Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ghostbuster's Birthday Party

Our son's 10th birthday was February 25th and since we had moved into a new house with room for a party we threw him a party. His chosen theme - Ghostbuster's!!
In February............................ghosts......and Ghostbuster's??
Yes, he LOVES the movies. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find anything Ghostbuster's RELATED, NOW?? It's really, really hard...
So, as any good mom would do I started searching Pinterest and the web for ideas and bless your hearts and souls - you clever people out there - there actually WAS Ghostbuster's stuff out there, well...ideas anyway.
Here's what we did - I'll add the links to other posts later and try to even show you how we did the stuff we did. If you have any questions because you happen to have a Ghostbusting child at home who wants their own GB party, leave me a message and I'll try to steer you in the right direction.
*NOTE: Links for ideas are posted at the end of this blog post.*

First, the invitations - (please note, I've removed our address/phone info)

We made a puzzle out of it and then used green marker to slime up the envelopes.

With the help of Ebay and Amazon I found some stuff that we could use -

Doesn't he look thrilled posing for pictures!

Now for party set up, foods and favor's -

Cake, fondant Marshmallow Man and Slimer, ghost and slimer cookies.

Thanks to a wonderful friend we had fondant Slimey and Marshmallow Man to sit with the cake and cookies!

Making Ghostbuster decorations from what's around - Printed Slimer on a regular HB sign.

Green slimed walls and a ghost peeking over another HB banner....

A few ghosts hanging around and another Slimey breaking through the wall......

Color changing ghost lights found at Oriental Trading online...

Ghost Egg Salad Sandwiches above...
Ham, egg and cheese appetizers....

Meatball and string cheese stuffed biscuits....

Hot dogs-(one of Slimey's favorite things to eat!)in-a-blanket and pizza bites...

Take home stuff!!

Marshmallow man means S'mores for home...

And....hot chocolate with ghost marshmallows....

Red or green jello (Slime) packs and ghosts hard candy...

Ghost foam flyer...

At the top of the picture below you can see our homemade marshmallow shooters made from cut cups, cut balloons and small marshmallows for shooting at the target in another picture below.

Two Ghostbuster's board games that I made up!!

All of the paper games were placed in red folders with page protectors for using over and over again, along with two dry erase markers per child.
They also got bingo chips for playing the Ludo game and ghost player pieces for the two Ghostbuster's games I made up.
Oh and I almost forgot -
These cool Ghostbuster Cubies - portable containment units...

I had a ton more that we could have done but this was more than enough for not having much to work with. Next time we do a Ghostbuster's party (Halloween maybe?) there will be plenty more. 
As I said, I'll add links for where a good many of these ideas came from but I wanted to get this post up in case someone needed ideas now. 
A lot of these ideas came from Pinterest and I'll be posting the link to this post on my board as well. You can check out some of the stuff we didn't get too on my boards here -


Invitation - I found the idea for the invitation on this blog One Creative Housewife/Ghostbusters-party-invitation 
Portable Containment Units - Blog where the idea came from Sweeten Your Day Events/ghost-buster-birthday-party.html and then the site where you can print the free Ghostbuster cubies Cyberdrone
Marshmallow Shooters - Blog and tutorial on how to make them on Come Together Kids/mini-marshmallow or pom-pom shooters

Monday, June 11, 2012

How important are search boxes, navigation and labels?

Revamping, redesigning or reconstructing blog
Pick a word....:-)
Any one of them and that's what I'm trying to do on my blog pages. Its not so easy...

After being a judge for the Really Good Stuff blog contest I learned a few things and I wanted to started fixing my own blog.
Oh and by the way...my work on judging was done a week early! It seems that my fellow judges and I had picked so many of the same blogs as our top five that we didn't need to deliberate any further! Awesome!

Anyway...I learned a few things and after looking a few times at 28 blogs in the catagory I was judging, here are the top 3 things that I found that were most important:
1) "SEARCH" box -
 It's very, very important to have a "search" box on your blog, some of your visitors may only have short spans of times and are looking for something in particular. The search box makes it easier for them to find those things in the pages of your blog.
A clearly defined "menu" at the top of your page makes it easier for visitors to see what your blog pages are all about, its vital in fact. Sometimes that "blog archive" feature is confusing, especially for visitors that aren't used to how a certain brand of blog sites work.
Having that menu bar going across the top really helps.
Also helpful is having a "recent page update" box which shows the pages of your blog, the title's of the most recent posts and the dates posted.
3) "LABELS" -
This is similiar to the search box feature - this feature gives you a block or menu of those labels and also having the option of how many posts mention those subject tags. The labels themselves are that list at the bottom of blog posts that you tag the subject or subjects mentioned in your blog postings.

There were a few others that we important as well - such as too many graphics, too many color's, not having a clearly defined theme or color palette. That too many graphics one is number four on the list I would have to say, there were a few sites that I visited that I thought were nice but after looking at them for a bit those graphics really hurt the eyes. They were too busy and confusing and if they blinked or changed images it was very distracting while reading posts.
If you are hosting a blog hop or something else that links a lot of those button images for other blogs, it would be better to have the preview of the blog as a shorter snippet - one that doesn't start showing all those image buttons on your landing page. Once the visitor hits the link to the full blog post then its fine to have all the buttons show up but its much better visually on the landing page to only see a title and information on the blog post in a small paragraph. Even a small picture graphic of the "official" blog hop is fine, it would clearly show that you are part of the blog hop but not be annoying to your visitors. There were a few pages that I visited and so many of the posts were blog hops that it was just a long, long, long busy page of images which interferred with finding the educational posts in between.

In the end, it all has me fixing my own blog to make it easier to navigate. My blog pages will be changing over the next couple of weeks as I flip things around and add extra dedicated pages, mostly to the homeschooling pages. Now its time to put my labels at the bottom of this post!

                                                     Join the hop at No Ordinary Blog Hop


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Being a blog judge

A while back I was asked to be a judge for Really Good Stuff's Teacher Blog Contest.
I was thrilled, it sounded like fun...

...you guys aren't making it easy...not by a long shot!

This is going to be tougher than I thought. I'm honored to have been asked and to be an "official" anything in any way shape or form!
I can also say that I'm learning an awful lot about blog design along the way, it will certainly help this blog after I'm done the judging part. I really can't say much more about it right now, I don't feel that it would be fair to say more than what I have already.

As for Really Good Stuff's website/company - I frequent it a lot - on Facebook, on their blog.
So, here's the website for buying all the stuff for teaching -
Really Good Stuff Website

Blog - where you can read more about the contest and lots more.

And last but not least - Facebook
Really Good Stuff Facebook 

Good Luck to all those that have been nominated!
I'm hard at work in my catagory looking at your sites....