Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lea Turns Three!

This past weekend, we had Lea Monster's third birthday party. I have to say, things didn't go exactly as planned. Half of our guests came down with the dreaded hand foot and mouth illness running rampant this summer. That aside, the girls had a great time. We had lots of kiddies pools and water activities set up along with all the great items I have been blogging about this month. I will be hosting a Little Mermaid themed giveaway in the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, enjoy the pics below and the happiest of happy birthdays to my sweet Lea!

Water guns and bubbles were everywhere!

A party needs balloons

I found this mermaid pool and couldn't resist picking it up

Scared faces at Ursula

The pinata was a hit even if the kids couldn't break it without our help

Get her, Zoe!

Water fun!

Singing her favorite song...she's been waiting all year for this!

Melted messes with beautiful toppers

We ended the day with a big girl bed and new Ariel sheets...someone is happy!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Getting Ready for a Mermaid Party: Chasing Fireflies Review

I can't believe Lea's birthday is only three days away! This party officially starts off summer party season since we are booked with some sort of party every weekend for the rest of the summer. I have been looking everywhere for the perfect stuff to give my baby an under the sea bash and I recently stumbled upon Chasing Fireflies which has some of the most upscale kids party stuff I have seen. Chasing Fireflies has a little bit of everything: costumes, toys, home goods, and tons of personalized items. I happened to find their "Magical Mermaids Party" collection and fell in love!

This nautical preppy collection is adorable, no? I had already ordered some traditional Ariel items to really show my #disneyside, so I decided to get some less typical items to spruce things up a bit. Here's my Magical Mermaids haul...

This preppy pink and green starfish party bucket retails for $38. It is made of a heavy metal material and only available at Chasing Fireflies. I plan on using it to hold glass soda bottles we bought for refreshments.

Thankfully, it is going to be sunny on Saturday! These crafts were perfect just in case items. I'm sure the older girls are still going to have a blast making shell crafts and mermaid jewelry though and it will be a nice addition to their goodies from the party.

These are my fave! I got a set of dolphin plastic cups with straws for the kids to drink from. These are so cute and something the kids can bring home and use time and time again.

This hot pink starfish snack tray adds just a touch of grown up glitz to an otherwise kid filled fiesta. I also got some mermaid favor boxes which I will use to have the kids put their pinata goodies in.

Chasing Fireflies has so many great themes for parties and most of them are unique and non-franchised ones. I will definitely be checking them out for Zoe's party in the spring. Check out some of my other favorites:

How adorable is this farm party?

I need this kitten party in my life...especially the chair covers

A girly sleepover theme gets a glam makeover

Kinda already have this art theme in mind for Zoe

Chasing Fireflies also has an INSANE costume line for little ones. Right now you can save 15% off costumes through August 1st. using the code TREAT13 at checkout (sorry Disneyholics, Frozen is not included in the sale...but their Anna coronation gown is still def worth it!) Check out Chasing Fireflies today; I'm definitely happy I did!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's all about the details....

When planning any party, I think it is all about the little details. Luckily, in the world of Etsy and Ebay, finding unique little details to add to your parties is a breeze. I thought I would share a few of the special little handmade (albeit not by my hand) details that will be at Lea's soiree. The mermaid party is a mix of traditional Disney Little Mermaid stuff and then other cool mermaid finds. I found some great Ariel favors over at The Party Daddy.

The top two photos are of Ariel paper straws (who doesn't love a fancy straw?) The bottom photo features the same glittery Ariel on a small bubble wand. The kids will love playing with these this weekend. The Party Daddy has some great Frozen inspired stuff too like pre-filled goody bags!

Maybe for my birthday?
One of my absolute favorite details for the party is the fabulous cupcake toppers I found at RoyGBivs Embelishments:

These things are absolutely nuts in the amount of details that they have. Can you see how each tail is carved with scale like details? They are cut out of individual pieces of a cardstock like cardboard and each one is different in terms of color or small they make me want to sing Daughters of Triton really bad!

I cannot wait to show you all how these look on the cupcakes....if I learn how to frost properly before the party that is.

