June 19, 2019

A Hobbit Birthday: Middle Earth Party Decor & FREE Invitations Template

For her 5th birthday, Babs requested a Hobbit-themed party, because she is her mother's daughter and a complete Nerd. 

So I went overboard with the theme, no surprise there.

Hobbit Door Invitations

To start the festivities off right, Babs and I crafted our own Hobbit Door Invitations.


  • white or cream heavyweight paper or cardstock
  • green construction paper
  • ivory copyweight paper
  • glue
  • stapler
  • 3 different reddish-brownish coloring utensils


  • Use a coffee cup or small bowl to trace a 4 3/4" diameter circle onto the heavyweight paper/ cardstock.

  • Download this template for the base. Change information as desired. Print some testers to be sure all your information fits in your desired circle size. I alternated fonts and took screenshots of Babs' name and 'our precious' in Hobbiton font and Bilbo Hand font, since I can't download/install cool fonts into Google Docs. Or maybe I just don't know how?

  • Print the invitation template onto ivory paper. Use a cup or bowl to trace 3 3/4"-diameter circles around each text group.

  • Glue each invitation-circle centered on one heavyweight-paper circle.

  • Draw alternating diagonal lines (or just straight lines, who cares!) for the bricks around the doorframe. Color in 3 alternating reddish-brownish colors.

  • Cut corresponding circles using the same round object from green construction paper. Draw lines and a gold doorknob in the center for the door. Center the green circles over the ivory circles and staple twice at the left edge to create the door.

You can alter the template to be bigger if desired, but the 4 3/4" base circles were nice because they fit into 5"x7" envelopes.

Woodland Bunting

From four green & brown print fabrics and a solid ivory muslin, I cut a whole bunch of triangles roughly 8" wide & 8" tall. Make a slit in each corner. Thread yarn or ribbon through the slits so the ribbon is on the wrong side of the fabric. Hang for a delightfully woodland decor.

Happy Birthday Banner

I scoured my Extensis Fonts Add-on for the perfect Middle Earth font. I wound up mish-mashing a bunch of fonts, to hit the right mix of Middle-Earthy and readability.

Download the letters here.

Decorating Crowns

Using these templates, I printed crowns onto yellow construction paper (cut them to 8 1/2"x11" size, before putting them in your printer).

Given markers and jewel stickers, they could've sat at the table for far longer than I let them.

Goodie Bags

I had some metallic-y fabric in my stash and a zillion buttons, so I decided to make party favor bags for all of Babs' friends.

I used this tutorial as a guideline, except I made small 1/2" slits roughly 1" below and perpendicular to the cut edge.

Balloon Dragon

We stuffed red balloons with prizes like Tootsie rolls, dragon tattoos and stickers. I tied balloon ends together in pairs and slung each pair over a long yarn to create the body. I taped this dragon face template on the front balloon, slung two pieces of red tissue paper over the body for wings and freehand drew a tail onto a sheet of red construction paper.

The idea was to bring it on the floor and let the kids squeeze an orange rind over the balloons to pop them. That trick worked when I tested it a few weeks prior, but it DID NOT WORK FOR THESE BALLOONS?? I have no idea why.

We ended up having to put a pin in the tip of our foam sword and let the kids jab the balloons to pop them. (Stressful, dangerous & not advisable.)

Spider Web & Sucker Spiders

I taped some Halloween spider webs across a corner and wrapped little dragon toys in webs. (You know, like how Bilbo & the dwarves got wrapped up by the spiders in Mirkwood???? It made sense to ME. The 5-year-olds, not so much.)

Babs and I made sucker spiders to guard the dragon packages, and the kids had to very carefully choose one bundle to pull from the web & unwrap.

Ring Toss

For stability, I tied a foam sword onto our paper-towel-holder. If your sword is lighter than ours, you could just put the hilt into a mason jar. A couple glow sticks put together made the ring.

Smaug Horde Cake

I used this gluten-free cake recipe, but in a 10" pan instead of an 8". It was a pretty large cake and one (2 sticks of butter) batch of buttercream was just barely enough frosting for this bare-bones frosting design.

But the gold and white nonpareils made up Smaug's treasure horde, with clusters of mini M&Ms for emeralds, rubies and sapphires. And yes, I forgot to take a picture of it before it got demolished.


It was probably more fun for me crafting things to theme than it was for the kids to enjoy them. Let's be honest, 5-year-olds don't give a crap about themes. They'd have been happy with cake and candy and just running around.

But it was a fun, albeit exhausting, day for everyone. And Babs is already making requests for her party theme for next year.

June 14, 2019

Tangled: Princess Rapunzel Kid's Bedtime Story

Don't miss these classic bedtime stories:
Beauty & the Beast
Little Mermaid

Once upon a time, a single drop of sunlight fell from the heavens. From that drop of sunlight a magic flower grew, which had the power to heal the sick and wounded. An old woman named Mother Gothel selfishly kept the flower hidden and used its magic to keep herself young and beautiful for many years.

In a nearby kingdom, the Queen was about to have a baby, but she grew very ill. The people went out in search of the miraculous Golden Flower of legend, in hopes that it would heal their Queen. They found the flower and scooped it out of the ground. They used it to make a medicine that healed the Queen and she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with shining golden hair. They named her Rapunzel.

Mother Gothel was angry that the flower was taken from her, so she snuck into the palace. She realized that Rapunzel's golden hair held the power of the magic flower, so she tried to cut some. But when the hair was cut, it turned brown and lost its power. Mother Gothel had no choice but to take the whole child. She stole Rapunzel and hid her away in a tall tower in the forest.

The King and Queen were distraught that they couldn't find her. So every year on her birthday, the kingdom lit floating lanterns and flew them into the sky in hopes that one day Rapunzel would find her way home.

Rapunzel grew up thinking Mother Gothel was her real mom and Mother Gothel told her lies about how awful and cruel the outside world was, to make Rapunzel afraid of leaving the tower. But still, Rapunzel grew up a kind and curious child. Every year on her birthday she snuck out of her room to look out the tower window and watched as lights floated up into the sky. She wondered what they were and wanted to go see them up close.

On her 18th birthday, Rapunzel asked Mother Gothel to take her to see the floating lights, but Mother Gothel said, "You are not leaving this tower, EVER!"

Meanwhile, a thief named Flynn Rider and the Stabbington brothers had stolen the Princess's crown from the palace and were being chased through the forest by the palace guards, led by the Captain's horse, Maximus.

Flynn betrayed the Stabbington brothers, took the crown and escaped them all by climbing a tower he found hidden in the forest. Rapunzel's tower. When he got inside, Rapunzel smacked him in the head with a frying pan and hid him in the closet. She was scared of him, after all the tales Mother Gothel told her about mean and evil people. But he didn't look evil. So when he woke up, Rapunzel made a deal with him.

"Take me to see the floating lights and return me here safely," she said. In return, she would give Flynn back the satchel with the crown, which she'd hidden under some floorboards. He reluctantly agreed.

The world outside her tower was wonderous and Rapunzel loved everything about it. But she was still a bit frightened of it. Flynn thought he could scare Rapunzel into giving up her quest and get his satchel back quicker, so he brought her to the Snuggly Duckling, a tavern filled with ruffians and thugs.

Rapunzel was afraid at first, but she was kind-hearted and compassionate. She found that she had something in common with all of those big, burly, scary men. They all had a dream. Rapunzel wanted to see the floating lights, one of the men wanted to be a pianist, one wanted to bake cupcakes, one collected ceramic unicorns.

In the end, they helped her and Flynn escape when the Palace Guards came. They ran down a tunnel and Rapunzel used her hair to swing herself and Flynn to safety. But they ended up trapped in a cave that was flooding with water! Rapunzel used her magic hair to light the darkness and find a way to escape.

