel Transylvania 3.

All of the beloved characters are back, including Murray, Frankenstein, Wayne and Griffin. There are also a slew of new characters such as Van Helsing, Ericka, Crystal and Tinkles the dog, to name a few.

My family and I have been big fans of the franchise ever since the original film. We adore the characters.

Even though we’ve seen the two previous films numerous times, we still laugh when we watch them.

We watched Hotel Transylvania 3 in the dark. You can see some of our Halloween decorations in the background (the glowing thing on the wall is a wall decal).

Hotel Transylvania 3 picks up where the other films left off.

Life is great at the hotel. Mavis and Johnny work at the hotel, along side Drac. Even Drac’s father resides in the hotel.

Unbeknownst to Drac’s family and friends, he is very lonely. He only had one true “zing” (love) in his life, and that was Mavis’ mom. Everyone at the hotel seems to have someone, but Drac.

Mavis senses that her father is down, but she feels as though it’s because he works so hard (she doesn’t know he’s really lonely). To life her father’s spirit, Mavis books a vacation for him and the rest of their family and friends on a cruise ship.

There are plenty of fun and adventurous things that happen on the ship, but the biggest thing is that Drac met the ship’s captain, Ericka, and has “zinged” with her. The problem is that Ericka is hiding a huge secret from him and the rest of the ship’s guests. She also has a plan for Drac’s demise.

Drac also wants to hide the fact that he “zinged” with Captain Ericka from Mavis because he doesn’t want Mavis to think that he doesn’t love her or her mom (he does!). He just can’t help how he feels. It’s a monster thing.

What is Ericka’s secret? Why is she trying to kill Drac? To find out you need to pick up a copy of Hotel Transylvania 3. Look for it where ever movies are sold. You can also download or rent the film digitally.

I received a copy of the movie free to review. I also received a fun box – actually a COFFIN – filled with fun goodies to help make my family’s movie watching experience super fun.

The box is HUGE. I love how the movie studio created the coffin shaped box to go along with the film’s main character, Drac.

I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning going through the box. It was filled with Hotel Transylvania 3 crafts, activities and more.

Inside the box there was super cute character figurines from the Hotel Transylvania movie franchise. My favorite is the Wayne (the werewolf) plush toy. He even has an “exhausted” look on his face, after all, him and his wife Wanda have about 100 pups to take care of. LOL! In the new film they do get a much needed break from them.

Inside the box were several little purple trunks. Each one contained a Hotel Transylvania 3 character and a “key.” The key can be used to open the trunk. You can also collect them.

Inside the trunk is a small character figurine. The new character, Ericka, is seen in the above photo. I didn’t open up the other trunks I received because I want to use them as prizes for the kids I work with. The would also make great stocking stuffers. Children love collectibles.

Also inside the box was some branded microwave popcorn. After all, what’s a movie without popcorn?

Speaking of popcorn and watching movies, Hotel Transylvania 3 would make for a GREAT family movie night movie. It would also be great for a child’s sleepover.

Included on the Blu-ray copy of the film are some fun crafts and activities you can do for a sleepover. Some of the projects include a Frankenstein pillow (no sew) which I think is ADORABLE! I plan on making one to use as a Halloween decoration. I think the project can be altered a bit to make other characters from the film. I’m looking forward to giving that a try.

Another fun project idea is how to make a Murray lantern. It’s a quick, easy and inexpensive craft.

All you need to make this is some white paper streamer paper (or gauze or even toilet paper), glue or tape, googly eyes, a small container and a “fake” tealight (you can find the battery operated tealights at the dollar stores or craft stores).

I did received most of the items necessary to make a Murray lantern (except tape and glue). Sadly, our tealight didn’t work. I also haven’t had a chance to go out and buy more. The next time I am near a store that sells them I am going to buy one.

This is a fun craft to do with a group of children, including scouts and classrooms. You can even use a marker to make a mouth and eyebrows on the mummy too.

Another fun project you can do in honor of the film’s release is to make character pumpkins using Hotel Transylvania 3 stencils.

I received several stencils (not all are pictured) as well as a pumpkin carving kit.

We didn’t carve any pumpkins using the stencils (yet). It’s been very warm and humid here in New York and in the past, when we carve pumpkins too soon they are dead and decayed before Halloween. So we’re holding off for another week and a half before we purchase and carve pumpkins. I’d love to carve the Murray one.

Here are all the stencils that you can download and enjoy with your family.


Another craft that is so easy to make is a Dracula drinking straw. All you need is a paper straw (you can use a plastic one too if you want), red construction paper, white construction paper and some glue (we used a glue stick).

We did have Pom juice which would have worked great with the straw (it’s a blood red juice), but my kids drank it all before I could take a photo with it.

By the way… it’s a fuzzy rat holding the straw in the photo (below). The flash washed it out a bit.

Halloween is coming up. Are your kids/grandchildren going to dress up as a Hotel Transylvania 3 character? I know there are several costumes available. I’ve seen some at Spirit Halloween (the Frankenstein one cracks me up).

I was sent a Mavis costume to review. Sadly, it didn’t fit my daughter (it’s for a small child).

It’s OK though. I can donate the costume to a child in need. I would certainly not let this fun costume go to waste.

I love that it includes both the wings and the cape. The ear headband is also cute.

What Halloween (or fun “spooky” movie) would be complete without vampire inspired make up?

I did a bad job with the lipstick. I have no lips! Age has taken away from my lips (they shrunk!). But that’s another post. LOL! I also need to color my hair again (the white/silver has taken over!).

You can find a tutorial on how to do Mavis and Drac’s make up on the Blu-ray version of the film (I didn’t check the digital or DVD version yet).

The Blu-ray, DVD and digital combo pack of Hotel Transylvania 3 comes with a set of virtual reality “glasses” and an accompanying book that helps to bring the film to life. This set is available only at Walmart.

We tried it out and none of us could get over how awesome it was to see Drac dancing on our coffee table, and watch fireworks exploding all around.

Drac standing and dancing on our coffee table.

When you use the glasses you feel like you are in the movie.

I tried to take a photos with the virtual reality glasses, but they didn’t turn out that well. Here is just a sneak peek at what you can see wearing them. They are also for smaller heads (child size). If you wear glasses it can be a bit of a challenge too.

While wearing the virtual reality glasses you can check out what is happening on the ship’s deck.

There are A LOT of bonus features including two delightful mini-movies – Puppy! and Goodnight Mr. Foot. Puppy gives you the backstory as to how Dennis got his beloved puppy, Tinkles, that is featured in the new movie.

In addition there are plenty of bonus features including the crafts/activities mentioned above (including how to make your own shuffleboard game), sing-a-longs, dance-a-longs, a music video and so much more.

Included in the package I received were the words to the sing-a-long songs.

Overall we loved in the film. In fact, we have seen it twice (my husband and I – our kids were not home the second time we watched it). It’s really funny.

My daughter wants me to find out of there is a Tinkles plus toy because she wants one (I don’t see any at this time).

This is a great film to watch as a family. Even adults will find this film a lot of fun.

Look for Hotel Transylvania 3 where ever movies are sold.

Below is some more fun goodies I thought you might like.




*I received a free copy of the film and other goodies in exchange for my honest review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Fake Candles Craft – Great for all seasons/holidays (and so easy to make!)


I will be the first person to say that I am not very crafty. I used to be, and I still want to be, but it’s not always easy for me to do the crafts I want to do. I simply don’t have the time between my family, work and my blog. I also don’t have the physical space needed to do a lot of different crafts. On those occasions I do a craft it’s usually something quick and easy.

I am addicted to Pinterest. I “pin” crafts all the time on that site – both for my own personal use and for work (I work with kindergartners).

I’m a HUGE fan of decorating for the holidays and seasons, so many of my craft pins are related to them.

One evening while browsing on Pinterest I saw a craft where you can make candles out of paper towel (or toilet paper) cardboard rolls. I wish I had the original site/photo that I saw the project on. I suppose if you look up “paper towel candles” or “floating candle craft” on Pinterest you might find similar ones.

