Leila just turned 7 and she requested a Moana birthday party to bring out her Polynesian pride. I was happy to do that for her and I’m happy to see her embrace her Tongan roots.This post does contain affiliate links. Thank you to Oriental Trading for sponsoring this post.
Oriental Trading provided us with all the Moana gear. I didn’t want to go full on Disney, so I held back on a few of the licensed images and created some of my own. I found some images of Maui online and printed them on Tattoo Paper from Expressions Vinyl. My Cricut could not read the registration marks on the paper because of the sheen so I just had my husband cut them out. These fun flamingo drink holders held a bucket of flower candy, sunglasses, a pineapple sucker and a crepe paper hibiscus flower for their right ear. I made chocolate lava candy using candy melts and a pyramid silicone tray. Just place the brown candy melts in the tray and microwave until they’re melted. Let them set and then pop them out. In a squeeze bottle add red candy melts and squeeze over the top to simulate lava.These pineapple cups were all the rage. The girls were obsessed with them. I used a mini grass skirt for the wrapping around the table. Each of the girls got a mean slice of cake and devoured it with their wooden forks. I placed the forks on their own faux palm leaves which add the perfect island touch. The cake was a MESS! I let it stay out of the fridge too long and it got too soft before I put the faux moss on it. It was a store-bought cake and I used this recipe to make the cake look like Te Fiti. I found these Pop figurines from Michaels and the topper is from My Minds Eye and I got it at Zurchers.I decided to pre-make some slime so I didn’t have to deal with 10 girls getting dirty. I used some foam slime ballz from Flora-Craft that I got from them and I used their easy recipe. I grabbed these dollar jars from Michaels where they had the rest of the slime materials. I added some stickers from some Moana clipart. We had a water balloon fight and the boys had to retire early cause they forget girls can’t take that force. The kids had so much fun at this Moana birthday party. They left with lots of goodies and they left with one of my favorites, this pineapple filled with jelly beans.
Nothing is cuter than the book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, learn how to make this farmhouse baby nursery art inspired by the book.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you to Cricut for sponsoring this post.
I love Malakai’s nursery decor above his crib. It’s eclectic, kind of farmhouse and it’s all the right tones. For this project I’m going to show you how to make this ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ baby nursery art sign using your Cricut Explore. And I’ve include the .png for you to save to your computer and upload it to your Cricut Design Space using this method. Let’s get started!
First, prepare your wood surface. I used Rustoleum stain in Driftwood (it is now called Sunbleached). It’s the perfect neutral grey and I used it on my Hair Pin Leg DIY Side Table. I then added my base color to the inlay of the wood. I wanted my monster to be light so I painted the base in Ceramcoat Charcoal. Next, you’ll cut your image using the dial setting on vinyl. Using your weeding tool, peel up the monsters body. It’ll leave behind the lettering and that’s what you want.
Next you’ll adhere your transfer tape. I love the Cricut transfer tape because it has a guide on it to ensure you get an even image transfer. I use my scraper to press out the bubbles in the transfer tape. Once your base coat is dry, place the vinyl image where you want it to be and be sure to press extra good while the transfer tape is still over the vinyl. This will ensure that you get a good seal and no paint will seep down. Once you have the vinyl where you want and it’s sealed down onto your wood, slowly peel up the transfer tape. This will now expose the area of the monster that you’re going to be painting. For this color I chose Ceramcoat Quaker Grey.
Before you paint your chosen color of the monster, take the extra time to paint your base coat over the area first. This will give you crisp lines and will help to avoid any bleeding. After the base color had dried over the monster, apply your desired color. I used the stippling method to apply my paint because I wanted a rough texture. Almost mimicking fur. Now wait 20 minutes until it is completely dry before using your weeding tool to remove the vinyl from the wood. I decided to sand it a bit for a rough texture but this is completely optional. I also sanded around the edges of the frame to expose some of the wood.
This goes so well with Malakai’s wall. I’ve listed the sources of the other art below for your reference.
I also love the versatility of the Cricut Explore Air 2. Not only does it look good in the minty green but it’s so functional for daily uses. We recently made Siaki a MLK, Jr. poster board for his biography report. He loved it and so did I because it was so easy.
Leila and Penny are the best of friends and they can laugh for hours on end. I don’t think they’ve ever fought, ever! We had a get together at my mom’s house and the girls had so much fun having family game night, alone, while their brothers played by the fire pit.We started with unwrapping the Hedbanz™ Electronic and I love that it comes in its own case that holds the cards and also has the ability to hold the Hedbanz™ Electronic bands. My previous experience with Hedbanz™ was positive but there was nowhere to store the items neatly. The Hedbanz™ Electronic solved that.Leila and Penny were able to play the three essential ways –
Ask “Yes” or “No” questions
Act it out
They were also able to utilize the five questions that is included with the Hedbanz™ Electronic. The questions were easy enough that they were able to read them on their own and the pictures included in the Hedbanz™ Electronic were so clever.As you can see by their expressions, they had so much fun together. I think that’s so essential for family game night. Include games that all ages can get involved and include all those who want to be included. When kids get older, they seem to not want to do family game night. I always try to find games that include older and younger kids. Hedbanz™ Electronic is the perfect game for all ages and it has you act silly which is a smile maker.We had so much fun having family game night that we left it at our Grandma’s so it can be played every time we’re there. To purchase Hedbanz™ Electronic on Amazon, go here. Now tell me, what is your favorite game for family game night?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Each of my children have their own Amazon Fire Tablet that I was able to score last year on Cyber Monday. It was the perfect gift for each of them because I mainly wanted it to keep them occupied for a fraction of the price. I want to share with you the best FREE learning apps available though Amazon Underground.Many times my children have downloaded apps that have cost me money, a lot of money that I wasn’t happy about. Now I know that with Amazon Underground, they can download apps that are actually free.I’ve compiled a list of FREE apps that each of my kids use to help them with school work and help them with their problem solving. I’ve separated it by years for Elementary aged children that will help you as parents make the right choices on what is the most appropriate free app for them.
Kindergarten – Elmo Loves ABC’s
This app allows the child to trace the upper and lower case ABC’s. You can track your child’s progress and see how long they’ve used the app. It comes with fun coloring pages to learn the colors a little easier and you can watch Sesame Street videos.
First Grade – Endless Reader
I love this game for my first grader. She can touch a work and it makes the noise that the letter sounds like and you find the matching one. It’s a lot of fun and it gives you a silly scenario at the end of what those words and sentences mean.
Second Grade – Math Run
This app features subtraction, addition, multiplication and division and it features them in games. It is a timed game and gives multiple choice answers and if you get it wrong, you stop running.
Third Grade – Third Grade Learning Games
This game actually comes for all grades but this one for third graders is perfect. It has a variety of subjects the kids can choose in math and language arts.
Fourth Grade – Planet Genesis
Any child who loves Star Wars pretty much loves space. This app shows kids the difference in the sizes of the solar system, teaches them the planets and you can do gravity simulation.
Fifth Grade – Geo Expert
Fifth graders are all about learning the states in the USA. This app helps identify states and their capitals to help with all those state reports!
Sixth Grade – Roblox
There are a lot of games available through Roblox and my kids love it. I figure by time they’re in sixth grade they should at least have a little fun sometimes. This gives them the options to choose what game they’re interested in that day and the opportunity to make honest choices if you tell them to choose a good game. 😉Leila also loves to play ABC Mouse which does require a membership but it has been worth every cent. She’s learned new techniques for sounding out letters and it’s helping her form her words better. She’s also a preemie baby born 10 weeks early so she needs a little extra help catching up to her classmates.
All of these apps have helped my children in so many ways. I love that educational apps are a thing and that they’re so advance. Remember though, Amazon Underground is only supported on 5th Generation (2012 – newer) and newer Fire tablets, and Android phones.
Learn more about the Amazon Appstore, the Amazon Underground catalog of 100% free apps & games or to get access on your Android smartphone visit HERE.I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.So Malakai is almost one. I cannot believe it. We’ve come so far from his days in the NICU and it almost seems like it was someone else’s life. I’m so glad he is healthy and strong today but we do have a ways to go. I want to share with you the best Fall baby boy fashion to grab at one of our favorite stores.
When Malakai was in the NICU, the best preemie clothes we were able to find were at Carters. Their original bodysuit is something that I’ve used with all my kids and have found it to last longer and it was more durable than the ones you grab off the shelf at the supermarket. For the preemie clothes it gave my son the sense that he wasn’t a hospital patient. He was dressed so cute like a baby should be and the clothes actually fit his tiny body. Most premature clothes are wide and short. The Carters preemie clothes are close to the skin, give them actual designs on the clothes and were soft enough for them to be comfortable.
When Carters asked me to grab some items from their new Fall line, I was excited because of how much of their items we already own. However, being a baby photographer is not my thing and I think Malakai fell over 5-6 times. We went to our local pond and changed him a bunch of times into the cutest baby boy fashion you’ve ever seen.When choosing a wardrobe for a baby, think comfort. I think some new moms don’t realize how often they’ll be changing a baby and how accessible a baby’s bottom needs to be for diaper changes. I love to get packs of the original bodysuit and always have a layer under my babies regular clothing. I also love the comfy pants that Carters has to offer. I also grab their Sleep & Play jammie’s but I try to stay away from the fleece. Because Malakai was a micro-preemie, he over heats a lot. He cotton is plenty warm for him and it does the trick. It’s also an experience thing when trying to figure out what works for your baby. Go ahead and try new things and see if it works for your family. Carters clothes are so comfortable for babies and it makes a big difference in how they feel staying in certain items all day. Softness and durability are key when looking for baby fashion. There are so many fads going around and while they’re all adorable, you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it for them to wear for a short amount of time for the money you’re spending. From my experience it’s all about comfort and sustainability which Carters clothing fits into those categories perfectly. When I am looking at baby boy or baby girl clothes, I want something that will last and that will also not break my budget. There are very few things that I find are actually worth spending the big bucks on like soft sole shoes and a good baby carrier.Carters always has great sales and you never have to pay full price for anything, ever. If you’re on their email list, they send you coupons all the time. They also have a reward program and the best thing is is that it’s all traceable in their system so you don’t have to go digging for the previous receipt. We love Carters clothing for our baby boy but I was especially appreciative that they had the best preemie clothes on the market. Use the coupon below for more savings!To find your nearest Carters, click here and to get it all shipped to your home, click here. I’ve loved working with Carters and I know Malakai is as snug as a bug in their new Fall line.
Carters is also having a Pinterest contest called ‘Pin Baby Pin’ and you have the chance to win a $50 gift card by just uploading your favorite Carters baby’s first look to Pinterest and submit your link here. Contest ends 9/26/16 and 75 lucky winners will be selected. Good Luck!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FallIntoClean #CollectiveBiasI am terrible at cleaning, my kids have seemed to follow in my footsteps. Money is always a great motivator and it helps teach them financing at the same time as well as responsibility. Now that school is about to start, I need to get them back into the routine of helping out. My main struggle as a mother is keeping my kids motivated to want to help under my supervision rather than just nagging them and almost forcing them to do something they don’t want to. I’ve come up with these FREE printable chore charts for you to frame and hang in your home so that it’ll give your kids some accountability. I’ve marked each category with a reward system to indicate what they will earn once they’ve completed that list. The harder the jobs – the more they’ll earn. I’ve also left some blank for you to add whatever you’d like and I also didn’t specify and so it can easily be customized for your family. Supplies
Dry erase marker
Reusable sticky strips
Each paper has two lists attached sized at 5×7″. Cut the lists down to size and frame. Add your reusable sticky strips to the back of the framed list and hang wherever you think is easiest for your kids to know what chores need to be done. Keep a dry erase marker nearby so that they can mark off their duty. I have four kids but three are old enough to do actual chores. Each of these lists contains things that each of them can do. They can choose to do it together and split the reward or they can decide for themselves if they want to do it alone.
For each of these chores, I also have them use some of my favorite cleaning products, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day®. We grabbed them at our local Whole Foods Market because Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day® will donate $1 for each product purchased for the first 25K items to Whole Kids Foundation. Whole Kids Foundation will use the $25,000 donation from Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day® to support edible learning gardens and salad bars at schools which every child can learn young to eat healthy.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OREOTHINSideStory #CollectiveBiasBless my kids – they try so hard, I try so hard and never live up to any of my expectations and I feel like I never live up to theirs. They’ve endured a lot these last 12 months from a pregnant mom and a sick baby brother, they deserve to have some fun time with me but it’s really just a ploy to get them to help me out. I’ve compiled some summer trends in nail polish because we need to look good when we don’t feel good. I ‘suckered’ Siaki and Leila into polishing my nails while I just sat by and ate OREO Thins and life was good for ten-minutes again.We headed over to our Kroger banner store, Smith’s and grabbed the polish and OREO’s in one visit, that’s why I love shopping at Smith’s. Malakai was in his saucer toy – being content – and although it was just a moment, it was a good moment and I’ll cherish that I got to spend it with my three youngest children.Now on to color trends…pastel everything is in. I love the mix of the muted pinks and purples but my favorite is the mint color of nail polish that’s been popping up everywhere. You also can’t go wrong with metallic but copper and rose gold are the new black and gold. Go out of your comfort zone, get ones that you normally wouldn’t try and give yourself an update. You never know which one of the new ones you’ll love. Add some glitter to your routine and make the sheen different. My favorite combo is matte and the muted lavender color. OREO Thins are available in more flavors than ever so check them out at www.oreo.com/thins and tell me which one is your favorite, I love mint. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below and good luck!
