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.

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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

Visiting the Mouse – Part 2

Part 2 Time to Plan & Book Your Fun at Walt Disney World

There are so many important dates to remember, it is easy to get lost.  Make sure you put these big ones in your calendar as they do approach so quickly.  This is a long post but filled with tons of information as I didn’t want to leave anything out. 
Photo credit cruisegetawaydeals.com

We called a Disney meeting in the backyard during the summer which included dinner, drinks and a movie to keep little ears away.  We laid out a grid with thoughts as to a game plan each day and what park we’d like to go to when.  We all came with some homework done as to which park had the late night when, and what shows or special events were happening on which day.   This was everyone’s chance to get their must do’s on the board and to do our best to make it all fit.  We sat armed with cell phones, My Disney Experence App and computers so we could all look up a variety of questions that arrose.  All in all we talked for over an hour trying to make sure we didn’t leave any request or information off the list.   I will say, start to become familiar with the app as it is truly the most helpful tool while in the park once you dump all your data in it. It is linked between family members, reminds you of fastpasses+ and reservation as well as things you’ve marked and possible. 

Special Adventures – Bippy Boppy Boutique & The Pirate’s League both can be booked 180 days in advance.  The Star Wars Jedi School at Hollywood Studios can only be booked for the day of by the parent & CHILD being present when the gates open, sometimes as early at 7am. All of the special adventures are such great fun.

There is just so much information when looking into special adventures at Walt Disney World.  In the hopes of not overwhelming my blog post here, I decided to break this out into an additional post which can be found by clicking here.

Dinner Reservations – Can be made 180 days in advance of arrival.  Book all character meals first as those fill the fastest.  I’d personally recommend at least one meal a day where you sit and relax to dine.

Fast Passes+– 60 Day prior to arrival.  Book ASAP they go so quickly.  Pick the 3 important things for your family each day and make sure those happen. It might be a sit down meal, seeing a princess, catching the fireworks, or a thrill ride. Know you won’t get to it ALL but a good plan helps see lots.  Plan the use of your passes in a logical direction noting where  you need to be for meals.  Don’t use passes for the first hour of park opening you’re likely to get on a ride in short order and you will have wasted a fastpass+ booking.

PhotoPass Memory Maker – I went against my better judgement and did not order this ahead of time. The package is available at a discount before you arrive but goes up the closer you get to arrival date. It is a such an easy and great program.  They snap some great photos, scan your bracelet aka Magic Band and they appear instantly on you phone with the My Disney Experience app. When you get home you can download them a bunch of times.

Strollers -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, ontime 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.)

Groceries If you book Stroller Kingdom first you’ll receive a coupon for Orlando Groceries.  You have until prior to 72 hours before arrival to book and guarantee on time delivery.  My grocery list will appear in a latter blog post.

This only represents our trip there are tons of suggestions out there.  Have fun and enjoy the journey and adventures of Walt Disney World.

 

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Special Adventures

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

Visiting the Mouse

Part 1: Research & Booking your trip to Walt Disney World

In November 2016 our family went on  a trip to pay homage to the Mouse.  We planned an awesome 5 day 4 night trip for 2 adults, 2 kids (ages 6 & 2.5) 1 teen (age 17) and 2 grandparents (who well, could have been considered teens themselves; they went on so many rides).  This only represents our trip; there are tons of suggestions out there on the internet.

Have fun and enjoy the planning.  Do not let it overwhelm you, as it can easily, but enjoy talking to friends, family, hunting thru blogs and talking to the people behind you at the grocery store.  Everyone will have had a different trip, but take all the pieces and create your own.  I created a Pinterest board and my mother-in-love and I had a bit of fun pinning all the ideas, must dos, and suggestions to it.

Do your homework there are always packages out there.  We researched online at AAA and Disney direct.  We went with AAA cause they had better pricing.  We booked flights separately as we used our credit card points and frequent flyer miles.  If you book your flights separately be sure to give this information to your travel agent as they are able to link your itineraries together.  This will eliminate any gaps, or misinformation between your travel and your Disney experience.

You will only have access to booking the Disney meal plan when you book your room and tickets.  You can’t add it on later, so know if you want this option.  We took the meal plan and it worked well for us.  It’s a sit-down, quick service, and snack each day.  We had a small soft cooler and zip lock bags and squirreled away food that wasn’t eaten within the meal time for later.  Think college days in the mess hall.  All transactions are done thru your magic bands for meal plans and room charge purchases (i.e. bottle of wine at dinner, meals not covered in the Disney meal plan, souvenirs etc.)  Sometimes the meal plan is free depending the time of year you are booking.  If we had gone a week later they were offering it as a promotion.

There are never discounts on park tickets (only FL residents)  I’d say just get passes for every day.  Even if you spend a whole day at the hotel pool, you can go into the park for dinner and fireworks.  I think it would be hard to pick which day you’re doing fun in the sun poolside and not buy passes that far out without a weather report.  There is one park that is open late each night.  It rotates so grab a schedule and plan from there.  For us the Park Hopper was a must.  This additional charge isn’t cheap but allows you to go between parks within a single day.  We would go to one park for the day and than cross over to another for dinner and fireworks.

We booked our flight for early in the AM.  We left our house at 4am and arrived in MCO at 11:30am.  We were in our room at the hotel by 1pm.  We took advantage of the Disney Magic Express which is the free bus service from the airport to your hotel.  With this service your luggage is handled by airport employees and than Disney Cast members (they aren’t called staff or employees).  You won’t see it or have to pick it up in the airport upon arrival.  They do say it can take up to 3 hours from your arrival time to when your bags arrive in your room.  We chose to take naps and unpack taking time to get settled before we  hit the parks.  We had dinner early at our hotel at 5pm and went strait to the late night park for fastpass+ rides, character meetings, and fireworks.  Worked well for us.  It was a week day so the fireworks started at 9pm and we were back at the hotel and in bed by 10:30pm.  Where we all crashed.

Learn some fun facts about the time of year you’re planning.  Mickey Mouse’s Birthday is November 19, 1928.  What type of weather or crowds are expected?  What holiday will the park be decorated for?  If in November you can get an awesome Christmas card photo without a lot of work.  Arriving at the same time as Santa?  Ship your items already wrapped via Amazon or set up delivery for your hotel.  All deliveries are held at the luggage room so you don’t have to worry about little people walking in on them at the wrong time.

Remember this trip, if it’s your first time, can be overwhelming so seek help, support, and enjoy the process and excitement.  Happy planning and by the time you get home you’ll be in love with Mickey Mouse and planning when you can go back!

 

Blog posts coming soon…

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Special Adventures

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