You’ve waited long enough…

My dear sweet friends and family, students and parents; You’ve waiting a long time for a good laugh and who am I to disappoint.   May is National Water Safety Month and all month long my little swimmers, during their classes, have been learning about ways to be safe, smart and a friend to mother nature when it comes to time around the water.

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Below is my 2005 attempt at poolside education with Gus & Goldie the spokes fish for the National Spa and Pool Institute.  That’s right I’m Goldie and my assistant was Gus.  We spent the morning on the pool deck passing out coloring books, stickers and posing for pictures.  Totally smiled for my first few photos.  We spent the afternoon curb side waving to honking cars.  Not a typical day in the office but where we spent the day laughing and not doing budgets and reports.  Gus & Goldie

After the success of Gus & Goldie; Josh the Baby Otter came into my life in 2008.  I got to rock this costume at a local safety event.  If you’re ever going to be a costume character make sure you have an “escort” so you’re not stuck in the costume the whole time.   Your escort can get you away when you’re melting on the inside.  Sometime being the escort is harder, you have to be the one talking, smiling and dealing the kids that freak out around costume characters.

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There is no shortage of kid friendly curriculums out there to help you broach the subject with your kids or students.  Some of my favorites include.

Josh the Baby Otter Click Here

American Red Cross’s Longfellow’s Whales Tales American Red Cross’s A Whales Tail

Gus & Goldie Gus and Goldie thanks to the El Paso, Texas Parks and Rec Dept.

Remember as we all gear up for a summer season of splashing poolside, at the beach or on the family boat, even the littlest swimmer can help in an emergency.  Ask your swim instructor to include some safety lessons and topics during class time.

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Some additional resources, and groups to help you prepare for a busy May.

National Water Safety Month Organization

World’s Largest Swim Lesson

 

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Cookies on the Move. 

Looking for some ideas as you look to off load some Girl Scout cookies this season?  My daughter and I painted her lemonade stand changing it into a cookie booth for the season.  We had fun getting it ready and it was super cute when stocked with piles of cookies and adorable Girl Scouts from her troop outside the local markets. In addition to the cookie booths that she hosted with her troop we loaded our wagon and headed out to the streets to finish off the last of our stash.  Remember don’t underestimate the power of pig tails.  Cute scouts sell cookies!

 

For more posts about Girl Scout Cookies click below

The New Season

A Girl Scout Cookie Thank You

For how to build your own cookie booth click here

Visiting the Mouse – Part 4

Part 4 Time to pack/hunt; things I brought from home…

You probaly have most of these items around your house already so there is no need to spend an additional small fortune on these items.  The key is to find them and set them aside in a designated place so you don’t forget them when it times to pack your bags.

You’ll need a good backpack (our son’s small LLBean one was good enough for the 4 of us.   We had to pull it out at every bus stop and bag check so pick a durable one.)

Large carabiner clip, like really large, mine is called Mommy’s helper it held 2 adult water bottles.

2 regular (2in) carabiner clips for attaching hats, hand sanitizer and kids water bottles to the stroller.

Mickey & Minnie ears (previously purchased).  I will say looking back the ears with the pretty veil was kinda cumbersome as they would blow around and get heavy on her little head and get in the way of certain rides.  Also you’re never to old for mouse ears so pack yours too.

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Time to have some fun pulling out any Disney themed jewelry you owned. It worked well because than my daughter was hunting for a new charm as her self-purchased souvenir.IMG_5556

Glow sticks, are super helpful for parade events, not getting your stroller tripped over as everyone leaves the fireworks display.

Water bottles for each person that could be clipped to stroller.  We used Nalgine as they did get bumped around every time we closed the stroller.  Make sure they are strong and close tightly.  You don’t want it to spill all over your autograph book.

Extra charger for cell phones and cameras.  Disney offers free wifi but, you use a lot of battery power snapping all those pictures and referencing the Disney App.

Pennies to toss in fountains- Disney than collects the pennies and gives them to a charity of the Cast’s choosing.  Don’t need a ton just a few.

Magnet to stick to hotel room door so we could quickly find ours and others traveling in our group.  Our dog passed away just a little bit ago so he’s become the private family signal.  I ordered this free from Shutterfly with a coupon.  Please don’t put a family photo on your door or pictures of your kids for safety reasons.  img_1017

Cup holder/sling came with stroller was very handy.  I also brought our own attachable one which was nice for the extra storage.IMG_5787

There are of course tons of other things that you can toss in your pile, just keep your eyes pealed as you move about your house.  I also use this method for my kids birthday parties.  Make a note to yourself to remember where you have hidden your stash.  🙂

 

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Special Adventures

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

Part 4 Time to pack/hunt; things I brought from home…

Part 5: Final Countdown

Part 6: Here We GO!

Part 7: Playing in the Park 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

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? 

 

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…

Cookies on the Move

A Girl Scout 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 3: Time to Shop things I purchased ahead of time…

Part 4 Time to pack/hunt; things I brought from home…

Part 5: Final Countdown

Part 6: Here We GO!

Part 7: Playing in the Park 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned