Mickey Mouse Birthday Party

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Saturday was Mayhem’s 2nd birthday. We celebrated with a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party, and it was a success! I wanted to share what we accomplished, so you could easily do this too!

First, I knew there we some things that I would want to order online- so I started there. I ordered the invitations from Crafts by Jillian, which I am in love with!

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I ordered this adorable shirt from Little Petunia on Etsy. She makes really great quality items for kids. She customized the shirt for Mayhem, and the shirt was super soft and thick.

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I also ordered the Mickey Mouse plushies during the Disney store’s 2 for 1 sale. $7 each. Next, I ordered the bounce house to entertain the kids. I found one with Mickey ears!

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Then, I tackled the paper goods. Target had pretty much everything I needed there- red table cloth, red and black paper plates, black and white polka dot napkins, yellow plastic utensils, and red Solo cups. I was keeping it simple!

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We all had a great time, which is what matters most. And the kids loved the Mickey Mouse theme. I have seen other Mickey parties with ‘hot diggity dogs’, which is so cute! We just did pizza for our lunch, and served cut up strawberries and popcorn as snacks for the kids. I put ears on the kids table for each kid, and they were all running around with them on. Of course, some of the moms had them on too!

The goody bags each had one of the plush Mickey Mouse dolls, a couple bags of M&Ms, Mickey Mouse bubbles, and individual packs of goldfish. The were in 99 cent red buckets from our local party store, and we used FREE Mickey Mouse printables to decorate both the buckets and the water bottles that we put on the kids table.PicMonkey CollageWhat other ideas do you have for a Mickey Mouse birthday party? 

Quick and Healthy Snacks for Preschoolers

Little J is somewhat of a challenge when it comes to eating ‘meals’. He is not very interested in eating, sometimes I wonder if he would eat at all if not for me! This post is as much for me, as for you. I’ve gathered a few snack ideas that are quick and easy. Yogurt and applesauce are my old standbys, but he’s been refusing me by saying, “I had that already.” So I’ve attempted to mix it up a bit.

1. English muffin pizza. We used to make these as kids, and I still love them. J seems more interested in eating things that he can help me make. So I’m hopefully on this one! If all else fails, Mayhem would be happy to help me make and eat these. I use whole wheat English Muffins, marinara sauce, and shredded mozzarella.

2. Frozen fruit bars. The fact that liquids freeze in the freezer makes this treat fascinating to the boys. Mix up the 100% juice and some fruit, toss it in the freezer. The next day, wow! homemade frozen fruit bars.

3. Smoothies. We use ice, milk, yogurt and fruit. Blenders are loud, and boys LOVE loud!

4. Whole grain waffles. Peanut butter is the favorite topping at our house.

5. Dips. Mayhem loves to dip. Rather than ranch dressing, I’m trying to steer him towards hummus and veggies. J prefers strawberries with yogurt dip.

And, in the ‘candy jar’ I’m using raw almonds. This goes without saying, but be sure your little ones can handle an almond before you allow this. But I’m happy to have us all eating those instead of M&Ms! What healthy snacks do you serve at your house?

The Honest Company – Family Essentials Box Review

I ordered a free trial from The Honest Company, just because I was curious to see what Jessica Alba’s company was all about. The website tells their story well- the company was founded by parents who wanted eco-friendly, safe, and affordable products for their family. The products are non-toxic and beautifully packaged.

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There are two options for a free trial: the Diapers Bundle or the Family Essentials Pack. I selected the Family Essentials Pack, and the included items are: shampoo, lotion, hand soap, laundry detergent, and body balm. The package arrived quickly, and the products inside were:

1. Shampoo: The first thing I did with this product was smell it. It smells like an Orange Julius, but very fresh and clean. It is supposedly tear-free, so I’ll definitely try this on my boys. It is also plant based, organic, and uses essential oils and fruit extracts.
2. Lotion: This lotion was great. It has no scent to it, and it’s not greasy. Organic, hypoallergenic and non-toxic. This is great for sensitive skin that may react to anything unnatural.
3. Hand soap: This product is biodegradable, all natural and made with organic lemongrass oil and grapeseed botanical extracts. This will be great to bring on our family camping trips!
4. Laundry detergent: This is a winner. You can use it on all of your laundry, including hand wash items. It is also biodegradable and hypoallergenic. I would like to see if using this regularly clears up one of our family member’s skin issues…
5. Balm: This can be used as a diaper rash cream, or Dad’s razor burns- according to The Honest Company. It contains organic essential oils and olive oil. This seems like a versatile item to keep in a family household, and I used it on my dry elbows- worked great!
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As I mentioned above, I was happy with the products. The reason that I didn’t sign up was the cost. I am already splurging on the Bluum monthly subscription box. A membership to The Honest Company Essentials Bundle costs $35.95/month. You can add up to 3 additional products each month at a 25% discount, and no additional shipping charge. For the other items available in this monthly bundle, options include: sunscreen, dish detergent, hand sanitizer, bubble bath, multi-surface cleaner, and stain remover.
The separate Diapers Bundle is $79.95/month. You can also combine the Diapers Bundle and the Essentials Bundle for $115.90 per month. And I have to say, the diapers from this company are absolutely adorable. They are plant-based, disposable diapers and they come in all kinds of cute patterns like: skulls, gingham, dinosaurs, pink stars, etc. I will keep these in mind for baby showers, because they are just so unique!

A Long, Wonderful, Family-Filled Weekend

This past weekend was a great one. We got to spend a lot of quality time together as a family, and we did some really fun activities! I personally had a 4 day weekend, which was sooooo needed. Here’s a run down of the weekend’s main events.

SaturdayHow to Train Your Dragon, Live Spectacular. My MIL took us to Anaheim to see this amazing show. It was truly astounding what they were able to do! The dragons breathed real fire, flew, and interacted with the actors. It’s a cute story to begin with, and if you have not seen the movie I highly recommend it. Of course, we had to bring home a dragon toy to commemorate the occasion. Little J LOVED it! I think we all enjoyed it a lot more than we originally imagined. It was a 2 hour show, so I wouldn’t recommend bringing really little ones.

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J had so much fun!

Sunday: We got up early and headed to Disneyland. We were unaware of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon that was going on in the morning, and it took us half an hour to get from the freeway exit to the parking lot. But, when we finally got into CA Adventure- we secured FastPass tickets to the World of Color show at 8 pm. Then we went on a few rides, and checked into our hotel. Disney’s Grand Californian has bunk beds in the rooms, and the boys LOVED them! It’s also just a gorgeous hotel, and you get into the Disney parks an hour early when you stay there.

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Mayhem is hard to catch SITTING STILL … this was the best I could do!

We went to dinner for my cousin’s birthday, then we went to see the World of Color. My husband had been pressing to see this for a long time- I wasn’t really that interested. But this too exceeded my expectations! It was water special effects, Disney music, scenes from Disney movies projected on the water… hard to explain. I’ll just say that I was skeptical, but I very much enjoyed the experience. It was crowded, but we left the boys with my parents so we got to enjoy a little ‘adult’ time.

Monday: We got up at 6 am and headed to CA Adventure at 7 am. We did this so we could get on Radiator Springs Racers before the line got too long. I thought this ride was really well done, and exciting. J told me, “I will NEVER go on that again. It was TOO FAST!” Oh well, at least we didn’t wait 2 hours for him to tell me that. We spent the rest of the morning at the park, then headed back to the hotel for brunch with the characters. I was so happy that the boys weren’t too afraid! When we see them in the park, neither of them wants to get too close. But J gave Pluto a big hug, which was so adorable.

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I can NEVER get him to approach the characters! I was so happy that he gave Pluto a hug :)

Monday afternoon, we drove home and the boys were exhausted. They both took naps, and I cleaned out the car and got ready for the week. All in all, a very fun weekend! Hopefully this coming weekend will be a bit more relaxing- but I can’t complain. I think the girls (Mollie and Kallie, the dogs) will be happy if we stay home ALL WEEKEND.

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Everyone was tired. Great time to snuggle.

What did you do this weekend?

DIY Chore Charts

When my husband and I started discussing chores for Little J- I knew I would want a chore chart. It’s just in my nature- I like clear goals and measurable success. I figured Little J would enjoy the visual aspect of the chore chart- and hopefully feel a sense of accomplishment. I don’t often log onto Pinterest thinking that I can conquer a DIY project. But after doing a little research, I wanted to share how easy this project can be!

These bad boys are 98 cents each at Home Depot, in the roofing department near the rain gutters. They are 8 by 12 inches.

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Next, you’ll need Mod Podge. I got an 8 oz jar at Michael’s for $6.50, and a foam tip brush for $0.50.

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Then, the frames. I picked 8 by 12 inch frames, so I wouldn’t have to cut the magnetic backing. I know it can be done, but I wasn’t up for it! Those were $10 each at Michael’s.
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I got alphabet stickers, which added $2 to the project but removed the stress of trying to write in a straight line and added some color. The background of the chart is $0.30 per sheet of scrapbook paper, and I purchased two sheets.

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You will need clear glass pebbles, about 1 inch diameter. Those set me back $2.80 at Michael’s. Those are for the chore magnets.

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Also, you’ll need button magnets. These were $6.99, but I used a coupon to get them at $4.19. (40% off one item)

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Here’s what I started with…

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HOW TO: This was super simple!

1. Print out chore chart icons/clip art, keeping in mind that you will want them to be approximately one inch in diameter.

2. Take a glass pebble and trace a circle around your icon. Cut out the circle you traced.

3. Put a thin layer of Mod Podge on the flat part of the glass pebble and place one of the cut outs on the pebble.

4. Using a hot glue gun, glue a button magnet onto the back of the glass pebble with the paper cut out on it.

5. While those are drying, frame your magnetic backing and scrapbook sheet in the picture frame. Decorate with your child’s name and stickers.

I hope that covers it. It was so quick and easy! Here is a picture of how mine came out- I spent $38 for two chore charts.

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How I Handled My Oldest Child Going to Preschool

Little J makes me so proud. He started preschool, and there were no tears… from him. I tried to take some of those classic ‘first day’ photos on our porch. Except, trying to explain the ‘look over your shoulder’ pose to a 4 year old turned out to be much more difficult than I had planned for.

sure, that works. not what I was thinking, but it works.

Then, I loaded him into the car and spent the ride explaining how he was going to school and STAYING at school- and that I would see him later. He told me that you’re not supposed to turn right on red (seriously). When we arrived, he marched into the classroom to take a look. He was a bit nervous at first, but then he folded right into the routine with the other kids. He was bubbling with excitement when he got home, so I asked him a few questions.

Me: Who was your favorite kid? J: All of them.

Me: What did you do today? J: Played with kids. Had a snack.

Me: Did you make anything? Or sing any songs? J: Yeah, we made fish. But they had glitter on them, so I didn’t bring it home ‘cuz it would be too messy.

Getting nowhere fast. Guess I’ll have to be content to hear it all second-hand. But he’s really enjoying his half-days at school. They celebrated his birthday, and he got a crown to wear for the day. He had ‘share day’, or ‘show and tell’ to children of the 80’s. And he brought a T-Rex, of course.

It made me a little sad to leave him there. It’s a strange feeling, and I know many parents have to leave their children when they are much younger… but it was a first for me! I never cried before I had kids, and there I was crying in my minivan before leaving him at school for his first day! Children have destroyed me!

Have you cried more since you had kids?

My New Stroller – Chicco Liteway

I’m not new at this ‘mom’ thing anymore. I have TWO kids, and I’ve had numerous strollers- don’t get my husband started on the topic. I have the BOB Revolution, it’s endured both boys and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. BUT I also have a need for a lighter, more portable stroller to keep in my car. I previously had the Combi lightweight stroller- but it didn’t wear well. It was difficult to steer amongst other issues, and after 4 years it was driving me crazy.

So, I took advantage of the Babies R Us “Great Trade In” where you get 25% off a new stroller or carseat if you traded in your old one. I happily handed in my Combi, and purchased a Chicco Liteway.

And well, I am in love. This stroller is sturdy, easy on the eyes, and moves so much easier than my previous one. I had to share. One of my complaints about the prior stroller was that I had no where to hang my purse- and the handles on this stroller serve that purpose. It also folds up easily, and steers effortlessly. It reclines, and can even support a newborn. I am impressed. The only small downside is the basket, which isn’t very large. But since I can hang things on the handles, that makes up for it- in my humble opinion. Bonus: it’s WAY cheaper than a Maclaren!

What about you- do you have a stroller (or other baby gear item) that you LOVE?!

Labor Day Weekend 2012

This year, my family spent nearly a week in beautiful Wall, New Jersey. I will do a separate post on the two-day, multi-family picnic and trivia extravaganza. But before any of that happened, we got to spend a few days relaxing with my family.

