Sleeping Beauty a 4th Birthday Party

Most every 4 year old dreams of being a princess, and mine was no exception.  “A dream is a wish your heart makes” according to Cinderella but sometime those dreams can become a reality when your godmother is a party planner and your mom is willing to throw in some fairy dust.

Thanks to our friend Julia at A Little Bee Told Me, invitations were fit for royalty.

Where shall a princess and her friends play?  But in a bouncy house castle of course.  Having a birthday in May and a yard with lots of green grass allowed for us to spread out and fill the yard with fun.  Every year we cross our fingers for good weather and just as a princess wants our princess got a beautiful warm and sunny day. 

*I just love this picture the princess and the king giggling over static hair.

We had just moved into our new house and with such sparse amounts of  furniture; it worked out making the perfect space for a royal banquet table on our screened porch.  Accented with pink and yellow everyone dined on pizza and anything with individual packages.  Juice bottles that had sleeping beauty tops were available for all.  Wooden pink pails were filled with applesauce, fruit snacks, and yogurt tubes.   Wooden pails are available for purchase thru my Etsy store.  The pink ones are now used in her room for holding, hair elastics, jewelry and personal care items.  Click here for shop listing. 

The birthday girl requested cup cakes for her friends and I was happy to oblige, again individual packaging.  Moms love individual packages for 4 year olds; it’s easy they are less likely to spill it and they won’t take one bite and ditch a whole plate full.  The beautiful cake for the family party was made by Mad Hatter Bakery, and cookies shaped like the number 4 were made by my mom.

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Another parent favorite is leaving presents for after the party goes have headed home.  At this age they are often distracted by one really cool gift and everyone else is left watching their wrapped gift just sit and wait.  Also sometimes feeling of friends can be hurt if their gift wasn’t their favorite.   We always try to ask if there is a gift that the giver would like to see them open for example grandparents, or guests from out of town.  If you choose to wait they can be opened later that day or even all week long allowing you to know who each was from, and enjoy the gifts as they are opened.

IMG_6642Each royal guest decorated a pillowcase with fabric markers and puff paint.  We did our craft at the beginning of the party and hung them to dry; so by the end they were safe to take home.

A dream come true to all and a special little girl that will embrace being the magical age of 4.  Let’s stop here little girl and not grow up anymore.  love, Mom.

 

 

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Visiting the Mouse – Part 7

Part 7: Playing in the Park

What fun and busy days we had.  We aimed to be at the park for opening each day and earlier, as we were, on property guests.  Most days we made it; some days it just wasn’t in the cards and we were there shortly after the gates opened.  Still each day was packed with all the fun the Mouse could offer.

 

MAGIC KINGDOM:  So magical.  Nothing beats the look on your daughter’s face when she sees Cinderella’s Castle for the first time.  I’m so happy I had read, to make sure I position myself to capture this picture

EPCOT: Never disappoints.  It was the Food and Wine Festival when we were there and it made even the adults smile ear to ear.  Still one of my favorite fireworks displays.

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HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS:  Rides, rides, rides.  This is where my favorite rides are.  The older I get the more I LOVE real rollercoasters.  The Aerosmith one is a blast!

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ANIMAL KINGDOM was tons of fun for the older kiddo who enjoyed the Wilderness Explorers hunt.  We grabbed a book at the front and used it all day long.

 

DISNEY SPRINGS:  The girls split off from the guys for an afternoon at Bippity Boppity Boutique at Disney Springs.  I’ve heard that both locations are great; the one at Cinderella’s Castle is harder to get into, but as first time visitors we had a great time.  We than caught up with our guys for dinner at Disney Springs for an unforgettable evening at Gloria Estefan restaurant called Bongos Cuban Cafe.  One of the dancers took a liking to my daughter and would come get her every 20 minutes and get her a front row seat to the show and even let her lead the conga line.  The service was on point.  Note: if you want to talk to those in your party ask for seating outside otherwise enjoy the show.

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We poured our kids into bed every night but every moment was worth it.  We had very few melt downs as we aimed to be prepared for the crash.  Our double stroller saved us on more than on occasion when they just needed to crawl in and fall asleep while we waited in lines.

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Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Bonus Section: 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 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

Kid’s Valentines

Let’s get cute and creative.  A small gesture of love, friendship and kindness are what valentines mean to me, if you get them in the mail or at school.  School valentines can be simple and sweet.  I’m a big fan of non candy ones cause well my kids are still working on candy from halloween.

Most schools request that the valentines be non student specific, and if candy it be store bought in packages so parents can make the call on whether or not to allow their kiddo to have it.  We always goes with a blanket message of “To my friend” “from…” Which than allows each kid to write their own name.  It is a great assignment for those pre-school students and those need the extra practice on fine motor skills and writing.

