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.

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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

Bonus: 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

Princess Party Time

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So I just couldn’t do an Elsa party… I just couldn’t.  My daughter wanted one and I couldn’t swallow hosting or attending another Queen Elsa party.  I was able to talk her into Frozen but with a twist.  I was able to get her to name her favorite colors, she said  “pink and gold”.  With a little twisting we arrived at a Frozen Lemonade Stand.

I can’t begin party planning for anything without this amazing find thanks to my friends at Childhood 101.  This KIDS PARTY PLANNER is my first printout, I use to do it on scrap paper, but why do that, when Christie has laid it out so much nicer.party image

Now that’s she’s older an evite will do.  Nothing over the top just used pink and yellow to tell friends to come and play.

I hunted around the house for any pink, yellow and some “Elsa” blue items that we already had.  (It really helps that my company colors are blue and yellow)  Came up with some lanterns, parasols, tissue puffs, and a few great free print outs from Melissa at DesignEatRepeat.

The hard part was building an actual lemonade stand.  We spent an afternoon with the internet and picked out a bunch she liked.  I wanted something that would have more than one purpose.  It is made to be a general stand so it can go in the playroom to be a store counter, grocery store, or anything they can imagine.  It is also small enough that it fits in the truck so when they are older they can actually use it as a lemonade stand curb side. The stand is now available for rent, check out details by clicking here.

   

I channeled my inner Pre-K want-to-be-teacher and we filled the lemonade stand with a full stock of pretend goodies, lemons, ice cubes, pitchers filled with duplos and foam to be lemonade, wooden spoons, and a cash register.  This became the entertainment for the afternoon with friends.

Centerpieces were easy and will find another life after this weekend.  I bought lemons and dumped them into clear vases.  This whole thing makes me giggle as all I can think of is Jennifer Aniston in the movie “The Breakup” when she wants to make a 12 lemon centerpieces and her dear boyfriend only buys 4.  Again my sister came thru for me and made some rocking flower arrangements too.

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What’s a party without cake?  This is where Elsa comes into play.  Because we can never have just one event there are a few variations of cake.  We hosted a small family party, the day of, and a friends party.

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Of course we served lemonade in both flavors.  We also hit our our local Del’s Lemonade for some frozen yumminess.  After the kid’s party ended we added some adult versions of Del’s for those that stayed for the afternoon.

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 Some of my favorite party details included.  Table settings and decorations.  At this point I’m past party favors that hit the trash once you get to the car.  These will hopefully be used, enjoyed and than no longer kicked around our friends home.

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Again another wonderful party, weather, friends and family.  I do love a good party but golly they can be a lot of work.  Until next year.