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Friday, January 17, 2014

Doc McStuffins Birthday Party


To be completely honest this may be WAY easier to do now, but let me tell you back in last May (2013) there was little to nothing out there for Disney Jr's "Doc McStuffins" so I'll let you all in on how we pulled it off without all the pre-made Doc business out there.

We had complete frustration and not only on my end but for those party goers that wished to get the Birthday Girl a theme related gift item. We had a few doubles, but she didn't care, it mean't shopping for her. We actually had four "Big Book of Boo Boos" at one point. I'm sure it bugged her guests a little. But like I said there is a lot more out there now so this may be not even close to an issue for you. So, if you are on a budget or just want your child's part to be a little different this may be a blog post may be of help.


First off I owe our regular Guest Blogger, Yajaira Preciado a big acknowledgement. She made these awesome treats and centerpieces that tied right in to the theme. Which I should expand, the theme was clearly "Doc McStuffins" but we also choose to do Doc's wardrobe colors pink and purple to add and polka dots here and there. I'll explain more on that after I walk through Yajaira's contributions.

The treats, the pretzel thermometers and the waffle cookie band-aids  I believe were inspired from something we found on Pinterest when searching for "Doctor" or "Nurse" party. Really simple but were a huge hit and were very tasty.

The pretzels were store bought and then dipped into melted white/vanilla candy melts (can get in Micheals). Once that set by laying on a sheet of wax paper, she then applied the melted red candy melt with her choice of pipping instrument. Once again let it set then pipped black candy melt into lines and a cute Riley message.

The "Band-Aid Waffers" were store bought sugar waffle cookies, vanilla, the color closest to band-aids. She just piped on a little pink candy melt as hearts in the center and once again added a message on the other side (once set that is). I found another band-aid idea on Pinterest which was cool, but more of the real, kind of gross feel and not what we were going for at all. Feel free to click the link if curious.


As for the centerpieces, I wish I had pictures to show you as the process goes but I'm sure you and your craftiness should be able to follow along. First things first, materials! Wooden skewers/dowels. Paint (color of choice). She did one purple and one pink. Glitter foam sticker sheets, typically at Dollar Store, but also at any craft store. Embellishments, these were of the scrap-booking variety. Ribbon, though you can go without, the polka dots on this just tied especially in. Styrofoam discs. Last but not least some computer print outs of Doc and whatever extra message you want. The 5 I believe came pre-cut on the sheet she bought, but you can always exact-o what you need. She printed out the words and a page size Doc image on photo paper of a thicker variety so it could stand and not fold. Cut those out. Paint your discs and skewers with the paint you chose. Once dry, hot glue cut ribbon around base. Cover the meeting seem with embellishment. Hot glue cut outs to skewers. All set? If so stab your disc with the wood and try to think center and balance so it's easier to keep standing. You can always add some hot glue, but she keep them so I can remove the wood on transport.


I also owe someone else a little extra appreciation, the wonderful lady I ordered Riley's one of a kind shirt from, Tiara at Sew 4 u Boutique!


It came out awesome and not only did she have this one for her party, but she also made a Lambie one for her big Disneyland Birthday Day! So go "like" and look at her stuff! Oh, an don't forget to let her know who sent ya. ;)

After knowing what the "Doc Riley" was gonna wear it was time to get to work. As I said, I could not find ANY thing in the stores, but I did find lots of cute purple and pink items.


Of course I started my search by hitting the Dollar Store once I knew Party City and what not didn't carry any Doc related items. Dollar Store had this great purple and pink Happy Birthday...Princess banner. LOL! Actually it was really perfect cause the only place that had the princess item was in the center where I already planned on needing to add a little "Doc McStuffins" to. Steps for that was super easy! Cut off princess crown (leave the top line where the words attach). Add "Doc McStuffins" print out on photo paper with cute Duck Tape, no evidence of item previously there.


While there I picked up the table covers, serving dishes, and plates, napkins, and utensil deal. All mixes of purple and pink but clear where I thought I could reuse, mostly when it came to the serving bowls and dishes. You may notice that I attempted to make the puffs again, you can see on Pirates & Pixies Party how I did it. This time I just mixed my color tissue in each puff, I was able to find both the pink and the purple tissue paper needed at the Dollar Store.