Flynn was amazed that her hair magically glowed. "It doesn't just glow," Rapunzel said. She then used her hair to heal a cut on his hand.

Meanwhile, the Stabbington brothers met up with Mother Gothel, who'd realized Rapunzel had left the tower, and they chased after Flynn and Rapunzel together. Mother Gothel tried convincing Rapunzel that Flynn only wanted the crown and didn't actually care about her. She dared Rapunzel to return it to him and see what happened. Then she left.

Maximus the horse caught up with Flynn and Rapunzel, but Rapunzel convinced him to let Flynn show her the lights first, then they could chase each other to their heart's content. Flynn then showed Rapunzel around the kingdom. Some girls braided her hair with flowers so it wouldn't get tangled up everywhere and Flynn thought she looked beautiful. He took her to read books in a library, they ate cupcakes and she drew a beautiful mural with chalk.

When it was time to go watch the lights, Flynn took Rapunzel out on the water in a little boat. Flynn had gotten them lanterns to light too, and they watched them soar up into the sky, lighting up the night like stars. Rapunzel gave him back the satchel with the crown because she trusted he wouldn't abandon her. But Flynn realized he didn't want riches anymore, he just wanted to be with Rapunzel. He put down the satchel and took her hands. But before they could kiss, Flynn saw the Stabbington brothers appear on the shore.

"I'll be right back," he promised Rapunzel, and left her on shore with the boat. He took the satchel and went to meet the brothers. He tried giving them back the crown so they'd leave him alone, but Mother Gothel had told them about Rapunzel's magic hair and they decided they wanted her instead. So they tied Flynn up on a boat and sent him across the water to be arrested by the guards.

They went after Rapunzel, but Mother Gothel jumped in and stopped them. She wanted Rapunzel to think she'd saved her, when really she'd been the one to send the brothers after Rapunzel in the first place. Rapunzel, thinking Flynn had betrayed her, went back to the tower with Mother Gothel.

In the jail, Flynn saw the Stabbington brothers in another cell. He grabbed them through the bars.

"What did you do to her?" he demanded.

"It wasn't us," they said. "It was the old lady."

Flynn realized Mother Gothel was behind the whole thing and Rapunzel was in danger! Luckily, Maximus had gone back to the Snuggly Duckling and got Rapunzel's new thug friends to come help Flynn escape. Flynn rode Maximus through the forest and climbed the tower. Once inside, he saw Rapunzel tied up in the corner and Mother Gothel stabbed him from behind!

Mother Gothel tried pulling Rapunzel out the back door, but she struggled and fought.

"Stop fighting, Rapunzel!"

"No!" Rapunzel said. "I will never stop fighting to get away from you. But, if you let me heal him, I will go with you. I won't ever try to escape. I promise. Just let me heal him."

Mother Gothel agreed. She tied Flynn up so he wouldn't follow them and Rapunzel went to heal him. But Flynn stopped her. He knew if she went with Mother Gothel, she'd be unhappy for the rest of her life.

So Flynn took a shard of a broken mirror and cut off all her magic hair! That way, Mother Gothel couldn't use Rapunzel and keep her prisoner.

Without the magic, Mother Gothel turned to dust. Rapunzel's hair lost its golden color and turned brown. And she couldn't heal Flynn. She bent her head and cried, singing her magic song. But, even without her hair, Rapunzel still had magic in her. One tear fell onto Flynn's cheek and the magic flowed through him and healed him!

He woke up and they kissed and they went back to the palace together. Rapunzel met the King and Queen, her father and mother, and they knew right away she was their lost Princess. They pulled her and Flynn into a big hug.

The Kingdom rejoiced. Their lost Princess had returned, and she was loved by all. Especially Flynn. He asked her to marry him... and she said yes! And they all lived happily ever after.

The End.