One of the reasons that Little J loves going to Grandma’s house is THE POOL! Mayhem joined in the fun this year, since he’s an expert from swim class. His favorite activity was jumping off the side of the pool, into the arms of whomever was closest! He doesn’t even worry about what could happen, he leaves that to his mother.

Uncle John with Mayhem, and Little J behind them

We spent an evening at the Jersey shore boardwalk. Our family’s favorite spot is the Jenkinson’s Arcade in Point Pleasant, NJ. The pizza is enormous, the ice cream is real, the salt water taffy is a classic – and I love it all!

Auntie Kim!

Last year, we took up all the seats at the games so that Little J would win a prize. This year, it was Mayhem’s turn. Little J got to use all the tickets we won to claim prizes at the arcade, so don’t feel too bad for him.

BIG Winner. He sleeps with the Angry Bird now!

The trip was a great end to our summer. Each year, I realize how much has changed since the last time we were there. And each year, I realize how little has changed since the last time we were there. Can’t wait for next year!

OC Fair 2012

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Each year, our family makes sure to get in a visit to the OC Fair. My husband plots which new and exciting food he’ll try, and I wonder what (all of) my boys will be excited about this year! Last year, we rode an elephant, we won a fish, walked through an ice sculpture gallery and sampled fried Kool-Aid. This year, my husband tried chocolate-covered bacon, and J went on some rides all by himself!

It was fun to see Mayhem get out and enjoy the fair. Last year, he was only a few months old when we came! He liked the piglets, and LOVED all the food.

We stopped by the genealogy booth, and picked up a history of our last name. The print was matted, and has our family crest on it. Pretty interesting! Our family motto is apparently, “Conscious of no wrong”. Seems true! Whether that’s a good thing, or a bad thing- that’s to be debated.

We picked up a light switch cover, shaped like a stegosaurus. We had a giraffe print cover in J’s room from his nursery, and it was time to upgrade to his dinosaur room.

Stegosaurus Light Switch cover

We also found a T-Rex at the fair, which J loved! He couldn’t stop looking at it.

Wow…

All in all, it was a great day. And admission for the entire family was $4, so you can’t beat that! Have you been to the OC Fair, or a local fair near your house? 

J’s Dinosaur Birthday Extravaganza

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This weekend was J’s 4th birthday Dinosaur Dig. My sister, my mother (“Grandma”) and I spent weeks planning this party. It had to be dinosaur theme, the kid is obsessed! We decided that we needed some space, so my parents’ backyard was our location of choice. We ordered the invites from www.minted.com, with a gift certificate from my June Citrus Lane box!  Grandma found an adorable ‘Roar party kit’ at www.merimeri.com. The colors were just what I had envisioned! We ordered some cake plates, napkins, and a cupcake kit. This kit included cupcake papers and dinosaur cupcake toppers which were toothpicks with dinosaur pictures on them. J loved these. He helped us decorate his cupcakes. The highlight of this order for me was the centerpiece. It roars!  I found some bright green plates for lunch, and blue and green Solo cups for beverages.  While the boys were napping one afternoon I made a birthday banner and goodie bags, which was very out of character for me. I’m NOT crafty! I had ordered the goodie bag fillers from Amazon.com- dinosaur bath squirters, stickers, and pencils. The morning of the party, we grabbed some balloons and ‘paleontologist hats’ at the party store. Grandma also grabbed moustaches- which were a huge hit!

Grandma brilliantly suggested that we order tables/chairs from a party rental company, who also brought tablecloths (light blue). They brought a kiddie table, which was too cute. It was a mini version of a banquet table, complete with kiddie chairs! I decorated the adult tables with the help of the birthday boy, we spread brown sugar in the center for ‘sand’ and placed a few dinosaurs on each table. The kids table had dinosaur masks on the back of each chair, and their paleontologist costume at each seat. The ladies spent the day before the party cleaning, decorating the house, and baking.

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My husband contributed by hiding ‘dinosaur eggs’  outside for the Junior Paleontologists to find, stuffing and hanging the piñata, and carving a watermelon to look like a T-Rex! At Target, I found a Triceratops piñata.

Mayhem didn’t quite understand the pinata…

Happy Birthday, little man. I hope you know how much we all love you!!