If you are wondering about the photo of Riley with her Lambies and Doc in the background, well it was actually just a cell pic I took of her on a sick day in bed. On Paint.net (don't be fooled, the actual site is not paint.net, click the link) application I just the background out and pasted it on top of "Doc McStuffins" image I found on Google.


Next made a trip to Walmart, found the best matching pinata! And got the odds and ends, but sadly they were lacking in the Duck Tape department. But Micheals always fills in the gaps.


I used the Duck Tape not only for the banner but went this route on the water bottles this time around, I was far to lazy to type up, print out, cut up, and glue labels on the water bottles this time. Though I still felt it wasn't too my crazy standard to leave the ugly water bottle labels alone.


Not to bounce around, but back to the pinata...it was a HIT! Lol! Get it, a hit!? Sorry, I'm a nerd, ya I know. I tend to avoid adding just candy fillers. A few small toy things and plastic jewelry goes a long way and kiddos seem happier. While I'm discussing what the guest kids got, though I don't have a photo I did make goody bags. Fun Doctor-ish related stuff, notepad, pencil, magnifying glass (plastic ones from Party City), and band-aids. Of course I also ordered some "Doc McStuffins" stickers off Ebay. The fun bigger ones that children get when good at the doctor's office. Also had some other random typical stuff, but hope that helps get the thought process going.


Beside the pinata we also had another game planned for before we all wandered outside and a few little entertainment areas set up to keep the kids happily engaged. Also helps that there was a huge television to play "Doc McStuffins" DVD on.


We had a ton of fun doing "Stick the Nose on Chilly!" Seriously, the kids enjoyed it so much that some kids wanted repeats, the ones that weren't worried about being blindfolded and spun around that is. ;) Very simple. I bought a big white poster board (less then $1 at the Dollar Store). I already had all the sharpie colors on hand that Chilly required. I studied the show and Google searched pics of him. This one was the easiest pose and I believe it was inspired from a coloring sheet found online. If you are really artsy inclined I'm sure other characters, like Pickles would work, but I went the easiest way. Plus, this fit with his character, since Chilly always thinks somethings wrong with him. LOL! We just used those tiny circle stickers for the nose. Got those garage sale label type stickers from Walmart, Staples wanted nearly $8 for them which was just crazy! Sooo much cheaper and way more perfect at Walmart. One parent helped me out and with a thin sharpie wrote each kids name as I guided the previous kid. As a prize the winner just picked out of my mix bag of goody bag leftovers and each kid got their pinata bag for finishing so no sore feelings.


I had the whole Doctor part set from the moment kids arrived. On the invitations we encouraged each guest to bring their favorite stuffed animal to join. As soon as they walked in the door I was there to greet and put a "Hospital Patient Bracelet" on their toy. Just labeled each with "Doctor ____'s" so I could say it was their patient and avoid anyone losing their item. You can find plastic closer to the real deal online, but we went for the paper ones so it was much quicker.

To continue the playing Doc, I had set up a little table with chairs for a hospital clinic area. Area was ready with Doc's Check Off Lists attached with clipboard and tied on pen. Inside the two plastic tubs were plastic doctor's tools. We found them for $2 at Toys'R'Us but since then have seen them at Target in the $1 bin section. We bought enough to also spread them out on the guest tables as centerpieces. In addition to that we had ordered a box of doctor breathing masks, just to be extra fun.


Here's a close-up of the center item hanging above the clinic area. I tried my best to replicate Doc's "The Doc is In" sign. Just a little glue, tongue depressors, markers, crayons, and string. I used one of the Scotch hanging hooks because I didn't want to damage the wall and no way was gonna be permanent placement.


The other station I had set up was for coloring. What kid doesn't love to color? Well Disney Junior's Site is  full of printouts so go nuts! All it costs you is ink and paper. I also had my daughter do a few extra to add as decoration to the fridge. I also found this Doc McStuffins Tot Pack thanks to "1+1+1=1." Those make good goody bag stuffers as well.


