The New Switch Witch Tradition

IMG_3983I LOVE Halloween!  I really do!  But I have a child who is sensitive to dyes.  As in after her daddy let her have a few dye filled candies yesterday and I let her have the treats (orange cupcake, cheese balls) that her dance class provided, today she had a screaming meltdown which lasted over an hour.  The whole time in Michael’s, 30 minutes in the parking lot trying to calm her down enough to get her in the car seat, all the way home and 20 minutes at home.  I thought a guy in the parking lot was calling the cops on me because she was screaming so bad as I tried to put her in the car seat. It was awful.  So no more.  I can’t take it. Absolutely no red dye tomorrow.

What is a Halloween loving momma to do for her Halloween loving daughter?  Enter the new Switch Witch tradition.  I went to a couple of the dollar stores and got a cauldron and a handful of toys, hair bows and games.  Before bed I will have her place her trick or treat bag on the kitchen table in the witch’s cauldron.  In the morning all the candy (I’ll let her keep a few pieces of chocolate) will be replaced with the prizes.

I think it will be a fun way to keep the candy out of her hands.  There are several ways to take care of the candy.  Several dentist offices do have programs where you can exchange the candy for dental supplies and/or cash.  I’m sending mine to a friend who is currently deployed.

Full Disclosure:  I didn’t come up this idea on my own.  I read about it somewhere and thought it was a great idea.  A big thank you to the genius behind it.

The Latest Halloween Trend – The Mash Up Costume!

Glee made Mash Up songs into a delightful art, my daughter will be tackling the Mash Up Costume.  Seriously!  I am betting next year Mash Up Costumes will be all the rage.  My toddler is such a trendsetter.

It started so innocently.  She said she wanted to be a bat for Halloween.  I sighed a big sigh of relief because I was positive she was going to want to be Peppa Pig and I thought a bat costume would be so much easier than a pig costume.  Then I found the world’s most adorable pig costume for $8 at a thrift store.  I thought I could convince her to be Peppa Pig but nope.  She still was insisting on being a bat but I had already bought the pig.  So we compromised.  I found this brilliant tutorial on a bat wing shrug over at My Poppet!  A bat wing shrug!  And that is how my daughter has become Peppa Pig dressed as a bat for Halloween.

Pig Bat

Pig Bat

 

This morning she informed me she now wants to be a mermaid.  I said NO!

What do you think would make a great Mash Up Costume?

In what can only be described as a stroke of genius, my husband decided that for the costume party he will be a pig and I will be a bat.  Get it?  I’m so excited this year.

Green Kid Fall Discovery Pack

I’ve made no secret of my love for the Green Kid Crafts monthly boxes.  The Green Kid Crafts boxes make great gifts for children (and parents who are worried they aren’t creative enough) or splurge on the subscription for your monthly dose of fun, education and engagement.  The Creativity and STEM Science box provides all the hands-on material needed to inspire creative and educational fun for kids 3-10.  For an exclusive sneak peek of their fall boxes, go here.  Must order by 8-31-2014.

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I have gotten the September Weather Science box before and loved it.  We still use the weather station and cloud identifier window.  My daughter will love the October Legends and Folktales.  She is constantly telling me she is a queen and will enjoy making her own crown.  November looks promising with gift ideas your kid can make.

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Full disclosure:  I am an affiliate for Green Kid Crafts.   If you click through my site and purchase, I might get a kickback.  However, I would recommend these boxes even if all I got was a wave and a “How do you do?”  The opinions are mine alone and if you doubt I have strong opinions feel free to contact my husband.

I Love Green Kids Crafts!

#ad Affiliate links in this post.  Opinions are totally mine.

I love Green Kids Crafts!  This is the most amazing monthly subscription box I’ve gotten in the past few years.  It is a small green box delivered monthly geared towards ages 3-8.  There are so many things I love about these boxes.  For the record, my daughter is only 2.5 and we love doing these boxes together.

Green Kid CraftsThere is a theme.  Our first theme was weather and included a weather chart, a cloud viewer to distinguish the different cloud types and a wind sock.  All simple but intelligent crafts.  All the instructions are easy to follow.  Open the box and let the fun and learning begin. I admit science is not one of my strongest areas of knowledge.  These boxes make me look like a science genius to my daughter.

Green Kid Crafts

The main thing I love is they truly stand behind their green stance and even the box has a use!  One month the box could be used to show how to cook things in the sun and once it was able to be turned into a cash box complete with toy money.  There are usually ideas for the plastic as well so there is basically little to no waste generated with this product.  LOVE!!!