This post is brought to you by our friends at The Baby Cubby.Diaper bags are so hard for me to get right. I’ve had several through the years and I finally made the perfect choice with the Ju-Ju-Be Be Classy and guides like this one from The Baby Cubby helped in that search. I’m going to be answering questions that I’ve often wondered about in how to pick the perfect diaper bag. I’d love to hear some of your feedback as well.How many pockets will you need? You definitely want one or two on the exterior to hold your bottle. I like that the Ju-Ju-Be has insulated pockets so that you don’t have to take a separate insulated bag to keep your water warm. I also like them to be easily accessible for everyone involved. If you have to dig through your bag just to find the bottle, it’s not worth it. On the interior it’s great to have 2-4 more so that diapers, medicine, Copper Pearl bandanna bibs and pacifiers all have their own dedicated space.
How large should it be? I am a big bag lady – not the Erika Badu kind – the larger the purse is, I’ll buy it. I personally think that no bigger than 18″ on the base is really needed when it comes to diaper bags. You want it to be large enough to carry all your essentials and yet easy enough to carry.
Should I get the backpack or purse style? I prefer backpack style so that your arms are free to do the heavier duty things. Backpack style bags are great for traveling and walking around but it’s a little harder to keep on if you don’t have both straps around each arm. Purse style diaper bags are great for convenience. Their zippers are easily reachable and you can grab and go and not worry about other straps dragging on the ground. Look for a purse style that has a strap that can be added to convert it into a tote, I think you’ll love that.
What will I put in it? Your life! It’s so important to have the little things available when you need them and you’re not always going to be home. I like to stock up my bags with at least 10 diapers and a pack of wipes. I always have an extra change of clothes on hand because they’re babies we’re taking care of. I also keep some medicine and always a spare pacifier because I lose those all the time. I’ve already lost 4 pacifier clips and I’m surprised I haven’t lost my baby…yet. What material is best? I go for a material that I know will not get holes easily (that’s obvious) but there are so many options when it comes to material it just is really about preference. I’ve had a real leather bag that to-be-honest wasn’t worth spending all that money on. I have a faux leather backpack style one and I do appreciate that one because the pleather is on the inside and out. I personally prefer the Teflon protection that the Ju-Ju-Be bag offers. It’s easily cleaned and it has my favorite ‘crumb drains’. You have no idea how much you’ll use that feature. Get one that can be wiped down or washed easily, that’ll make life so much easier than having to walk around with a giant stained bag.
Should I buy a gender-neutral bag or go all in on patterns? When you invest in an item, you want it to be timeless. The same thing is true when buying diaper bags. Get one that suites your style and can be carried by both you and your partner. Get one that most people can’t tell it’s a diaper bag. You’re already tired from having a baby, you might as well feel like your style is somewhat amped up with a stylish bag.
How much should I pay? I would rather pay once for a good quality bag than have to buy 2-3 bags at $50 a pop. You end up getting the one you want in the end anyways. Be sure to try it before you buy it. Don’t be afraid to see if there is a local boutique that carries the bag and try and bring what you think you’ll carry in it to give you an idea of functionality. If you buy online like I do, be sure to buy from a company that has a good return policy and don’t throw anything away until you’re sure it’s the right one.
Will I use it as much as I think I will? Answer for me was yes. I did opt for the neutral patterned bag and so I use it as my purse and my diaper bag at the same time. Look for bags that serve a dual purpose and ones that have places for mom, not just baby. Be sure to get the style that you will like as in the tote style, backpack style or purse style. Get one that you actually want to carry around and your investment will be well used.