These are some of the ones I’ve done over the years.

These cute little heart containers were easy to find at our local grocery store and 3in bags did the trick.  Click here for the free printable heart beat tags. There are two kinds one for friends and one for teachers.

 

Bouncy ball were tons of fun and the colors made them super appealing.  The practice cutting and writing was great for my little one.  Creating Really Awesome Fun Things really came thru for me with the free printable.

 

This was last year; as according to second graders click pencils were so much cooler.  A printer, some washi tape and we were done.  For the free printable click Heart Beat Pencil Tags

 

Also thanks to PluckyMomo.blogspot.com. These were on tab for this year.  Small 2in bags and festive stamps from the dollar spot.

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As I look back I realize we have done tons.  Look for a second post with more ideas.  Feel free to share what easy and fun ideas you do for your valentine.

 

Click here for more Valentine’s Day ideas.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICKEY

Visiting the Mouse – Part 6

Part 6 Here we go!

Had to post today because it’s Mickey’s 90th Birthday!

We decided that we wouldn’t tell the kids until that morning and let them figure it out; the crafty girl in me was dying.  I was dropping hints like a crazy lady!

For dinner each night leading up to our departure I had to toss some Disney Magic into each meal.  Served rolls in our Mickey towel,  pizza the night before featured ears.

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For a few days leading up to our trip I started wearing all the Disney jewelry I owned.  and my mother-in-love and I split a pack of Jamberry Nails featuring Mickey and friends.  IMG_5556IMG_5559

I laid out my daughter’s clothes this week so she wore a sweater, that was knit by my grandmother for my brother some 25 years earlier.

The night before, I told them I got them new pj’s, that just happen to be covered in Mickey and Minnie, Shhhh.

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I had ordered sweatshirts ahead of time and we put them in them; in the wee hours of the am to keep them warm.  As my husband said, as we were in the shuttle to the airport, someone might blow up our spot, but no one did; I think they all enjoyed  playing along too.

We’re here! Let’s go, I’m so excited!  The older one still hasn’t figured it out 🙂

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Happy 90th Birthday Mickey Mouse.  Can’t wait to come visit you and your friends again soon!

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Bonus Section: 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 7: Playing in the Park 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

Thanksgiving Time

Gathering friends and family around a table for a break from the daily routine and grind is a welcome season in our house.  After 4th of July, Thanksgiving is my favorite.  Are you looking for simple ways to keep things festive, fun and stress free.  Start by deciding what type of Thanksgiving you are going to host a buffet or sit down.  Divide duties from there.  Everyone is usually happy to help so don’t feel bad for dividing up the work.  Our assignment last year was kid friendly place cards, the centerpiece, and some desserts.

Using toilet paper tubes we cut them in half and pulled out the construction paper.  Off we went to tracing hands.  The kids loved this part and since they have different sized hands they fit perfectly fanned out as feathers.   A little glue and a marker and we were done.

Center pieces don’t have to be crazy massive or over the top, unless you want to go that route.  I chose to go with a pre-arranged beautiful piece last year.  I was drawn to this arrangement because it was all in a cornucopia.  I realize that my monthly decorations are not as vast for Thanksgiving so I love items that can be repurposed for the next year.  This cornucopia could be saved and used again as a floral arrangement, or mantle piece.

Let’s talk culinary talent.  My mother-in-love found this butter made in the shape of a turkey.  Well above my pay grade and skill set. 

Let’s talk pie.  Each family has their own traditions when it comes to dessert.  We always have an apple and pumpkin, from there it just grows.  Favorites include maple walnut cake, pumpkin cheese cake, chocolate chiffon, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, and some turkey shaped sugar cookies.   Yum!

 

With less than a week til Thanksgiving what’s on your family’s dinner table that is unique or special?  Share below.

Visiting the Mouse – Part 5

Final Count Down You’ve made it you’re just a little bit away.  You’ve done so much good work, now you’re finally starting to get excited.   A few last things to put into place to make your trip easy breezy.

img_8104img_8105Strollers -Which would you rather roll in for the day?  Photo credit: Mom Endeavors. Kingdom Strollers worked out to be awesome for us.  I booked a city mini double.  It arrived clean, on-time and was great.  My 6 year old enjoys ridding and it was so much easier to just have both kids sitting safely when navigating crowded parks or late at night.  It was nice using the stroller from our hotel room door and back.  The park strollers have to be handed in prior to park departure where as we would keep ours as we stood in line for monorails, trams, and busses loaded with sleeping children.   The 2016 pricing for a double was $18 a day for Stroller Kingdom and $27 per day for the Disney stroller. (Note that if you keep your receipt and are using a park hopper you can show it at the next park and get another stroller.)  Also if your hotel is along the monorail you’ll never have to remove sleeping kids just roll them on and roll them off.  A note that if you have 3 cuties you might consider the Bob Stroller.  You can tuck a 3rd on top of the third wheel when all 3 start to fade on you.

We had a small insulated cooler, that came with stroller company’s rental; super helpful

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I placed an order for groceries from Orlando Grocery Express for room delivery… order at least 72hrs in advance. Use coupon from an order with Stroller Kingdom for free delivery.  Our order included…

  • Sandwich size Ziplock bags (ice for cooler, unfinished snacks & toys)
  • Diapers, if necessary
  • Wipes were so helpful for diaper changes and messy fingers/spills.
  • Individual peanut butter
  • 1 loaf of bread
  • 8 bananas
  • 1 package of granola bars- avoid chocolate they melt.

We would have ordered more but because we were up and out every day and back late we weren’t really hungry than.

I did bring peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, bananas and random leftovers from previous meals into the park to ward off the 10:30 snack munchies.  I also spent the extra money on individual packaging because whatever wasn’t used I packed in my suitcase and brought home.

Each morning we would toss in some ice from the hotel ice machine into a ziplock and toss it in the soft cooler.  We would also load up our water bottles with ice to help keep things cold.

credit cardsCall your bank and credit card companies and put travel notices on your accounts.  Nothing more frustrating that arriving for a week of fun and being frozen out of your accounts.

Plan out any final details, who’s going to watch the dog?  How are you getting to the airport? Do you need a house sitter to grab your mail and water your plants?  Having your plan set, even if only in your head.  It will make your trip smoother and more enjoyable for all.

 

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 6: Here We GO!

Part 7: Playing in the Park 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

In the Thick of School Days

I hear it often you’re so organized how do you contain all that school art work, parent letters and permission slips?  It’s no secret it’s a lot of work.  Welcome to October, you thought you had a handle on it and than you realize…

1. You’re new to this game

2. There is just so much

3. Now you’ve added another child

4. You’re overwhelmed

5. All of the above.

Just like a new calendar year; back to school time can be a chance to get ready for new routines, clean out new spaces and start again. I try to start in August with a clean slate and designating appropriate spaces, but sometime it takes me til October.   Designate a space in the garage or perhaps right inside the main door.  You know your family will dump their stuff might as well make it a functioning space.  

In our house it is time to prepare the space for those little ones to display their hard work.  We have the following area set up juts inside our garage door next to the kitchen for my kids and I to hang our favorite pieces of work.  I borrowed the ideas from 2 friends of mine.   The first from a military mom who knew all the good ones.  The two black frames are lil’ Divinci frames (don’t get the knock offs, not worth it)  They each open and can be hung in either direction or use the screw insert to make them table top frames.  The top glass is on a hinge and can open to add more pieces of art work.  Each frame holds 50 sheets.  I have one for each kid.  They come in two sizes so get what works best for you.  The second was from a crafty mama who ordered the wall decal for $5 from Amazon and added the string.  My kids can choose whatever they want to add here but in August it get cleared off.  (These frames made awesome Mother’s Day gifts for the grandmothers one year.)

This is where they display their favorites and it gets cleared each August. There are only a limited number of clothes pins so they have to learn about what really is worth hanging and what they will let get tossed. And I can Frame my favorite (one per kid) they are called lil Davinci frames. Each holds 50 sheets of art work. I figure when my kids stop with making all the art work I’ll still have my favorites to rotate them. Also we’re great grandma gifts but don’t get knock off springs aren’t as good for holding art


I also am a big fan of capturing their art work that won’t fit in these frame by snapping a picture and using one of the many apps or just a folder on my computer to store these special pieces.

I have series of command hooks inside our pantry closet.  The top hook is for school calendars, meal calendars and special rotations. I used sheet protectors and a key ring.  The second and third hooks are given one per kid.  This is a place where they keep homework, permission slips and important info for that week only

I have also seen this hanging organizer from Thirty One designs.  Again a nice place to have a command center, or family calendar.  Our family also operates off google calendars.  I gave each child when they were born a google email account and use the calendar feature.  So we have one for each kid, one for each adult and a family account which is nice for all the school emails, troop or sports club emails etc.  Each of these calendars is color coded and loads into the calendar feature on our phones.  It helps my husband and I communicate on where we or the kids will be as well as which location the kids are at.  I try to always include directions, notes, reminders on things to bring such as when we’re the snack family or it’s our turn to do carpool.  It looks overwhelming but is easy to sort by day, person, activity.  I would truly be lost without it as it’s in real time and can be pulled up anywhere.  googlecalendar-hero

Have a little fun preparing for school and enjoy the season of growing and learning.  Please share any ideas you use to make your morning and school year a little less crazy.

 

For more of my Back to school posts check out…

Back to School

Creating A Work Station