Throw a Star Wars Party {Beehive-Deacon Day}

star wars party 22We love Star Wars!  (In case you were wondering, hahahahah!!!)  I helped out with our Stake’s Beehive-Deacon Day and we choose a Star Wars Theme!  It was super fun!  Click HERE to download all the files pictured in this wars party

When the kids arrived, we had them fill out these name tags.  They wrote their “Earth Name” and then determined their “Jedi Name”

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Then we asked them some silly questions involving numbers and pretended to do some hi-tech calculations to determine their Medi-Chlorian level.  This is how we divided the youth into 3 groups.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 7.32.14 PMWe had 3 mini classes on friendship, social media, and etiquette.  At the end all the youth ended up in the gym where we had a Star Wars Buffet.  The main course was “Bantha Burgers” which was smoked pulled pork sandwiches.

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The Sarlacc Cake was a hit!  I made this Magic Swirl Bundt Cake recipe which is one of my favorite cake recipes.  I call it the Dark Side vs. the Light Side cake.  The chocolate and vanilla are battling it out!!  I covered the entire cake in chocolate ganache and put graham cracker crumbs over top for the sand.  I cut 2 graham crackers to look like a mouth and piped some white frosting for “teeth”.

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star wars party 12The Jawa Juice was a HIT!!!!  Teenagers + Dry Ice 🙂

1 container Blue Hawaiian Punch

(1)  2-litre bottle Lemonade

(1) 2-litre 7-up

Dry Ice

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They also loved the Yoda Soda

(1) 2-litre 7 Up

(1) half gallon Lime Sherbet

5 limes juiced

Lime slices star wars party 16Kids don’t really want water when  you have Jawa Juice and Yoda Soda!  But I still like the Anakin Sky-Water label 🙂

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We had Star Wars music playing and the Party Rocker was blasting colored lights onto the ceiling.  The kids loved it! star wars party 20       star wars party

Taylor Swift 1989 Launch Party

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October 27th 2014 could not come fast enough in our house!  We are big time Taylor Swift Fans!!!  To celebrate the much anticipated day, we threw a 1989 Launch Party with all our friends.  It was fun to come together and celebrate our favorite artist Taylor Swift!

We had everyone come dressed in 1989 inspired outfits.  When the girls arrived, we put fluffy bows in their hair.  We watched a special message from Taylor Swift then put on the Shake It Off video and danced around.

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Then we went outside where and had a scavenger hunt.  I had printed off a paper that listed each track on the 1989 album and we had previously hid an items representing the track.  The girls had to figure out which item went with which track.  Here is the list:

Track #1  Welcome to New York – I Heart NY T-Shirt

Track #2  Blank Space – White piece of paper

Track #3  Style – Make Up

Track #4  Out of the Woods – Large Stuffed Deer

Track #5  All You Had To Do Was Stay – Stuffed “sitting” dog

Track #6  Shake It Off – Salt & Pepper Shakers

Track #7  I Wish You Would – Birthday Candles

Track #8  Bad Blood – Syringe from toy doctor set

Track #9  Wildest Dreams – Tiger in a baby bed

Track #10  How You Get the Girl – a small doll in a net

Track #11  This Love – Heart Doily

Track #12  I Know Places – Road Map

Track #13  Clean – glass cleaner

We put all the papers in a basket and drew a winner and she got a prize.

After the scavenger hunt, we had Welcome To New York refreshments, Out of the Woods cookie decorating, and Shake it Off shirt painting.

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NY Pizza Dip, recipe HERE – my husband declared this his new favorite food, served with bagel ships and baguettes

NY Cheesecake

Jewish Rye Deli Sandshiches

York Peppermint Patties

Yankee Stadium Popcorn Balls

Black and White Cookies, recipe HERE

The Big Apple apple dip, recipe HERE


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We made sugar cookies inspired by the woods: acorns and leaves.  The girls decorated them.1989 taylor swift_19

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I cut stencils on the Cricut that said “Shake It Off” and the girls painted shirts.  They turned out super cute.  We just used acrylic paint and a stencil brush.