For ONE week only (3/13-3/20/14), you can save 40% on your first month of any new subscription to Green Kid Crafts!!  Use offer code 40FIRST at checkout when ordering 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions.  Your subscription will start with an all new Feathered Friends Discovery Box and will ship around April 10th.

Green Kid Crafts is a mom-owned company that uses only planet and kid-friendly materials and donates a portion of every sale to environmental charities.

Green Kid Crafts

 I am a Green Kids Affiliate and may receive compensation for your purchase.  I would recommend Green Kid Crafts if I only got a hug for someone buying one.  They are simply that awesome!  Do you love doing crafts and science experiences with your kid?   This is totally the box for you.  Get it now!

Perfect Birthday Party at Hunter Cattle Company

I thought long and hard before I decided on a location for my daughter’s 2nd birthday.  I wanted to be able to invite all of our friends, even the ones whose kids were not my daughter’s age.  I wanted it to be family-oriented.  My husband’s co-worker group is made entirely of non-Americans and they all tend to do everything as a family.  It had to be something my daughter would enjoy.  She loves animals!  I researched the Savannah area and picked what I thought would be the perfect location – Hunter Cattle Company.  It was a place for all ages of kids, plenty for the whole family to do and full of animals.

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Activities included a petting area, egg gathering, games and a wagon ride into a pasture to feed pigs.

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I made my daughter a scrap and ribbon skirt to go with her cowboy boots and John Deere t-shirt “Peace, Love and Tractors.”  A highlight of the wagon ride was getting to pet baby pigs.  The little guy I was holding was not a fan of my daughter and the feeling was mutual.  She carried a kitten around for 1/2 an hour as I was setting up, walked the chicken coop saying “Hi!” to every single chicken, walked a goat around on a leash and even kissed a goat as you can see above but she wanted nothing to do with holding a baby piglet.  I, on the other hand, could have held that baby all day long.

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 The only glitches in the day had to do with the cake.  I got this amazing cake from Just Freshly Baked in Pooler, GA.  I picked it up and brought it home.  My husband went to transfer it from my car to his because I feared the cake and my toddler were not a good match in the same seat.  He tripped and dropped the cake.  Yes, my beautiful and awesome cake was a hot mess!  In an effort to save the cake and our marriage, he picked it up and ran right back to the bakery.  Not only did they fix it, but I think it looked even better.  I loved her cake.  I can not recommend Just Freshly Baked enough.  They won my heart and business in one day.

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Then we forgot a lighter for the candles.  Never fear!  You can always find a light on a farm.  Best way to light candles ever.

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I was lucky one of my friends is a talented Savannah area photographer, Minibird Photography.  She captured these shots and many more.  I like to follow her work via her webpage with its great blog posts of various sessions and on Facebook, Minibird Photography.

Everyone at the party had a blast including my lucky and happy 2 year old.  I would highly recommend Hunter Cattle Company for your next party.  They also  have a store selling fresh, organic, hormone free meat and other great local products, or you can find them at most local Farmer’s Markets.  Consider Just Freshly Baked in Pooler for your cake needs.  Just Freshly Baked has amazing cookies, cupcakes and donuts.  For energy while I was setting up my party, I had grabbed a bacon and maple donut when I picked up the cake.  It was awesome!  If you live in the greater Savannah area or if you plan to visit Savannah, consider booking a photography session with Minibird Photography.  She does amazing work.  We are already signed up with her to do our Christmas session on the beach next month.

I love parties!  This farm themed party was a blast!  What has been your favorite theme for a party?  Do you have a horror story of something going wrong at your party?

Full Disclosure:  I was not paid or asked to share my opinion about this event.  In fact, most people were paid by me for their services.  I felt the whole experience needed to be shouted from the rooftop for its awesomeness.  You are welcome.

Can I be Crafty?

I’ve been spending my 40th year asking myself once a month Can I be…  So far I can be a Travel blogger if I’m not attempting 19 states in 20 days with a 10 month old, I can be organized if by organized I don’t have to pass a Peter Walsh test and I can be a Fitness Warrior even if I can’t workout because of a sprained toe.  For October, I asked Can I be Crafty?

Why, yes!  I am a crafty little bugger.   I blame my mom.  I come from a long line of crafty women.  We can all sew, paint, knit, crochet, cross stitch and tin punch.  Some have mastered stain glass, ceramics, quilting and felting.  Growing up surrounded by talented crafting women was inspiring.  I remember I was not into Barbie until I realized I could design and sew her outfits to wear.  Another favorite project was building dioramas with shoe boxes and cardboard.  Somehow in my twenties I broke my crafting bone.  I would start a dozen projects but not complete one.  It seems along the way I changed.  What was my problem?

One of my favorite paintings by my grandma.

This month as I was working on my daughter’s Ladybug Birthday party I realized something huge.  I’m afraid of it not being perfect.  I struggled to make the tutu because I feared it might have imperfections.  I stressed over the reusable snack bags as some women do over their outfits.   What if little kids point their fingers at me and laugh?  What if dogs pee on me?  What if all the women gather to gossip about how awful my crafting abilities are?  What would Tori Spelling think?  What happens if I make it and it sucks?

I cautiously knotted together her tutu until I had an adorable ladybug tutu.  There were a few knots which weren’t even.  Guess what happened.  Nothing!  The world didn’t stop.  The craft police didn’t show up to confiscate my glue gun.  Tim Gunn wasn’t knocking down my door to forcibly remove my sewing machine.  The fact of the matter is I’m the only one who cares!  You want me to really blow your mind?  Other people are more impressed I even tried because they are stuck in the afraid of imperfections mode.  I’m their freakin’ hero!   I strapped on my ribbon tulle belt complete with glue gun, fabric scissors, crafting clue and a ruler.  I was going to craft.

A painting I did as a child before the fear of imperfection and before we found out I was partially color-blind.

I felt so good about the successful Ladybug Birthday party I hosted a Pinterest party.  It was a blast and I will have the post up about it next week.  I can safely party and say I can be crafty.  I think I will go make another board on Pinterest to find inspiration for another Pinterest party.

For the month of November, I am asking Can I be Financially Thrifty?  So far, I’ve had my bank card info stolen and a rough budget meeting with hubby.  It might be my first big failure month.  However, I am excited to announce I have a guest blogger with some Money Saving tips.  Her first post will be up Monday and is about Coupons.  I’m not very good at using coupons but I did save $9.00 with two coupons last week.

Are you crafty?  Do you have a closet full of 1/2 finished craft projects?  How do you throw caution to the wind and just craft?

The Birthday Party Pinterest Built

Technically I built everything but Pinterest is to blame.  When I was thinking about Baby Bug’s 1st Birthday the only theme which made any sense was Ladybugs.  Have you ever seen a Junebug?  Those things are ugly as hell!  Ladybugs are much cuter.

Note:  Due to the nature of how Pinterest works and the worry of stealing the credit from someone else, I am linking directly to the blogs/websites I went to after first seeing their work on Pinterest.  I feel it is only fair to link directly to their site and make sure they get credit for the idea.  However, when I went to write this article I found most of the links were broken or not properly giving credit to the original pinner.  If you see your idea and I didn’t link to you, I am sorry.  I tried.  Send me an email with the original link and I will gladly link you up.

I got a little tutu happy.  I made tutus for our girls to wear and for each of their high chairs.  It was quite easy.  I did two different methods.

For the highchairs I used ribbon and tied it up in the back.  A method I saw over at Always Under Pay.

For the girls, I used elastic and followed the advice of Mom Dot.  Luckily my vase was about the same size as my daughter’s waist.  I did black on the bottom and red on the top.  I was going to add black pompoms on for the perfect ladybug effect.  However, I knew I couldn’t glue them on in fear the girls would take them off and eat them and the thought of sewing on a billion pompoms by hand was unappealing.  Two-toned tutu is was!  Working with glitter tulle is awful!  Everything will be coated in glitter for months.

I loved this birth to 1 year in photos banner I saw at Hostess with the Mostess.  I made my own version with little ladybugs.

Of course, I had to have the photo booth.   I found great outlines for the props at Oh Happy Day and Lyana MK.

The Backdrop!

The props!

My silly friend and me!  Princess hats and mustaches are all the rage.

My husband made and decorated Baby Bug’s smash cake.  I got the Ladybug Cake Pan
off Amazon.  It was a carrot cake which was gluten/diary/wheat free except for the icing.  Baby Bug loved the cake but not the frosting.  She did enjoying playing in the frosting.

We laid down several mats for the babies to crawl around on. It was a big hit!

To start I got on Pinterest, opened a board for her birthday and begin pinning away.  So many ideas.  It caused me to drink on more than one night.  I do believe Pinterest successfully helped me give Baby Bug the best 1st birthday ever.  One of Baby Bug’s best friends is a few days older than her.  Her mom and I decided to have their birthday party together since we have so many friends in common.  We rented out a pavilion at the local park and had some fun.   Part of the gift bags were reusable snack bags I made with fabric designed by one of my best friends.  I will post about them in a separate post.

If you look at all those pins and think great idea but I can never make that – > don’t!  I’m proof these ideas can come to life.  What was your child’s 1st birthday party theme?  Have you had success using Pinterest to build a party?