Please disregard the strings. I made these to be hanging candles but you can make them without the string to display on a table top.

Floating Candles

I have a lot of paper towel and toilet paper tubes collected to use on crafts with the kids I work with. I already had the main piece I needed for the “candles.” Here are the rest of the supplies.

  • Paper towel/Toilet paper cardboard rolls
  • Hot glue gun (I used Westcott Mini Hot Glue Gun (High Temp Model) and Wescott Hot Glue Pen)
  • Hot glue gun sticks (I used Westcott because they work with my glue gun/pen)
  • Paint (I chose white and a glitter paint to add some sparkle)
  • Paintbrush
  • Finishing line or clear string (only if you plan on handing the candles)
  • Long needle (only if you plan on hanging the candles)
  • Scissors (Westcott has great non-stick scissors which are ideal for this project)
  • Small battery operated candles (I got mine from the Dollar Store – 2/$1)


Make sure your cardboard roll is clean. Pull off any loose paper towel/toilet paper.

Using the scissors, cut one side of the roll with a bit of a “wavy” pattern to it. When candles melt they don’t always melt evenly, so you want to give your fake candle as realistic of an appearance as you can. I neglected to do this part at first. I decided to do it after I had painted them.

You can also cut the tubes to different sizes.

Using your selected paint, paint the entire tube. You might need to do 2-3 coats depending on the paint you used.

I found it easier to stand the tube upright. I put the tubes over prescription bottles so they would stand up right when I was painting them and when they are drying. Spice jars might work too.

Paint an inch or two on the INSIDE of the tube on both end too. You don’t want any of the original cardboard color to show.

Allow the tubes to dry completely.

Plug in your hot glue gun and make sure you have plenty of glue sticks on hand (this craft requires several glue sticks). I’m glad my Wescott Mini Hot Glue Gun heats up quickly. I was anxious to see how my candles would look.

I opted for my Westcott Mini Glue Gun High Temperature Model because I wanted the glue to be a “liquidy” as possible. It can reach up to 400 degrees! This model Wescott Glue Gun is great for;

  • Glass
  • Stone
  • Marble
  • Ceramic
  • Floral arrangements
  • Denim
  • Heavy fabrics

I realize that cardboard is not on this list. I was a bit worried the glue might be too hot, but it wasn’t. It worked out perfectly for my needs.

Westcott also has a low temperature model which is great for crafting;

  • Plastic
  • Felt
  • Styrofoam
  • Paper
  • Silk

Once the hot glue was ready I took one of my painted tubes and squeezed some hot glue on the INSIDE of the tube about an inch or so down. This glue will act as a “ledge” that your battery operated candle will sit on when in use. You cannot glue the battery operated candle to the tube or you won’t be able to turn it on/off. You need to be able to remove it from the tube. By making this “ledge” the candle has something to sit on so it won’t fall through the tube.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just squeeze some glue around the sides (even back and forth if you want). It’s just a way of keeping the battery operated candle from sliding through the tube.

Once that glue hardens (it did so quickly) you are ready to add glue to the outside. Using your hot glue gun, squeeze glue all the way around the end of the tube you made the inner ledge. You want the glue to look like it’s dripping – just like hot wax does on real candles. You can keep adding glue until you get your desired look. I ended up going back over a few of them with my Westcott Hot Glue Pen because it gives you precision accuracy, so I was able to add just the right amount of glue in the places I felt like I needed a bit more.

Photo Source: Westcott

This little Hot Glue Pen from Wescott is ideal for any crafting project you might have. It’s also great for quick repairs around your home. The Wescott Hot Glue Pen features;

  • Non-Stick tip for easy clean-up
  • Nozzle changes from blue to red, indicating when the pen is hot and ready for use
  • Top-mounted finger trigger allows for controlled glue dispensing

It can also be used on;

  • Plastic
  • Felt
  • Styrofoam
  • Paper
  • Silk

After you have achieved the look you are going for, let the glue dry completely. After it’s dried you can go back over it with some more paint (I used both white paint and a clear glitter paint).

Allow the tubes to dry completely.

The tube before I painted over the glue and tube with more white paint and glitter paint.

The glitter paint gave the tubes a nice texture.

If you want to hang your candles up to give them a “floating candle” appearance (great for Halloween), thread clear string or fishing line into a long needle (a quilting needle would work).

Using a long needle, pop a hole in one side of the candle (just below where you made that inner “ledge” out of hot glue) and pass the needle all the way through to the other side, keeping the needle as straight as possible (another words have the needle go straight across – not at an angle). If you don’t go straight across your candle will tip when you hang it up (unless you are not going to hang it up). Decide how much string you want and then cut and tie off the end.

If you prefer to make a centerpiece simply use your hot glue gun to adhere the candles to whatever platform you want to use.

Here are some photo and a brief video of my finished candles.


I intentionally took the video in the dark so that you can see the lighted candles.

This project was so much fun and oh-s0-easy to make. I plan on making this again but as a centerpiece for Christmas. I was going to make 3-4 candles of varying height and glue them together and surround them with some greenery and small ornaments. If/When I make that I’ll update this post with a photo or two.

People assume that hot glue guns are only to adhere a few things together. As you can see there are plenty of other fun things to do with hot glue. Just check out Pinterest. You’d be surprised at how many fun projects you can do. I have seen jewelry, wallets and bowls made out of hot glue.

Wescott non-stick scissors are great for this project. They cut through the cardboard tubes with ease.

Even hot glue dispensers have evolved over the years. The Westcott brand of hot glue guns and pen feature non-stick tips for easy clean up, a nozzle that changes from blue to red so you know when the pen/gun is ready for use, and a finger friendly trigger for dispensing the glue.

If you would like to learn more about Wescott products visit WestcottCreativators.com or WestcottBrand.com/products.html. You can also find some wonderful, creative ideas on the brand’s site or by visiting WestcottBrand.com/craft-projects.html.

The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found on their website (bottom right).

Do you use hot glue guns for crafting? Have you ever tried a hot glue pen?

What are some of your favorite projects you’ve made with hot glue? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.


*I have partnered with Westcott to bring you this information. I received free products to do this project as well as compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

New! Disney Princess Mystery Boxes from Pley.com


Disney Princesses are extremely popular. Not a day went by at school where I work that I didn’t see a child wearing a Disney Princess outfit or top, or wearing Disney Princess accessories.

In our class we did Show & Tell. EVERY DAY at least one little girl brought in something Disney Princess related to share with the class.

I have to admit, if I was younger I would probably be totally into the princesses too. I was when I was little (Snow White and Cinderella were my favorites). Even as an adult I find a lot of princess things adorable and something I wish I had to play with when I was younger.

Monthly subscription boxes are also very trendy these days. In fact, I subscribe to three of them (Horror Block, Bam Box and Pop in a Box). I get super excited when I see one of the boxes have arrived and I can’t wait to tear into them.

Children enjoy receiving mail too – most especially packages. Imagine their delight to receive a monthly subscription. Even better, what if that monthly subscription featured Disney Princesses?

The company Pley (Pley.com) now offers a monthly subscription program staring the beloved princess characters.

Each month your child will receive 5-8 exclusive items and activities featuring one of the Disney Princess characters.

I received a Disney Princess box from Pley. Inside I found the following goodies.

It’s a nice sized box.

Look closely at it. You’ll notice that there are cut out on the box. That is because the box magically transforms into something your child can play with. I thought it might be a crown due to the shape of the cut outs, but I was very wrong.

More on that later in this post.

As soon as I opened the box I could see the long, red hair of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Ariel is my husband’s favorite Disney Princess (I think it’s the red hair – LOL). She’s also our daughter’s favorite Disney Princess.

As you can see from the print on the inside of the box it does not transform into a crown. It looks like something else.

Inside the box I found a lovely Ariel doll. She the same size as a standard Barbie doll. She has pose able arms and beautiful, long red hair just begging to be brushed.

Also inside the box as a pair of Little Mermaid pajamas.

These are VERY NICE, quality pajamas. They are soft to the touch. They featured banded arms and leg bottoms so that they don’t roll up.

The pants feature Ariel and Flounder. The top features both characters and the number 89.

This set already came to great use. I donated it to the classroom where I work. We need changes of clothe for when children have accidents or spill something on themselves. One of my little girls had an accident and these pants fit her perfectly. It didn’t matter that they were pajama bottoms. They looked like leggings.

At the end of the day I gave her the top to take home with her so she had the matching set. My student and her mom were thrilled by the unexpected gift.

Also included in the box was a cute set of Little Mermaid sunglasses (they had some “bling” on them too) and a cute little Flounder figurine that goes great with the Ariel doll.

Notice the little “diamonds” on the side of the glasses near Ariel. How cute!

Now for the box. The box, as it turns out, is Erik’s ship from the movie. It’s a really cool thing to do to make the box into a toy as well. Unfortunately we didn’t see any directions for it. My husband and I both tried to put it together but had no luck. We can sort of visualize how it will look, but we can’t get the pieces to work for us. So… the ship is a “work in progress.” Once we finally figure it out I’ll update this post with the picture.

I think the Disney Princess monthly subscription from Pley.com is an awesome idea. What little girl wouldn’t enjoy getting princess toys and more on a monthly basis.

The boxes are actually shipped out every other month – so it’s more like a bi-monthly box. But that is still just as awesome.

The boxes start out at $24.99 for one box, or $22.99 per box, depending on the length of your subscription.

This would make a magical gift for a child’s birthday, Christmas, getting great grades at school or “just because.” Imagine the excitement on your child/grandchild’s face when they open the mailbox to find a box with Disney Princess written on it. It will totally make their day!

Pley.com has other subscription boxes as well. You can learn more about them on their website.

For more information click on the image below.

Disney Princess Pleybox, Disney Pleybox, subscription box, toys, disney, princess

*I have partnered with Pley.com to bring you this information. I received a free box to review. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Update on our end of the year party


Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

Back in May I wrote a post about an end of the year party my job was hosting for the children that are in our program. If you happen to miss that post, or wish to re-read it, you can find it here – Make your next party extra special with fun and games from Oriental Trading Company.

I had been meaning to write an update post, but between end of the year stuff (school year), our son’s prom, our son’s graduation, family up from Florida and a million other things, I haven’t really had a chance until now. I’m officially on summer vacation. I don’t go back to work until September. I like having the time off, but not having a paycheck for two months is no fun.


There was a huge glitch in our end of the year party. It was pouring rain that way. Torrential rain in fact. We were stuck inside (in the gym) for the duration of the party. Since there was a huge bouncy house set up, plus tables for crafts, snacks and other things, we didn’t have the room necessary to set up some of the games we had planned on doing.

The Rubbery Ducky Game had to go. It was not a good idea to have a bucket of water inside the gymnasium with 200+ kids, about 25+ counselors and parents (with younger siblings) running around. It’s OK. The ducks were given away as prizes instead.

For the very same reason the Goldfish Game also had to be cancelled. We handed out the little goldfish as prizes, as well as “just because” (we had 144 of them!).

Both the Bean Bag Toss and Ping Pong Ball Toss games I had were set up for a bit. For a while the kids were playing them the right away, but as time went on the kids opted to play “catch” with the bean bags (tossing them back and forth to each other) and the ping pong balls were all over the gym (those things sure can bounce!). It’s OK. As long as the kids were having a good time.

I feel like those games would have done better if we were outside. The gym was just too crowded and LOUD. It took away from the fun of everything, sad to say.

The Alligator Ring Toss Game was a huge hit. The kids did have fun with that game for a long time, that is until one of the kids thought it would be fun to sit on the Alligator and popped it. We did have a patch for it, but with all that was going on no one knew where it went. Thankfully it’s not a bad rip, it’s just a tear in the seem. I think some duct tape or packing tape will do that trick.

We kept the game (of course) because once it’s fixed we can use it again and again. The best thing about this game is that when not in use you can take the air out, fold it up and pack it away. It takes up very little room.

The crafts were a huge hit. The kids had fun with those. Some even got creative and mixed/matched pieces from other craft kits to build their own project. We also had markers, crayons, glitter, gems and other goodies on hand for the kids to embellish their craft pieces with (if they chose to).

FYI… when you are doing crafts on such a large scale always make sure an adult writes the name of each child on the back of the project so that you know who it belongs to. At the end of the evening we had dozens of completed crafts with no names on them and we had no clue who they belonged to so we had to toss them out. It was such a shame too since they turned out so good. This was a good lesson learned for the next time.

The left over crafts are being held on to for the “School’s Out” program.

The biggest hit was the temporary tattoos. OH MY GOODNESS! The kids went CRAZY for them. I was seeing kids running around with several on each arm. Some even tattooed their legs and faces.

We had dedicated adults to apply the temporary tattoos, but the line was so long that older kids in the program stepped up to help out. We must have had a half dozen people just applying the temporary tattoos.

By the end of the event there was just a small handful left. I’d have to say about 95% of the tattoos were used at the party. I consider that a total success!

Our program does an end of the year party every year. Oriental Trading is going to be our “go to” resource for games, prizes, crafts and more.

As a teacher’s assistant, I rely on Oriental Trading Company frequently. They are an ideal source for prizes, crafts, and little gifts to give to the kids for the holidays.

There are times that the teacher is not in, so I am in charge. Every day we read a book to the kids and then do a project based on what we just read. I cannot tell you how many time I have relied on crafts from Oriental Trading Company to help me out in a pinch. I keep books on hand along with ready made crafts from Oriental Trading Company. That way if my boss it out on a moment’s notice I don’t have to scramble to find something to do. I’m all set!

If you are interested in learning more about what Oriental Trading Company has to offer, visit them online at OrientalTrading.com. Be sure to check out their summer section for fun summer toys, game, decorations and more.

Oriental Trading Company can also be found on social media. All of their links are found on the bottom right of their website.

Have you ever purchased from Oriental Trading Company? Are you considering making a purchase? What “needs” do you have (crafts, party supplies, decor…)?


*I have partnered with Oriental Trading Company. I received free products in exchange for my review/post. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Make your next party extra special with fun and games from Oriental Trading Company


I miss hosting birthday parties for my kids. Our daughter is almost 20 and our son is 17 1/2. Needless to say it’s been a long time since we hosted a “kiddie” party for them.

When I had birthday parties for our children I used to go all out and make it fun for everyone – both young and old. I used to also love to send everyone home with a goody bag filled with great goodies.

At the end of May, the organization I work for is hosting an end of the year party. The actual end of the year (school year) is the end of June. With prom, graduation and vacations, the organization I work for plans their end of the year party a month early.

I worked the end of the year party last year. It actually fell on my birthday, so I only worked a couple of hours before my boss told me to go home and enjoy my birthday. This year my birthday is the day after the party, so I’ll be working the whole day.

The organization I work for loves to go all out and show the kids a great time. There is a bouncy house, cotton candy, water balloon games, crafts, organized sports/games, and even a slide show featuring photos taken throughout the year.

We had a meeting about the party a few weeks ago and discussed some ideas. This year, instead of face painting (which “melts” when the kids sweat running around), there will be hand painting and temporary tattoos. We also wanted to feature a few more fun games to the kids to enjoy. That gave me some ideas.

Oriental Trading Company has always been my “go to” site for crafts, holiday decor, goody bag items and party supplies. I knew they would have a lot of fun things we could utilize at our end of the year party.

Here are some of the ideas I came up with, thanks to some great items I was able to get from Oriental Trading Company.

Rubber Ducky Game

I am going to mark the bottom of 2 or 3 of these adorable little Rubber Duckies from Oriental Trading with a star on the bottom of them. I am then going to put them in a big tub of water. The kids can take turns picking one of the duckies from the tub. If they pick one of the ones with the star on the bottom they will win a prize (we plan on giving EVERYONE a prize regardless, but the ones who pick the stared duckies will win a larger prize.

I haven’t found a good size tub yet. I have one in mind, I just don’t know where to get it. I think I might need to swing by Home Depot or Lowes. They might have what I’m looking for.