Shake it Off


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We had to get Taylor’s kitties involved in the party, so each girl was given a sharpie and a paper plate.  They were to draw a picture of Taylor’s cats by holding the plate on their head and not looking at it.  3 of the moms were the judges and the winner got a prize.
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Throughout the night we stopped the music and had 3 girls come up for a Lyric Challenge.  I read a line from one of Taylor’s newest 3 singles and they had to correctly say the line that followed.  This was super fun and the girls totally know all the words to the songs!

For the prizes I got the latest InStyle magazine with Taylor on the cover, some cute infinity scarves, knee socks, and a few other items.

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No party is complete with out a photo booth.  We used Taylor’s Subway app to “Take a Selfie with Taylor”:1989 taylor swift_22


We also used the #1989 Photo Booth to create these fun photos inspired by the 1989 Album Artwork.

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Taylor, we LOVE you and your 1989 Album is so AMAZING!  THANK YOU!!!!!

Nautical Baby Quilt


I am happy to share with you my Nautical Quilt tutorial.  One of my good friends is expecting a baby and her nursery has a nautical theme.  I came up with this quilt to give her at her baby shower.  I love how it turned out!

The quilt starts with a simple square in a square block.  (1/4″ seams throughout)


Cut the center piece is 3.5″ square.

Cut the side pieces (2) 3.5″ x 2.5″

Cut the top and bottom pieces 7.5″ x 2.5″

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Sew the side pieces on and press toward the dark.  Sew the top and bottom pieces on and press toward the dark.

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Now that you have the basic block down, make 9 like this with red or navy borders and a white center.  Then make 9 the reverse, white sides and a red or navy center.

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Assemble the blocks in rows like this:

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For the large white pieces, cut”

15″ x WOF

4.5″ x WOF

Sew these to the sides of the block portion.  Square up the edges.

For the appliqué, I just googled “anchor clip art” and found this anchor – there are hundreds to choose from.  Trace the anchor onto Therm O Web Heat n Bond Lite.  Iron the heat n bond to the wrong side of the navy fabric.  Cut out the anchor, peel off the back and press into place.  Top stitch in matching thread.  I toyed with the idea of adding rope, ribbon, or ric arc along the length connecting to the anchor, but ultimately I decided to leave it as is.

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I quilted it with straight lines.  I measured the lines so they would cross the squares in equal portions.  I love the navy & white polkadot binding.  Now it’s time to throw a Nautical themed baby shower!Nautical Quilt Tutorial_17


This is me and the mommy-to-be.  The shower was super fun!!Nautical Quilt Tutorial_6

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Fancy Halloween Soiree

I just finished helping with my church’s annual Halloween Party.  It is such a big undertaking – but so much fun!!!!  The theme was “Frightfully Fancy”.  Here are the invitations – I printed them on burlap colored paper:
This is the finished cultural hall – it turned out amazing especially considering we didn’t really have a decorations budget!!

This is a little vignette by the front entrenace
Groups of paper bats guiding people down the hall – spooky!!
A spooky collection of old art and vintage frames.
(A little before picture of putting up all the lights)
My friends and I emptied our houses and pulled all our decor accents together.  It was a little shocking to see all we had – this is just a sampling!
One morning my friend and I were at an estate sale and the estate’s owner had an intense doll-making hobby.  They were selling all her doll-head molds.  They wanted $10 a mold, then they said $8, then said $5 if we bought a bunch of them.  When we went to leave I offered $3 a head and they took it!  I am now the proud owner of 10 spooky doll-head molds.  They were absolutely perfect accents to the centerpieces on the tables!
Each table was decorated differently – vases, candle sticks, crows, birdcages, owls, clocks, vintage pictures, black pumpkins, etc.  Then we put a spider web treatment on it all and it looked amazing!  Everyone kept asking where we got all the decorations!  It was a little embarrassing admitting that we owned it all!!  You should see my garage!!
During dinner we had all the piano students play halloween piano pieces for the background music. 
This is the long serving table where we served the food.
And the food was AMAZING!!!  This guy spent the entire day smoking ribs in a smoker he built just for the party.  He also made his famous BBQ chicken.
Best ribs EVER!!!!

