Mantel Montage 

2017 mantels

Another year and more mantle attempts. I will say I loved some of these, and other… well you’ll see.

January was fun with sparkle, white and blue. The details make it special, the more glitter the better.  

Sweet and pink rolled in February.

Festive and fun rung in March. Featuring hand print shamrocks made by my kids.IMG_7053

April was a color burst of bright flowers. I wanted the big mirror to bounce as much light as possible around the room, especially after a long grey winter.

May the 4th be with you for all the Star Wars fans at our house.

June easy breezy blue and white. I love this handblown glass wave by Anchor Bend Glassworks it had to be my centerpiece.  It is actually my business card holder when I go to craft fairs.  

July is my favorite and therefore I have lots to pull from.

And than there was August.  I took down July and didn’t get any father. We were too busy living life and enjoying summer that it never was done but it wasn’t missed we were home for a total of 6 days this month. 

September; as I said last year it’s either back to school or football.  I figured I’d give football a try this year.  Remember re-purpose items you already have and you won’t break the bank.  The “field” is actually a table runner and the “flags” are kitchen hand towels with some “referee” tissue paper in a clear vase. 

We have decided to sell our house so off we went to stage and prepare our house for October.  It had to be seasonal but not overdone. Classic and simple was the goal.  I missed using all my kids cute scary art work but it was no longer our house and was now a show piece.  

I guess October seasonal and basic worked our house was under contract in November.  People were still coming and going a few replacements did just the trick to keep it fresh. 

December ended up being the gathering place for all of our house plants so the packers didn’t send them off to storage. It’s was a pretty spot despite the sad goodbye.  Seems like it is only appropriate as this was the starting point for all the house plants and my mantel montages.  Our packers were there December 2nd so there wasn’t much time or reason to really break out holiday decorations.  

This closes the chapter on mantle displays for now. Our new house does not have a mantel for me to get my creative on, but stay tuned I’m sure there will be something else to set those special items on.

 

Other mantel blog posts.

Mantle Mojo

Sprinkling Holiday Cheer 

Can you handle my mantel? 

 

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The New Season-Cookies!

For those of you that aren’t aware, like I was last year. Once you become the parent of a Girl Scout you add a whole new season to the calendar.  Cookie season.  You have spring time, summer, the fall, the holiday season and than comes COOKIE SEASON.  Before the Christmas tree is even out the door your cutie is hustling your guests for pre-sales.

Now you probably think cool sell some boxes earn a patch.  If it was only that simple.  Now as a disclaimer; scouts are not required to participate in cookie sales nor do they have to sell tons of boxes.  This is the mindset I was going with.  This entire season is girl driven and my daughter’s initial goal was 30 boxes.  It snowballed from there.  She reached her goal by Christmas morning with just family.  She of course upped the goal and away we went.

Now for those of you that weren’t aware a percentage of each box sold goes to the girl in money that can be used to summer camps and outings. Another percentage goes to the girl’s troop to keep their dues low and pay for items like patches and craft supplies. I will say as the mom the camp credits was motivating to me to let the snowball keep rolling.

She had a fantastic summer at camp and made friends and lit her first match, she was SO excited. Those of you that embrace our cuties with their lists this season we thank you.

This post is purely from the perspective of a parent. Never mind those amazing parents that VOLUNTEER to be the troop or even biger Service Unit Cookie person. These people have begun their Cooke season well before we have. They have hearts of gold and way more storage space that I do.

more posts about Girl Scout Cookies coming soon

Cookies on the Move

A cookie Thank You

An Elephant and Purple Glitter Birthday Party

Sweet, simple and special. Using elephants, glitter and the color scheme purple and grey for my little lady who’s turning 3 this year.  My dear friend Julia at the blog A Little Bee Told Me helped me out with the invitations, decorations, some of the stickers and labels.

Let’s set up and decorate.  This has to be one of my favorite steps.  I spend weeks collecting and thinking thru each area so to see it come together is just the best moment for me.  I often try not to buy items and just collect items that are already around my house.  It doesn’t have to be expensive to be special.

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I went a bit nuts and yes taped purple labels on the waters and used a cookie cutter for the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  But I will say because they were cute they didn’t last and were gobbled up.  You can also get a glimpse of the birthday girl in her purple tutu.  To read about her love of tutus click here.  I used a roll of paper under all the serving dishes.  It was a super cute and easy way to label all the food without having to put much work into it, just a purple marker.

This year’s dessert was, the classic, cake and ice cream.  I pre-scooped black raspberry ice cream into cup cake wrappers so it was easy to serve and looked cute on the plate.  Audra at Mad Hatter Bakery worked her magic and mixed up this beautiful cake.

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We had to complement the cake with some sweet treats.  My mother-in-love’s first attempt at cake pops and my first attempt at frosted rice krispy treats.  They were yummy and we both have be perfected their look over time.

Party favors were small and simple.  I actually used white boxes that were left over from our wedding hotel welcome packages.  They were perfect.  Printed the elephants on sticker paper and a sharpie marker and they were all set.

 

We’ve been very lucky to have such beautiful weather during our children’s birthday parties.  Being outside is such a part of childhood that, we welcome.  We are blessed with lots of family and friends so to fit them in our small house would be so comical.

 

To see my son’s 3rd birthday party with a Firemen & Dalmatian theme click here.

Visiting the Mouse – Part 3

Part 3 Time to Shop things I purchased ahead of time…

Below is a long list of items that I purchased thru Amazon, our local bi-annual consignment pop up shop; Be Green Sale or from local stores.  I took my time, and enjoyed the hunting and gathering of all these fun little items.  I started long before our trip which allowed me to find the best deals, or be picky on colors.

Disney theme sweatshirt for each kid (lived in them. Plane rides, am & pm chill. It was still 78-85 degrees but cool at night).  Consider that these might become the uniform of your photos so get ones that you like and perhaps coordinate a bit.  I’m not saying matching unless you’re into that.  My kids wore a pink one with Minnie ears and a blue one with Mickey on it.  Of course the characters reacted so well to seeing my kids in them.

Ponchos– one for each person including the toddler.  They are small light and already packed.  We were super lucky and never had to use ours.  It only rained one night after we were back in our rooms.  Those Florida rains come in quick and heavy and leave just as quickly so better to be prepared.

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Lanyards to hold all those trading pins.  A fun Disney pattern is cool but they do fill up fast and plain colors work just as fine.  I found a 3 pack for $11.42 blue, pink and red. I loved ours they came with a little pouch so we could tuck those pins that slid off in until we got more backs. And I could slip a I’m lost card with info in the back clear pouch.  I also bought a 12 pack of extra backs. They are small and easy to loose plus they are unique so not all fit properly.

Starter pins for trading (found on Amazon 25 pins for $30 the 6 & 17 year olds were into it more than the 2.5 year old.  Honestly I put some pins I knew my daughter would like on my sons lanyard so she’d have to practice trading.

Spinning night time light up toys. The pirate one was $7.99 off Amazon and the Frozen one was from a local consignment sale and cost $5.00 (According to a friend it was $25 at Disney on Ice).  Best time to buy these is right after Halloween.

Stroller Lights–  Nothing like coming off a ride to a dark sea of strollers.  Well worth the money.  Also as you’re trying to navigate a double stroller towards the exit with 1,000’s of the others it’s nice for them to see you coming and not try to step across while you’re rolling a monster truck with you’re two kiddos sound asleep at 10:30pm.  Clip on bike lights work well too.  Please be considerate and turn them off during the firework displays.

Line Buster Games– 6 pack of wedding bubbles, Disney games and Heads Up game loaded on phone.  A Hidden Mickey app or book.  He’s all over the place in carvings, tapestries,  Cast member’s uniforms. Wikki Stix weird name cool toy.

Coloring pads– small little ones, you’re caring around sharpie markers why not get use out of them.  (of course if they can handle a sharpie) lollypops for poping ears on the airplane or again line busters.

I made a sign to identify our stroller in the sea of matching and rental strollers. I also spotted some other very creative people.  Had to snap and share a picture of theirs too.

Clip on Purelle to attach to stroller.  Oh so handy

Individual packaged wet wipes

Disney signature book–  These are so expensive in the park and I doubt the first thing you want to do upon entering is hit the store for a signature book.  Also one zip lock bag that could cover the book in a Florida rain storm. Nothing more disappointing than a smeared keepsake.
Click sharpie markers multi colors (my daughter loved picking colors to match the character’s outfits).  According a secret source the characters like the click sharpies more too.  Easier to use if you’re wearing gloves and easy to close so after they hand it back to your kid they won’t accidentally rub it all over their costume.

Anything Mickey/Minnie was loaded into their backpacks ie lipsmackers, coloring books, dried apple snacks, stickers, hats etc.  I had found these crocks at a consignment sale a year prior it just happen to be perfect timing


Stuffed animal Mickey and Minnie, not the monster size but something manageable.

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Disney add-ons Princess crowns, wands, pirate hats; really anything to make your and your kids feel special.  I am known to rock a good tiara.

Disney World is a safe place, but I always recommend having your contact information located somewhere on your kids.  Write it on the back of their button which is likely to be attached to them or their lanyard full of trading pins.  I also packed the Kids ID bracelets that are simple and available thru my Etsy store.  For those days at the water park or are super sweaty use a ball point pen with Liquid Band-aid over it.  You can also order custom temporary tattoos that work well too.On Wrist

Zip-ties–  I know sounds weird but so helpful.  Our stroller sign kept falling off day one and zip-ties to the rescue.  The strap on my over the shoulder purse broke day 3 zip-ties to the rescue.  You don’t need a lot just a few in a few sizes.

All of the items were packed and brought down.  Yes it takes up room in suitcases going down but they take up just as much room upon your return.  Might as well save a few bucks.  I ended up spending about $270.00 before our trip and $40 in the park for souvenirs we just had to have.  My daughter and I bought new charms for our charm bracelets, twirly lolly pop a new pin for the lanyard, etc.

Duck tape can be so helpful for identifying so many things.  Cut a long strip Put a piece off old rag or paper in the middle and wrap it around a luggage handle trim cloth or paper to size makes a custom bag tag. Our stroller sign was made with duck tape and ribbon and a pre-made wooden frame from Michael’s Craft stores.

Have so much fun.  Remember don’t go overboard, as it is easy to do, and give yourself time so you can enjoy the shopping.  Happy Hunting.

P.S. Don’t forget where you squirrel it away.

 

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Special Adventures

Part 4: Packing & Hunting

Part 5: Here We GO!

Part 6: Playing in the Park 

Part 7: Memories & Lessons Learned

Look Whoo’s Turning Two

This year’s party evolved because of some fabric I found on one of my crafting hunts.  I wanted to make a fun tutu kinda skirt as my little lady would wear a tutu every day of the week if I let her.  We had to narrow it down to Tutu Tuesdays a day when she wasn’t going to be playing in the mud or on the playground at school nor have to ask others to deal with all that tulle.  The fabric I found had owls and sweet girlie colors all over it.  I made it into a tutu for my birthday girl to wear.IMG_2212My good friend Julia at the blog A Little Bee Told Me came thru for me yet again with adorable invitations.

Time to set the tables.  A quick trips thru Michael’s craft stores for wooden owls and stickers were perfect to be sprinkled around the table.  I like to have a special area for the cake to be displayed before we get to dessert.  People love to take a quick peek at the design, as well as it gives me a place to make sure all items are out at ready like plates, candle, knife etc.  My sister was away for the party this year but she found and sent along a special owl plate that the birthday girl used.  IMG_2078IMG_2083Did a little set up of fun activities around the yard for the kids and adults to keep all entertained.  Made the sweet little owls out of paper lanterns and construction paper and a flag for the top of the swing set in the same fabric as the birthday girl’s tutu.  Let say it was a lesson in sewing triangles and took a few tries.  IMG_2080IMG_2079

Playing with Uncle Steve at the sand table is so much fun.  The sand table was also filled with purple glitter to match our theme.

Time for cake!  Thanks to Audra at Mad Hatter Bakery the cake and cupcakes looked adorable and oh so yummy.

Everyone left the party with giant bouncy ball (pictured above) and owl loot bag.   It made for tons of fun all party long in the yard, and it was a gift that would get used by a kid of any size.  IMG_2077

A wonderful time with wonderful weather.  Until next time, a year that will surly fly by.  Enjoy being 2 little lady.

 

To read blogs about my daughter’s other birthdays click below…

A Pink & Green 1st Birthday Party

Firemen & Dalmatians Birthday Party

Time to set the house a blaze for my little guy’s 3rd birthday party.  The pre-school TV show Paw Patrol is pretty big in our house right now and the dalmatian pup named Marshall has a place of honor.   That being said it made planning this party a snap.

We filled the windows of the house with construction cut outs of flames and filling his rain boots with flowers to help decorate.  I collected every fire truck and hat we owned and they became the centerpieces and accents throughout the house.

We sprinkled the walk way and front yard with flames cut out of foam that were glued onto popsicle sticks.  The kids had a blast using the water squirt extinguishers to try and knock them over.

The fun didn’t stop there as I took a stuffed animal cat (aka unicorn my daughter had) and tied a string around it.  The kids had fun climbing a step stool with the fireman dress up gear, we had so they could save the kitten in the tree.

After all the fun and games it was time to eat.  It was a simple meal with sandwiches and deli wraps.  I cut more flames out of foam for the cutlery, and used balloons that are actually cow print for dalmatians.

Cake time is easy and yummy with a sheet cake from our local market.

It was a sweet day filled with friends and family.  We thanked our guests for coming to celebrate with everyone taking home their own fireman hats and water squirt extinguishers.

IMG_7223Granted all this party fun happens on the weekends and on no school days, so on your actually birthday I have to send a special lunch into school and a visit to a real fire truck. IMG_7056

How do you make birthday’s special?

 

To read blogs about my son’s other birthdays click here…

Milk & Cookie Monster Birthday Party

Birthday Bash

Visiting the Mouse- Special Adventures

There is just so much information when looking into special adventures at Walt Disney World.  In the hopes of not overwhelming my blog post about Time to Book & Plan your Fun I decided to break this out into an additional post.

Bippy Boppy Boutique & The Pirate’s League both can be booked 180 days in advance.  The Star Wars Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios can only be booked for the day of by the a parent & CHILD being present when the gates open, sometimes as early at 7am. All of the special adventures are such great fun.  There are other types of special adventures but these seem to be the big three for kids ages 3-12.

At the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, your little girl or boy will have their own Fairy Godmother-in-training who will give them a royal makeover at this beauty salon for children ages of 3 and 12. There are three different packages to choose from.  (2016 pricing). There are two locations for boutique one in Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom as well as at Disney Springs. We went with Disney Springs at 4pm. It worked well as our dinner reservation were also in Disney Springs.

  • The Crown package ($59.95 + tax) includes hair styling, make-up with a face gem, nail polish, a princess sash and cinch backpack bag.
  •  The Courtyard package ($99.95 + tax) adds a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique T-shirt and tutu.
  • The Castle package ($199.95 + tax) adds a princess costume of your girl’s choice and accessories (excluding shoes).
  • A print photo package can be added to any of the packages for $32.95. If you opted for Disney’s Memory Maker, pictures taken during your girl’s transformation can be added to your account. Also with Memory Maker, you can take your daughter over to Castle Couture and have a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Studio photo session. There is no extra cost to have these pictures taken and added to your account.
  •  Assorted princess accessories and T-shirts are also available for purchase.

The amount of time needed for this magical transformation is 30-60 minutes, depending on the package and which of three hairstyle choices is selected.  You will only be allowed to have two additional people in the Boutique with your child.  For the Crown and Courtyard package you’re welcome to bring your own costume from home and will have a chance to put it on prior to getting the royal treatment. (Note the hairdo will last 1-3 days depending on care).  I will say that the grandparents provided this for our daughter as a special gift and my mother-in-love scored big at the local consignment sale with a gently used Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique T-shirt, bag tutu and extra sash, which we took with us and she wore the next day in the park.

pirate leagueThe Pirate’s League is for Captain Jack and his trusted mates are scouring the 7 seas in search of treasure—and new recruits! At The Pirates League, select a pirate style and receive a makeover and training from the League’s veteran pirates. Get a new name, learn some swashbuckling maneuvers and, after taking the official Pirate League Oath be prepared to march in the Parade of Pirates in Adventureland (Parade of Pirates is part of Walt Disney World® experience only).

The Pirates League at the Walt Disney World® Resort offers 4 packages:

  • The First Mate and Empress Packages include Choice of facial effect (5 options)*, Reversible bandana, earring and eye patch, sword and sheath, The Pirates League bag, temporary tattoo, unique pirate coin necklace, personalized pirate oath, official pirate name and participation in a daily Adventureland Pirate Parade**
  • The Empress package also includes vibrant makeup, nail polish and face gem!

Children must be at least 3-years-old to attend and adults are welcome as well.  Packages begin at $29.95 and go to $74.95. (2016 pricing).

jedi training.jpgMy daughter fell in love with the outdoor show of the Jedi Training Academy participants.  We just so happen to have lunch next door at 50’s Prime Time Cafe and she spend her whole lunch time watching this 20 min show that starts with a new group every half hour.  (P.S. the cafe serves the coolest cupcakes, and they have special to go boxes if you can’t finish it, just ask)

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Younglings who wish to participate in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple must register before the show.

 

Choose any of these special things to enhance your Disney experience or choose to pass, totally optional.

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Part 3: Time to Shop

Part 4: Packing & Hunting

Part 5: Here We GO!

Part 6: Playing in the Park 

Part 7: Memories & Lessons Learned