Bean Bag Toss

I found colorful (and very well made) bean bags on the Oriental Trading website. I also picked up some inexpensive plastic bowls at a local dollar store.

I’m going to label the bowls with number (10, 25, 50, 100, 500 – or something similar). I am going to place them back to back at the end of the year party (lowest amount first, higher amount in the back). I’ll then mark the gymnasium floor with painters tape (easy to remove). To play the kids will have to stand on the tape (younger kids can move up closer) and toss 3 bean bags into the bowls. The prize they win depends on how many points they get (we’ll have to work on the prizes for this game).

Ping Pong Toss

I was gong to set up this game similar to the Bean Bag Toss game mentioned above. I was going to use some of the ping pong balls I got from Oriental Trading along with inexpensive, colorful planters from a local dollar store.

I have to give this game a test drive first to make sure the ping pong balls don’t bounce out of the containers. I might have to put something in the bottom of the containers/planters to stop them from bouncing out.

The scoring has yet to be determined.

Goldfish Game

This game is one that I am most excited about. We see this game at the local county fair and have played it in the past. The Goldfish Game where you toss ping pong balls into glass bowls. If you get one in you win a goldfish. In fact, one year we won seven Goldfish. All of them died within a few days except one. He’s 7+ years old now and as big as a Koi Fish (he’s about 8″ long!).

Since we don’t want to use live fish, I thought it would be fun to use clear plastic cups filled with water (a few of them could have a little “Goldfish” in them). If a child gets a ping pong ball into one of the cups they win a “Goldfish.”

We’ll be using some of the ping pong balls (pictured above) a well as some little plastic “Goldfish” from Oriental Trading.

I love this idea!

Ring Toss Game

Oriental Trading Company has an adorable, inflatable Alligator that comes with rings that you can use to toss on his nose or tail.

Currently the game is still in the box it came in. I haven’t blown it up yet because I know I’ll never get it back in the box. I also don’t want to take a chance of popping it. I plan on blowing it up the day of the party.

At only $7.49 for the set I thought it was a great deal and it looks like a lot of fun, especially for the little ones (our kids range in age from 5-13).

In addition to games we are going to have hand painting and temporary tattoos for the kids to enjoy. Oriental Trading has A LOT of great temporary tattoos to choose from including the popular Shopkins brand. I ordered Shopkins, pirates, sport, hearts, emojis and other popular designs for the kids.

The temporary tattoos from Oriental Trading were inexpensive and you get A LOT in each pack (most have 72 in each pack).

As I mentioned earlier in this post, instead of face painting we are going to offer hand painting and the temporary tattoos.

I have white poster board and a huge piece of flat cardboard. I am thinking about putting the tattoos on the poster board (using water – the same way as if you applied it to your skin) to show the kids the available designs. I haven’t made it yet, but that is my “game plan.” I also plan on putting the tattoos in baggies with sticker on them so the co-workers doing the tattoos and hand painting can easily find the designs they are looking for.

Lastly I picked up a lot of magnetic crafts for the kids to do. I love the ones from Oriental Trading because most of them are individually packaged so you don’t have to worry about missing pieces or kids taking pieces from other kids.

Most have peel and stick pieces which means you don’t have to worry about glue and all that mess.

A few crafts I picked up from Oriental Trading will require glue, and some are ones that you color (we’ll need markers and crayons). We’re reserve those ones for the older kids and let the little ones enjoy putting together the easier ones.

As you can see, Oriental Trading Company has so many wonderful products that can help turn your next party or get together into something spectacular. And it won’t cost you an “arm and a leg.” Oriental Trading’s prices are fantastic (very affordable) and with the help of some inexpensive dollar store products, you can stick to your party budget easily.

I’m going to do an update post on our party and show you some of the things mentioned in this post at the party. Stay tune for that post which I should have up by the end of the month.

For more information about these and other products, visit OrientalTrading.com. You can also check them out on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom right of their website.

Do you shop at Oriental Trading Company?

What do you think of my game and project ideas? Do you think your child would enjoy them if they were at our end of the year party?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.


*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.