We had a photo booth where families could get their pictures taken.  We also had 6 different carnival-type games, a cake walk, and trunk-or-treat!

Our annual pie contest:

My daughter made this key lime pie and won an award!

Then we had a spook alley – and not just any spook alley.  Our Young Men age 12-18 arrived at the church at 8am with lumber and tools and began constructing walls for the spook alley.  They stayed and worked the entire day – best spook alley ever!

 They framed walls then attached black plastic.  There was an outer maze for older kids and an inside maze that was less scary for the younger kids.

I think the boys had a little too much fun!  It was too hard to photograph when it was finished because it was pretty dark!
 It was ALOT of work but so worth it.  Everyone had such a great time!!!  


Halloween Murder Mystery Dinner Party

This weekend we were invited to a Murder Mystery Party.  My friend hosts one every year in October and it is so much fun!  We received an email with a synopses of our characters and what we were supposed to wear – this is us – yes, funny!!

I purchased this dress at a garage sale only hours before the party for $2.  (Who has a garage sale at 6pm at night?)

 The party began with appetizers and clues.  Then it moved to dinner with more questions and clues.  Then to dessert and accusations!  It was so much fun!  Everyone looked great and we had a few people with really cleaver accents.  

 Here you can see we are deep in conversation and deep into character!  If you want to host your own party, go to


Fishy Fourteen Birthday Party

This weekend I threw a surprise party for my daughter – we totally got her and she was totally surprised!!!!  It was worth all the stress and planning for sure!  She LOVES fish so the party had a fish theme.

 I ordered all these funny blow up fish to float in the pool.  My dear friend let us use her back yard for the party – it was perfect!  It feels like a resort!

The fountains and the pool lights change colors!

We had a nacho bar for dinner.

 And our FAVORITE “Nothing Bundt Cake” for the cake.

For the party favors, I sewed 15 of these little fishy zipper pouches.
I filled the zipper pouches with Swedish Fish, Aqua Blossoms B&BW hand sanitizer, a piece of fish jewelry, a fish keychain, and a blue elastic ponytail holder.
I think all the girls liked them.  It was a fun party!!


Totally 80’s Costume Party

 I totally miss the 80’s!!!  This was so much fun!  We had a totally awesome time reminiscing and talking about all those totally rad styles! 


 Love this intense “mod” look!
 Tough girl & preppy guy!
 Oh yea 🙂
 We had to break out the neon spray paint!

 The dinner was 80’s food – which is code for junk food: pizza, nachos, chips, onion dip, Kool Aid, Tang, and boy am I glad they brought back the Hostess Twinkies & Cup Cakes!!

 If you know me at all, you know that I can’t have a party without dancing!  I love this picture of the guys – they are singing Depeche Mode’s “Somebody”.  Ahhhhhhhh

We had a little “name that tune” throw down
 Then just lots and lots of dancing and singing!!


Monsters University {MU} Party

We have been waiting for the Monsters University movie to come out since we heard about it last year. Monsters Inc. is one of our favorite movies of all time.  To get everyone excited, we hosted a MU party for all our friend this week.  It was super fun!
First I emailed out “Enrollment Applications” to everyone.  Each “monster” was to fill out an application and submit it to my by a certain date.  There is actually a Monsters University website that totally looks like a real college website!

 Once I received all the applications, I emailed an “Acceptance” letter with all the details:  when Freshman orientation was, a schedule, campus map, and list of items to bring.

 I gathered a team of older girls together to be my:

We even made shirts

We transformed our yard into the MU college campus.  The front yard was set up with a table, banners, balloons, signs for registration.  I had two girls out front “checking” people in.  I totally spaced taking pictures of this.  We had almost 30 kids!  The night before we stayed up till midnight creating a monster for everyone and creating a laminated MU Student ID card.  Disney has a website called Create-A-Monster.  It is so much fun.  You can pick your monster body, skin, fur, hair, eyes, horns, etc.  Then you type in your first name and last initial and it generates a monster last name.  We did this for all 30 kids.

This is me, Amanda Needleman.  Now how do those Disney people know I sew!!!