Of course no party is complete without a birthday cake! We got very lucky with this and got a hold of the last "Doc McStuffins" Figure Play Set from the Disney Store. 1) I'm sure there are more now. 2) You can always order online, but I was kind of frantic and down to the wire. Another great thing about the cake is it's just a Costco cake! So don't quote me on this, but from what I've heard from a few of their stores is that if you have a simple request and they have time...and maybe you ask very nicely the bakers may be able to do something like this for you. I just added the toy decorations once home. Sometimes they can give you extra icing if you request to attach such items, but her's were just perfect size so none needed.


Hope your party is much of a hit as her's was! We would love to hear about it! Feel free to add pics of your party or comment below! :)


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Legoland California - Thoughts & Tips


So I noticed there wasn't many things out there when we were researching to surprise our little one for a "Holiday Snow Day" trip to Legoland. Also during Riley and I's first trip there we missed like half of my to do list just getting confused. It's not like Disneyland where everything is linked so it's easy to miss things, so here's some things we have learned during our recent visit.

First & foremost: NEVER pay full price for a ticket! There seems to always be a special. May need to search online, hunt down a cereal box, or a can of soda but there are always cheaper ways in.

Next, as mentioned above, this is not Disneyland! Even on it's busiest days it's nothing like the craziness of that theme park or even Sea World's. It is totally possible to do everything within a day during off season, which seems to be any time that isn't summer. This park has shorter hours and during off season and are even closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so plan around that. We almost tried for a week day to avoid crowds which later seemed pointless in our worries and also not really possible since they weren't even open, lol. Instead we arrived just a few minutes before opening and were done and out of there about 2 hours before the park was to close (5pm that day). All was accomplished even a few repeats, park play times and a buffet lunch with time to spare. *Though I may mention we skipped a few things that were for the older crowd and one ride was closed for refurbishment.


Seems like most of the real Holiday fun was going down in "Fun Town." Here's a link of the activities and where to peak at: Snow Days Entertainment Guide. One item in the center of the town is what is being said to be the "World's Largest Lego Christmas Tree." When it came to the snow fun I was happy with how organized the park was. They allowed 10 mins to each group and they raked the snow in-between so it wasn't like the next group was stuck on hard block of slippery ice but some snow to pick up and throw. They had some really cute accessories for their snowman and some fun big Legos for the little ones not quite to the tossing age. I loved that because they did break up into sessions it allowed for sled sliding time if the kid wished. There also was a separate station for snow innertubbing and was pretty fun for the little one, but a pain for me, cause I was the one dragging the tube cause the rolling wasn't agreeing with me and my husband got left behind. Our Riley was much too small to roll it on her own, though seeing her smile and laugh made it beyond worth it. Also a fun little "snow flurry" hits the town, cute even if it's just bubbles. :)


The layout is best to imagine as a big circle with Lego Mini-Town & Star Wars Lego Scenes set up in the middle front. To the front left of entrance is Hopper entrance to their aquarium, Sea Life and beyond that is the toddler friendly zone. If you go right after entering you go to the Lego play areas and on to bigger kid thrill rides up to Adventure Zones. We didn't go far enough to the left or right last time so missed all the fun towards the back of the park, don't do what we did, make sure to see it all. We were much happier this time around. Also don't worry to much about devoting time to Sea Life Aquarium, it's cool but it really doesn't take to long unless you want to sit and stare at each fish for awhile, I would say it only takes about an hour.

There are things for the young and old, but the target audience seems to be 5-12 years. If there's a huge Lego fan or a inner nerd dying for a day of play this is perfect! But the "thrill rides" are on the not so crazy scale and there really is only 1 or 2. "The Dragon" ride is perfect for the little ones that are just starting to want to join in on roller-coasters and very easy on the stomach of those that typically can't handle such things.

Make sure to relax and let your kids run crazy on the playgrounds, it definitely takes a lot of the theme park stress away.

Just in case you haven't looked yet there are a few official Legoland resources and the honestly best one is the desktop Legoland page! By far the most helpful! But, because I was trying to be sneaky about it was trying on the mobile version and for some reason only wanted to list last years info. :/ An as for their app, well it was cool to have the map but it was also a little bit of lack. It lets you "plan your day" but I didn't really get it. While at the park I didn't even bother with it, but was totally over joyed when Instagram worked with no problems! Sounds dorky, but seriously one of my biggest annoyances when at Disneyland when I can't share our fun with family and friends.

As for money, there are cheaper souvenirs available so that is always a plus. You can get $6 or less little Lego packs for example. Some parents have said no Legos that can be found in stores or plan a budget. We stuck to end of the day pick, but if you want they offer kind of like "Pin Trading" a little Lego character trading. There is a store to the left or right when you first enter if you wanna get one and keep trading with employees as your day goes. They keep there's on their name badges so it's just something extra fun if your little one is into Lego characters, I believe they call them "Lego Mini figures" to be exact. Parking for a car is the typical theme park $15. Food wasn't crazy, but it wasn't exactly cheap.


When researching I keep coming across the "MUST HAVE" treat/snack of the park, Apple Fries found at "Granny's Apple Fries." Well, the husband and I were was sadly let down do to the hype. Riley really didn't care that much either. The funny thing is we had went to get it and the snack stand was still closed and actually went back. They kind of reminded us of a cross between apple chips and funnel cake fries. They're like apple pieces cut into fry chunks and fried then covered in sugar and cinnamon with a side of vanilla whip cream deal. They were good, but to say a must have is a little far fetched.


As for food, I'm sure there is a way to bring in snacks and such, but the site says no outside food allowed so we planned on shelling out for lunch in the park. (Though you can get a hand-stamp leave to eat and come back.) The first time I went there with our kiddo we ate at a sports bar kind of place, loved it, loved the food and the price wasn't to bad, but this time that place had been converted to a "Pizza & Pasta Buffet." It was about the price you would guess for  park, but I think it was the best bang for the buck. $15 Adult & $10 per kid. Employees were super friendly and helpful. Pizza was constantly being made so I couldn't really complain. :) It wasn't extravagant and the salad bar wasn't the most amazing, but it definitely meet our needs. The only thing my husband said was missing was like a soft serve ice cream or some kind desert offered like most buffets.

Here's one of the BEST things about Legoland, I felt like they actually cared! For those of you with physical problems or about to do the day with a child with special needs they actually offer assistance. They have what is called an "Access Card." It actually helps and they don't grill you or be little you for it. I feel like this is one spot Disneyland can take notes from. I believe if you have a hearing requirement their site requires a 2 week heads up, but they are really easy to call and talk to. Employees through out the park were not a let down.

It's fun and definitely worth it, but don't stress about not getting a membership, even with our 5 year old I don't see this being a must repeat through out the year, unless we lived closer to it. seasonal stuff may be fun to check out but I don't feel like the park changes that much or holds that much to make it a must on a regular basis. The only thing we didn't get to do that I really wish to check out is the Water Park, one day we're gonna have to try that. ;)

*Thoughts and photographs were completely our own. We were not given anything to visit the park or to write anything about it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's Been A Long Time...

Hello!

           How I have missed you all!!! It has been almost a year! And my updates or blog posts in that past year had been sporadic to say the least. It has been nuts...though that's not a good excuse. That last year was a big transitional year for us. We spent exactly a year living with my mother and grandmother planning our next move and getting ahead of finances. We are very fortunate to have family that we were able to do such a thing. While being there we were lucky to get Riley into a Preschool that allowed us to make some great friends. One set of those friends pointed us to a Language Immersion School that was another city over. Awesome news, our Riley got into that school and because we were in transition we were able to move to be closer to the school. God has a plan, sometimes it just takes awhile for us to figure out what it is. :)


        Now that I finally have our stuff, mostly in place and items on the walls I don't feel as guilty about returning to my blog. All the pinteresting in the world and I still feel like this move took the most time to recover...and I really don't remember having that much stuff! I swear we donated like half of it when moving to our temporary location and another twenty-five percent upon leaving there...JEEZE! 

Well we're back and I hope to not only get some new ideas up here, but also get around to responding to those wonderful folks that left us some questions and comments on previous blog posts.

THANK YOU! Thank you for still following and being all so patient with us during all this chaos.

Love,
Felicia Nykaza
Head Blogger of DIY for Mommies


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston

Normally my blog isn't intended to deal with many world issues or force anyone to beliefs, mine or in anyone else's way. I may mention something in the news and focus in on a micro level, but mostly we're a project based blog, but this post is is a little different and it's because of Riley.


We all are reeling from the tragedy that happened at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Typically our way of handling catastrophes like yesterday's is best to avoid having our daughter hear the news or at least minimization to the point she doesn't hear all the grossome details and casualty reports. I don't mind her knowing something terrible has happened, but I don't want her bogged down with images of horror and voices of panic. We have tiny basic level conversations that something has happened and some were hurt and try to give a "police and firemen are helping those now." But, with what happened yesterday I heard a difference in how my daughter responded, opening up a whole new world of thought for me.

We were caught off guard to a sudden news report so our almost five year old caught a eye and ear full of the explosion and talk of the injured. We didn't have a chance at switching the channel or bracing for a conversation instead instantly Riley said, "That's bad, at least I know Jesus will be there for those hurt and are dying." WOW! That seriously just came out of my not even five year old child's mouth! But not wanting to force her to hear or talk in more detail we just agreed and changed the channel. But I was still impressed at her gut reaction to the horrible event. Of course this morning as we start to prepare for the day she hears even more. In fact she hears that a little boy was lost. She didn't ask me questions or stare at the television, she bowed her head and said a little prayer for him. Immediately bringing tears to my eyes.

As I thought more and more about her reaction I felt more compelled to share. I sat down with my coffee. One window typing away my thoughts of Riley and all of Boston just to get it out before all of it was lost. Another tab I open to my Facebook. Within seconds I closed that. It was just too much. I appreciate that I was able to get a update on some of my friends in the area, one was only 2 blocks away from the event yesterday and I was happy to hear that though she was shaken, she was well, but today's feed was just filled with images of horror. Later I had some push to reopen the tab and this was posted by another friend of mine:


2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT

So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.


Another WOW moment! It couldn't be any closer to how my child was looking at this event and how I needed to turn my focus. Sometimes faith is just more then I could explain.

I wish I could say that I had the same responses as her that I was lead by faith without thought. Instead when I heard what happened it took me many moments of reflection before I could get to that point. An in the visions of the bomb explosion I didn't think of the other side, beyond the here and now, but just the maliciousness of the situation. It just makes me think how some times our children are really the wisest among us and also warms my heart for the direction of her growth. Maybe we're doing something right.

Even if you don't have these beliefs or a faith in something outside of us I hope you get a chance to chat with your child about the situation. Work for open dialogue. You never know what you will hear, also it gives them a extra sense of comfort at home. Not saying to go to them and force them into hearing about this, but let them know you are there for them if they have any thoughts on the event.

Boston our prayers are with you!



*Image from this site not taken by me, I don't own it. I just photo edited it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Washcloth Roses


Not too hard, and it gets easier with each one you do. So may require a little repetition/practice, so be patient and don't stress.


What you need: Your call, but I used a mixture of toddler spoon and forks, but baby spoons are just as good and of course, washcloths! 



If you aren't adding to a cake and want to make a bouquet  get a baby bottle. After this project I found a great Youtube video if you want to peak. She does this pretty similar to me, so don't worry if it's easier to copy that way then going photo to photo, step by step way with me. She also includes the last of the bouquet steps.


This is for a 2 tone rose. Fold each washcloth in half and lay like image above, grab your fork or spoon and start rolling.




It should be looking something like this, a tube of washcloth.





Grab your mid section an pull it's way up and over the top half. The little flap end will end up tucked in and you should be tight, no tape required. 



Now push back the tops of each layer, giving it a petal like look.



End result should be something like this. If your spoons/forks are like mine there's a slight bend to it. If you are adding it to a diaper cake you may want to adjust the rose to the bend. It's easy just grab, close fist tight, and turn the fork/spoon to desired way.


My end product, if you need help with the diaper cake step see this blog post: Diaper Cake. I ended up doing 3 of each color on it's own and 2 duo tone. Used the leftovers to stuff the beanie topper.

Here's the steps condensed if it helps: