Friday, July 24, 2015

Fisher Price Friday - Little People Shirts

Happy Friday!  This weekend I'm back in my hometown attending my 20th year (yikes!!) HS reunion.  I'm feeling nostalgic all around but I wanted to stop by to show the cutest FPLP tank tops that I recently found for my girls.


These sweet colorful tanks have photos of little people on them!  Aren't they adorable?


I found these shirts on Etsy in the shop Dessert First Designs.  Her shop makes lots of different t-shirts and tank tops with pictures of FPLP as well as other cute designs.  Although she mostly has smaller toddler/baby sizes she was happy to make custom size 4 and 7/8 tanks for me!

 

The package came cutely wrapped with free stickers inside, my girls were thrilled!  


I chose the boy/girl design for my youngest because it looks just like her and her BFF.  Don't you agree?


Love Love Love!

For more of my favorite FP themed products check out:


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rainbow Theme Birthday Party - Favors, Food and Decorations

My youngest had a Rainbow themed Birthday Party this year.  To see her Rainbow pre-school aged party games check out my entry here.  Today I'm going to show you the rest of our Rainbow Party details.  

Decorations/Favors:  

A rainbow theme is easy to decorate, you just need rainbow colors!  I bought our supplies at the Dollar Store, Target, Etsy and the Lego Store.


The party favors doubled as decorations.  I bought each child a helium balloon (dollar store) in as close to a rainbow as possible including clouds on each side. :) I had rainbow colored (reusable) straw cups from Target with their names pre-written on them.  They used them during the party and took them home afterwords.  


The reusable cups come with their own (short) straws which I included in the goodie bags to take home.  However, for party purposes I purchased rainbow colored paper straws from an Etsy shop to use instead.  They were cuter and who doesn't love a paper straw?  I cut out little cloud shapes to put through the straws, using a paper hole punch to make a place to push the straw through.

The goodie bags were white bags from Target.  A 10 pack was only $5.  I wrote each child's name on the front and had my girls decorate the bags with rainbow stickers (from the $ store).

Make a Lego Rainbow:

Our favorite but most time consuming party favor was the Make a Lego Rainbow.  I decided a little Lego activity would be fun to send home as the pre-K crowd is getting more interested in Lego, both boys and girls!  I found an image of a little Lego rainbow online and went to the Lego store to purchase bulk Lego in the correct colors.  This was a fun activity with the kids, searching out the correct colors and numbers of blocks. 

The Lego store sells bulk Lego in two sizes, we weren't able to get them all in the small container so we paid $16.99 to fill the large one.  There was space in the container after purchasing blocks for 10 kids, so I let my girls add whatever they wanted to fill up the cup for us to keep.  My birthday-girl picked out dozens of little "eyes" and stuck them on blocks, hilarious!


This is the Lego Rainbow that we created.  


If I had planned farther ahead I could have reprinted the photo of the rainbow to put into each goodie bag as a direction, but I waited until the night before (Ha!) so I hand drew little rainbows on 3x5 cards and colored them in with some help from my oldest daughter.  We included the "instruction" card in a plastic baggie with the loose Lego pieces, that way each child could make the rainbow themselves.  Super fun!

Other Rainbow Favors:

To fill out the goodie bag I added a rainbow art supplies according to the age of the child (paints, markers, crayons or pencils).  Also a small bag of skittles. 


Other Decorations and Food:

The party was in the morning so I kept the food simple.  We had Annie brand rainbow crackers and cookies, rainbow fruit cups, cake and ice-cream and a coffee bar for the grown-ups.  My daughter was very specific on what she wanted for a cake: white, white, white and a little rainbow.  I ordered our cake from Albertsons and added some bright candles.  Now...I could have make a vanilla cake myself but I wasn't up for the challenge this year.  I did make 3 different kinds of organic-chemical free ice cream though, that has to count for something. ;)


Decorations were simple, a Birthday Banner, birthday table cloth ($ store), napkins, horns and plates (Target) and of course a rainbow bouquet of flowers with a Happy Birthday Balloon inside (balloon $ store).  I used my vintage Pyrex rainbow bowls to hold food and prizes.


The rainbow fruit bowls were simple to make and perfect for a morning party.  I selected blueberries, green grapes, pineapple chunks and strawberries.  


This photo doesn't do them justice but trust me, they were delicious!  Double-Chocolate, Vanilla (Haagen Daz copy recipe) and Buttermilk.  It took me 3 nights to make them plus a dozen eggs, 3 pints of heavy cream and lots of sugar but they were worth it!