On the website you can also generate an ID card like this one:
The faculty had these ones:
We laminated each card and placed it in an ID card holder.
The back of the ID looks like this.  I made a fake barcode with a barcode font.  I put 8 circles and when they went to each station they got a little Monster sticker to to put in the circle.  
When the children were all checked in they pinned on their name tag.  They were all totally into this!!
As the children walked along the side of the house to get to the backyard, we made a sign with all the incoming freshman.  I printed out each monster and then after the party, they could take it home (that’s why some are missing.)
We also had a meet the faculty poster and all the faculty members signed it.
We set up the MU campus like this: Cafeteria, Library, Scare Floor, Gym, Student Center,  and Art Club.  This is where you can let your imagination go crazy.  I had so many ideas of what we could do – with this large of a group I had to scale back.

The cafeteria was fun.  We were just open for snacks.  I made popcorn balls – you can’t tell but they were neon green.   Jell-O brand came out with Monsters University Jell-O & Jell-O molds.  The green was s’lime and the blue was Berry Scary.

 We also had Monsters University fruit snacks.

For the drinks, I got purple and green Hawaiian Punch water bottle mixes and the children could mix their own drinks.
I decorated with a few doors.

 Student Center

 I found this poster at Wal Mart – I love all the monsters!  At the student center the moms hung out and talked.  Towards the end of the party we had a little “School Dance”.  We played scare dance.  It’s like freeze dance, only when you freeze, you have to do a “Scare” pose.

Art Club

 The Art Club was a hit.  I had river rocks, paint & googley eyes.  Yep, we made monster rocks.  They turned out super cute!


At the gym we played a version of “Horse” only “Scare”.
The Scare Floor

I think this was the biggest hit!  We turned our shed into the scare floor.  The children sat around and one would go into the shed (which is pretty scary) then come out and try to do their best “scare”.

The Library

 The library was a blanket on the grass.  I bought this cute Monsters University story book at Sam’s Club.  It has about 10 different stories with pictures.  The children sat around while on of our faculty read it to them.  I thought it would be cute to make monster bookmarks – but I ran out of time.

 Most of the children brought plain T-shirts.  During the party I ironed on an MU.  Don’t they all look cute!!  We will all be wearing them to the movies on Friday!!

The hot pink came out cute

I love the green & white stripes too (Target).

It was a really fun party.  Can’t wait to go to the movie now!!!


Pinwheel Baby Shower

My friend, Brittany, hosted a “Pinwheel” themed baby shower this weekend.  She is such a great hostess!  She gave me permission to snap some pictures!
I love being greeted by the baby shower theme.  I love the pinwheels on the green window.
I love the pinwheel banner and the use of the shutters on the cupcake table.

She printed out labels for each of the water bottles and attached a toy pinwheel that can be kept as a favor.

 There were pinwheel cupcake toppers which also could be taken home as a favor.

 Also note the use of double cupcake wrappers.  Bake in one wrapper and serve in an additional wrapper!

I love the smaller pinwheels scattered around and attached to the pink frame!

 She taped extra invitations to colored plates and set them in easels to continue with the theme.

She hung large pinwheels on both her mantles.

She attached pinwheels to painted bottles and placed daffodils in the bottles for centerpieces.  I forgot to take pictures of the back yard.  There were pinwheels hanging everywhere!

 Such a fun and “springy” baby shower!


Hot Cocoa Bar

 I helped with my friend’s wedding and I was put in charge of the “Hot Cocoa Bar”.  This is my new favorite dessert!!  We had every topping you could think of: crushed peppermints, chocolate sprinkles, chocolate chips, peppermint Hershey’s Kisses, Caramel balls, caramel topping, caramel flavoring, vanilla flavoring, cinnamon, marshmallows, peppermint marshmallows, giant marshmallows, and of course whipping cream!!

 I love the barrels and the old door used as a table top!

 The children loved the giant marshmallows which were meant for decoration but through the night they managed to disappear!  We covered the whipping cream canisters with decorative paper.  We tied matching labels on all the items with red & white baker’s twine.

 The cocoa bar was a hit – there was a constant line at the table the whole night!!