Both of these finds are going to make Lea's party just a little more special. I also think supporting local and small businesses is so important. Check out links for both shops below to find some extra special party stuff at very reasonable prices.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Etsy Finds: Sassafras Accesories

As I've been planning Lea's third birthday party, I have been looking for anything to make the day extra perfect. Since she is such a girlie girl, I thought she would love something fancy to wear. I stumbled upon the shop Sassafras Accessories on Etsy and the shop owner Sheila is great at making visions come true. I explained to her that we were doing an Ariel birthday and she said she could definitely make something Ariel inspired for me and boy did she ever:

How gorgeous is this necklace? The colors are so Ariel and the detailing is immaculate! I've been debating whether I can get away wearing this on daily basis, but I have managed to save it for the birthday girl.

Sheila has tons of great Disney inspired items in her shop that any little princess would love to have.

A glass slipper bracelet

This crown won't give you a Frozen heart

A Sofia inspired piece

Sheila has graciously offered one reader a $25 credit to her shop. Please check out her shop on Etsy and enter below!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Brand Obsessed: Adorkable Apparel

So, I'm a bit of a monomaniac lately. If you don't know what thing I am obsessing over, you haven't been reading my blog enough...tsk's MERMAIDS! I am a huge fan of Traci Hines, a.k.a. The Hipster Mermaid.

Traci is a super talented singer and cosplayer whose obvious specialty is all things Ariel. Traci even launched a fashion line to share her #disneyside with all of us. Adorkable Apparel features super cute tees and tanks that pay homage to The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan (another Disney obsession of mine.) I though one of these shirts would be perfect for me to wear to Lea's party, so guess what came in the mail this week?

I love this shirt! The tank is a great shade of green with a picture of a dinglehopper, not fork, on it. How cute is this for the mermaid aficionado? Definitely check out Traci's line and some of her other work below.

The new Mersister line

Andrew Ducote...a.k.a. Spieling Peter rocking a Pan inspired shirt

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Etsy Finds: #Disneyside Ursula Water Balloon Toss do I love thee? I rank Etsy as one of the main things that steals time away from my day. I can browse for hours, looking for that something just right to bring an idea to life. Recently, I have been looking for things for Lea's mermaid soiree which is fast approaching. As I mentioned before, Lea loves Ursula. One day while searching for my baby's favorite sea witch, I stumbled upon the shop Apples4Bookworms by Ashley and this:

You've got your looks...your pretty face...

Holy sea witch! This my readers is a balloon toss. That's right, you get to hurl water balloons at this dastardly villain before she goes and steals your voice. Lea is going to lose it playing with this. Ashley handmakes all of the tosses and they come shipped in a tube, fully laminated, and they come with a package of water balloons. Ashley the owner loves creating what she calls "teachable moments" since she is a former teacher and now a stay at home mommy.

Ashley from Apples4Bookworms loves sharing out teaching ideas, crafts, and birthday party ideas!
Etsy, and shop owners like Ashley, rock for allowing party planners like me to be able to find unique finds like this Ursula game. And guess what....Ashley has decided to give one reader a balloon toss of their own! You can pick from any of her balloon tosses so they fit any party you may be planning. Here are some of my other favorites from her shop:

Enter below and while you're at it, tell me in the comments below what disney villain would you love to pelt with a water balloon? Good luck!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Easy Substitutions: Oil Free Vegan Cupcakes

Today was the hubby's birthday. We have been trying to eat as oil free as possible since Alex is a big follower of Dr. McDougall, so he asked me to make oil free cupcakes for him today. Luckily, substituting for healthier alternatives in baking is a breeze! I started with a box of my favorite vegan cake mix and looked on the back for how much margarine it called for.

This mix called for 1/3 a cup of melted margarine. I replaced that with 1/3 cup applesauce. Applesauce is a virtually unnoticeable replacement in baking; the only real change is that it makes a slightly more dense cake. I used the water as called for and mixed it all together giving me a thick cake mix.

I baked as instructed on the box, and 14 minutes later, voila! Healthier cupcakes!

While those cooled, I got to work on my frosting. I made a very simple frosting using 2 cups of powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and almond milk to the thickness I wanted (I never measure with frosting since a caterer friend of mine once told me powdered sugar reacts differently depending on the air moisture any given day.)

Alex bought me these cool natural dyes the other day from Whole Foods. 

I've been reading a lot about how bad food dyes are and I want the girls to avoid them as much as possible. I went a little easy on these, so my resulting color was very pastel. Next time I will be a little less nervous to add more color.

All in all, I was happy with the look and thrilled with the taste of these cupcakes. Not only did they taste great, but they really were a way healthier version of a birthday staple. Hope you can make these substitutions your own...happy eating!

Lea approves!