My birthday girl had a blast!


Our sweet friends.  Such a fun birthday party!  Check out our Rainbow Party Games.

For more Party Themes Check out:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fisher Price Friday - Frere Jacques Pocket Radio


Made between 1967-1968 this sweet little Fisher Price Pocket Radio Music box plays a familiar French tune.  Frere Jacques #778 has a bright turquoise blue box with yellow lithographs and a red strap.

It made a perfect Birthday gift for my 4 year old daughter this week and she loves it!





The top of the box has the older FP logo and the toy number.  I love the yellow, turquoise and red combination.  They pop!



Each side of the Music Box has drawings of musical notes as well as small carryovers from the back picture.



The back has the words of the tune written in English:

Are you sleeping?
Are you sleeping,
Brother John,
Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing:
Ding, Ding, Dong,
Ding, Ding, Dong.


What makes this little music box a little more special than other FP Pocket Radios is that it also has the words to the song on the bottom of the music box, but in the original French.  I love that!



I've added a few more music boxes to my collection lately so stay tuned (haha). 

To tide you over check out the Pocket Radios I've already featured: 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Favorite Summer Starbucks (and my kid's FREE Starbucks choice)


I am quite frankly a Starbucks fan.  Well first I'm a coffee fan and since Starbucks is not only near my house but pretty much everywhere I go I find myself stopping by somewhat regularly.  Especially in the summer when it is so hot-hot here!

Today I wanted to share my favorite iced drinks as well as a fabulous Freebie for the kids.

About a year ago I had my youngest at a Starbucks run with me and the lovely barista asked if I'd like a whip cream for her.  I had no idea what she was talking about so she described it as fresh whip cream in a cup with a drizzle of chocolate syrup on top.  And the best part....it's FREE!!!

Ever since then we have been devoted WC only fans for the girls (ask for "whip cream only" when you order and they'll write WC on the cup).  My oldest prefers it with chocolate sauce and the youngest is a purist with WC only.

My main summer drink is an iced-coffee with whole milk and 3 pumps of vanilla.  Ahh...so refreshing.  If I'm at home I use my Keurig and have been loving the Starbucks Iced Coffee k-cups.  They are sweetened (with cane sugar, nothing fake) and all I have to do is add some 1/2 and 1/2.  They have a perfect not-watered-down flavor and are so consistent.  

I discovered that they're actually soluble coffee (ie- instant) so I decided to branch out and try the Via iced-coffee packs (also soluble) for when I travel.  I have the worst luck with hotel room coffee (yuck!) so with these packets I have a sure thing since I only have to add water and milk.


What is your favorite summer drink?

Note: I do not work for Starbucks nor do I get anything from them except for the coffee I purchase.  I just like them, ha!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rainbow Theme Birthday Party - Games


My youngest is turning 4 this month and she selected a Rainbow Theme for her party.  I did a bit of online research to find Rainbow themed games/activities for preschool aged kids and also used some creativity of my own.  Here's what we ended up doing. :)

1. Rainbow Necklaces: I started out the party with a necklace activity.  I spent WAY too much time sorting the beads by color but it made it easier for the kids to pick them out. ;)  I wore a sample necklace to show the kids but really we let them decorate any way they wanted.  





I found the mixed beads and the rainbow ribbon at Hobby Lobby.

2. Pin the Cloud on the Rainbow: No party that I throw would be complete without a Pin-the-something-on-something-game.  In this case we made pin-the-clouds on the rainbow.  I had the little kids aim for the lower part of the rainbow and the older kids aim for the top.  We used double-sided tape to stick them on and I wrote the kids names on the clouds ahead.



My oldest helped me prepare the rainbow.  Super simple and only $1 for the poster from Target (used copy paper for the clouds).

3. Musical Rainbow: Another party favorite is a musical game.  This variation included rainbow colored papers (one for each child). Two papers had clouds drawn on them and when the music stopped ("Somewhere Over the Rainbow" of course) whoever landed on the clouds got to pick a prize out of a bowl.  I had prizes like skittles packets, matchbox cars and other $ store goodies.


4. Guess the Rainbow Candies: This game was more for the adults than the kids, although everyone got to make a guess.  I painstakingly counted out skittles ahead (and sorted them my color) so that I'd know how many were inside.  Whoever guessed the closest was the winner and got to take the jar home.

Would you believe someone guessed the exact amount?  I wasn't too surprised since he's an actual rocket scientist, but still!  There were 430 inside by the way.


5. Obstacle Course: I added this game specifically for my little Birthday Girl since she adores setting up "obstacle courses" all over my house on a daily basis.  I pulled our our rainbow tunnel, put some papers on the floor (for them to walk over), had them jump onto a bean-bag chair, around two rattan side tables, over an ottoman and then ended sitting on the parachute.  Super simple but fun for all the kids (ages 3-7).


6. Parachute Games: Last but not least we played with our little rainbow parachute.  Each child held on to a ring and we sang The Wheels on The Bus (swish - move the parachute back and forth, up and down - up and down, etc).  

We put the birthday girl in the middle and walked around singing Happy Birthday to You.  She was in heaven!

It was a lovely activity to help transition the kids before cake and ice-cream.


Stay tuned for information on decorations, food and favors!

For more Party Games Check Out our Past Parties:


Friday, July 10, 2015

Fisher Price Friday - Toilet Talk


Kind of a crazy title, but today I'd like to show the Vintage Fisher Price toilet variations.  So if you're not a FPLP fan feel free to skip this week, ha!

I didn't realize until a year or so ago that there were two variations to the white flip-top toilet.  I knew that there were colored versions blue/yellow and yellow/green version as well as the molded bathroom version (which includes a bathtub and sink).  But little did I know that there are two sizes of white! 



I had wondered why my white toilet didn't fit perfectly in my Camper, but of course, it was the wrong toilet!  I was trying to fit the #909 Play Family Rooms and the #929 Play Family Nursery School toilets into the #994 Play Family Camper.  In the other sets the wrong size toilet wouldn't be noticeable, but in the camper it has a sunken space to hold the toilet (and the sink directly across).  If you have the wrong (larger) version it won't slip in and fit.





The Camper toilet is a tiny bit smaller as shown in my photos. You can see that the camper toilet (in the middle) has a thinner back and is a tiny bit shorter.  Who knew?


You're welcome. 


For more toilets check out these sets:






Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Disney Aulani Resort Review Part II - Dining Choices the Spa and More!


My family visited Aulani in early June and had the absolute best family vacation.  In Part I of my review I went over the pools, water park features, Aunty's Beach house (childcare) and the resort rooms.

Today I'd like to tell you about the Spa, Restaurants, off-site outings as well as on site entertainment offered.

Laniwai Spa



First off the Laniwai Spa which was probably my favorite part of Aulani.  Thanks to the fabulous Aunty's Beach house my husband and I were able to take a few date days and nights.  One of these dates we signed up for a couples massage at the Laniwai Spa which ended up being my very favorite part of our stay at Aulani.  We chose the Honihoni massage which is a 60 minute Hawaiian Lomi Lomi style.  As if this massage wasn't enough the spa has many amenities available to guests before and/or after.



The Spa has an outdoor hydrotherapy garden with soaking pools, mineral baths and even a jacuzzi tub.  They also have a circle of huge rain-style showers and a variety of comfortable lounge beds and cabanas.  



Inside the spa there are co-ed as well as male/female "resting rooms" with comfortable lounge chairs, blankets, pillows, food, flavored water and a variety of magazines.  Let me tell you, I could have spent all afternoon there just relaxing!  My husband told me that the man side included a television showing sports.  Ha!

Each male/female side of the locker rooms included an eucalyptus steam room, sauna, changing room and of course showers with all the needed toiletries.  In the hall by the steam room/sauna they have a freezer drawer full of frozen washcloths and a iced-tea dispenser. :)

Before we left they gave us a couple goodies; a scented body scrub and some bath salts.  


On-site Dining

'Ama 'Ama - This restaurant is the fanciest and most expensive at Aulani.  I saw it rated as a 4 Star.  My husband and I spent a date night there eating just the two of us as the sun set (then slipped off to the adults only infinity-edge spa).  Ah paradise!



We weren't excited about that night's menu choices and 'Ama 'Ama was happy to let us select/create our own dinner combo.  They had wonderful service!



I suggest making reservations ahead, especially if you want to catch the sunset.  They are a family friendly restaurant, but at $45+ a plate you may want to leave the kids at Aunty's Beach House instead. :)

Off the Hook - Next to the pool and 'Ama 'Ama this relaxed restaurant has a full bar and tables with a view of the pool and a bit of the beach.  This was our favorite restaurant and we went a few different times to eat there, usually on dates. :)






















They have a fun cocktail menu and entree options like coconut shrimp, fish tacos and burgers.  They are also flexible with their menu and you can substitute different meats/fish for tacos, salads, burgers, etc.  For example one night I made a fish burger and my husband had a fish wrap (neither were on the menu).



They have the craziest desert (Olelo has it too), the Cheeseburger Macaroon.  The photo on the left is all dessert, isn't that wild?  Good times.

The Olelo Room - This restaurant/bar is next to the buffet restaurant (that we didn't eat at) located in the ground floor of the main lobby.  They have live music in the evenings and an extensive heavy appetizer menu.  







It's a little tricky for kids as the menu is mostly adult, but we were able to make a quasi-dinner here for our family (and I got fresh Ahi Poke!).  

Ulu Cafe - This cafeteria style take-out restaurant is next to the Rainbow Reef and Adult Pool.  They have a variety of deserts, grab-and-go salads/sandwiches, soups, breads and changing hot meal choices.  You can also get Kona coffee (higher % Kona than the "free" coffee available for the reusable cups).



Outside of the Cafe is a large selection of drinks for the reusable cups (available for sale inside).  They have iced-tea, coffee, hot water, lemonade, sodas, Gatorade, etc.  There are tables to sit at and lots of little birds waiting for scraps of bread.

Papalua Shave Ice - Last but not least we tried out the shave ice shack.  They had quite a few flavors and authentic shave ice (not a slushy-type ice).  We were happy!



There were a few other dining options at Aulani that we didn't get around to trying.  The buffet restaurant hosts a character breakfast each morning, which we skipped since we ate in our room every morning.  We didn't miss anything since we saw (and took photos with) plenty of characters around the resort the rest of the week. 

Off site Outings/Rental Car

Aulani is huge and you have plenty to do during the duration of your vacation.  However, if you want to go off and explore the island there are many things to see!  We had two days of car rental from Alamo (included in our reservation package) and we chose to go into Honolulu to do shopping one day and to the North Shore the other day.

Since I lived on Oahu for a few years I didn't have the pressure to see the most popular/famous sites/attractions and instead focused on what our family would most prefer.

Alamo Car Rental - Located right at Aulani this is the most convenient car rental location.  The service was outstanding and you can have the luxury of returning the car directly to Valet at the end of your day.  I would skip keeping the car for days in a row because you will have to pay an additional $35 a night for parking.

If you price it out there are other car rental locations nearby, including Enterprise just down the road (they'll pick you up!).  I found that Enterprise was MUCH cheaper, but I ended up cancelling my reservation and stayed with just the 2 days from Alamo.  Honestly, the traffic is so horrible on Oahu that I preferred to stay at lovely Aulani rather than fight it!

Aulani Entertainment

Aulani has quite a few entertainment options, some are included and other have a fee.  Although we stayed for 8 nights we only hit a few of them, but hey that leaves more to discover on our next visit.

Starlit Hui - This is Aulani's version of a Luau (but without food).  It has Hawaiian music and dancing with a dash of fire and Disney characters.  





Before the Hui starts they offer opportunities for kids to make leis, weave leaves and learn the hula.  Here's a tip though, get to the Halawai Lawn early!  People start lining up to get in 60 minutes before the show even starts.  If you can get in early then you'll have a spot at the front since it's first come first serve the lahala mats (which your family sits on).  Your kids will also have a better opportunity to participate in the arts and crafts activities if you can get there early.



After the show ends they started a dance party for the kids.  We didn't stay for the entire part but my children LOVED dancing along with the Disney characters.  It was all I could do to keep my 3 year old from storming the stage.

Pau Hana Room - This "community" room hosts a variety of activities such as crafts and music.  Some have an additional fee but many are included in your stay.  They have a huge library of Disney movies available to check out as well as video and board games.

The Pau Hana room is where you can check out the interactive scavenger hunt called the Menehune Adventure Trail.  This activity uses a tablet that talks to and guides you throughout the resort trying to solve clues.  It also makes different objects and areas light up, spit out water, explode lava, sing, talk, etc.  My girls loved it!  However, I will warn you that it can take over 2 hours to do the entire Trail so pace yourself and perhaps do just a little bit each day.  I was told that the system saves where you left off and so you don't have to start over.  

There were other entertainment options that we didn't get to take advantage of including fireside storytelling, movies on the lawn, character pool parties and even sunrise yoga.  I was especially disappointed to miss the sunrise yoga, but hey, someone had to wait in the line for Aunty's Beach House signups. ;)

So there you go, I hope you can see that we had a wonderful vacation at Aulani!  

Part 1 of my Aulani Review