Happy Independence Day

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Over the past year, I have learned about so many of my ancestors who lived here in the United States before what is now celebrated as Independence day. I can only imagine how elated many of them were when news finally spread to them that the Declaration of Independence had been adopted and that the land where they dwelled was now declared a new nation. This day brought them a new kind of hope and it changed their lives forever! I know that for most of us we just think of this day as a day for fireworks and grilling; but we should never forget that this date was the official beginning of our great nation. This nation was built by imperfect people, but they had great passion, perseverance, bravery and dedication to a cause that ultimately would change the world.

Bubble Birthday Party

Last year, bubbles were the baby’s favorite thing.

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I ordered a birthday shirt from Etsy shop, boutiquesewunique.

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We had bubbles as the theme for his second birthday party. We had lots of bubble gum, actual soap bubbles, bubbles made from gelatin, and bubbles made from slime, bubbles made from food. We had bubbles made of everything.

I tried to make the foods as circular as I could to resemble bubbles. I made a fruit tray and balled all the fruit. I made cake balls. I got cream puffs. I made cheddar balls covered in bacon. I made rice krispy treat-like balls out of Trix cereal.

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We made a slimy bubble solution out of glue and liquid starch. We then raced to see who could make bubbles out of it with a straw. This was hilarious because it was very challenging. Most of the children quit and then adults just kept going and going.

I can’t remember where I got the recipe originally, but this site has one.

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Nana was the first to get a bubble.1923

Lillian got one too!

We then made bubble art. I placed bubble solution and washable paint in several different cups. The children had to blow into the solution to make bubbles and then place their paper on top of the bubbles. Several of them looked amazing. It was very messy and definitely requires an adult nearby.

We also had a bubble blowing contest. We went two at a time. Then we got to a small group of winners and had a contest between them.

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Blowing a bubble under pressure is hard!

We had a huge bubble pool in the back. I got a kiddy pool. Placed lots of dish soap, glycerin, and a little water  into the pool. I used about a cup of Dawn, 4 tablespoons of glycerin and turned on the hose until it looked like enough water. A child would carefully step inside (it’s VERY slippery) and then two children would stand on opposite sides of a hula hoop and gently life up the hula hoop up the top of the child. If it worked out, the child was enveloped in the bubble. It was my favorite activity. When everyone had done it that wanted to, we then just made huge bubbles. I bought a huge pack of different shaped wands. There were bubbles everywhere!

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I didn’t get a single picture with the kids inside the bubble, because I helped every single one.

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We had a bubble trivia game (of course)

 

                       All kinds of BUBBLES Trivia

  1. How many sticks of gum does the average American chew each year?

(A) 200  (B) 300 (C) 400

  1. If all 5 piece packs of Bubble Yum ever chewed in the U.S. since its introduction in 1975 were laid out end to end, how many times would it circle Earth at the Equator? (A) 2 (B) 5 (C) 7
  2. What is the official bubble gum of Major League Baseball?

(A) Bubble Yum  (B) Bazooka   (C) Topps

  1. When was the first successful bubble gum invented? (A) 1891 (B) 1906 (C) 1928
  2. True or False: Soap Bubbles are always elliptical.
  3. Soap bubbles are “minimal surface structures”. This means that they always hold the gas or liquid inside them with the least possible surface area. The geometric form with the least surface area is ____________.
  4. True or False: If three soap bubbles get stuck together, they will have one common wall at 120 degrees.
  5. True or False: A soap bubble gets its color from the light waves reflecting between the soap film’s inner and outer surfaces.
  6. Susan Mont”gum”ery Williams is the Guiness Record Holder of the World’s Largest Gum Bubble. How big was it? (A) 19 in. (B) 23 in. (C) 27 in.
  7. True or False: Bubble Wrap was originally designed to be a wallpaper.
  8. About (A) 200 (B) 300 (C)400 Million dollars worth of bubble wrap is sold each year.
  9. A painting by Hanneman showing children playing with bubbles is from the year (A) 1730 (B) 1630 (C) 1530

13 True or False: Youngsters who blow bubbles are most likely to find learning language easy.

We had bubble cake. We made bubbles to place all over the vanilla cake. This was done by mixing gelatin, water, and food coloring together. The ratio is 2 parts cold water to 1 part gelatin. Mix until dissolved. We then took balloons that we’d blown up. We dipped them into the solution holding onto the part you blow. We then placed them into muffin tins mouth part down. We let them dry for about two hours, then dipped them again. Any part that was too thin, we used a paintbrush to put on more gelatin solution. We let them dry for 48 hours. Then we popped the balloon and handled them very gently and placed them on the cake. I thought they turned out so cute!

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We had a great time at LBD’s second birthday party!

Disney: Cinderella’s Royal Table

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A few days before we were leaving for our Disney World trip, I heard that a company had been selling Disney dining reservations illegally and that Disney had stopped them. Because of this, there was now a chance that there were reservations available where there hadn’t been any before. I checked for dining reservations again and lo and behold, there was Cinderella’s Royal Table with several dinner slots open. We chose late reservations. We had arrived in Magic Kingdom later in the afternoon; but it was Extra Magic Hours night and the park was open until 1 a.m. We didn’t tell the children. We told them we were eating somewhere we had never eaten before. They guessed everywhere, but no one guessed inside the Castle! When we walked into the entrance of the Castle and went up to the desk for our reservation, all of the children were shocked and so excited!278

In the foyer, they got to meet Cinderella.

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No detail is overlooked, as is usual for all things Disney.

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photo credit: disneyworld.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/cinderella-royal-table

 

 

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It really is special eating inside the Castle.The food was good. The service was better. The experience was the BEST!

The children all get a wishing star. The girls get a wand and the boys get a special sword.

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All of the princesses come to your table. They are all so very sweet. They actually came by more than once.

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We really had a special time and loved being able to surprise the children with something they had never thought of doing.

If you get the chance to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table, I would highly recommend it!

A Disney World Surprise: Animal Kingdom

When we booked our trip to Disney World, we were first planning on using points and staying at the Hilton. For weeks, I worried about fitting that many people into the room. I looked up ways to keep things organized in small spaces with so many people. My husband wasn’t too worried. That was until he looked at the room again and began to realize that there wouldn’t be any privacy for anyone. He realized that we would be listening to our girls at all hours of the night talking and facetiming friends. He called Disney to see if they had any availability the week before our trip. (I had checked online for weeks and hadn’t found any rooms available for our size party).  They had two adjoining rooms available at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We kept it all a secret from the children. We kept telling them to get ready to be cramped for the next week. We told them that they needed to stay organized. When we drove up into the parking lot, they realized we were staying there. They were beyond excited.

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Animal Kingdom Lodge is truly remarkable. We loved all the African touches throughout. It was neat to see artifacts from the continent and to learn a little about some of the countries. Disney does the most fabulous job at fully immersing its guests into the theme.

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We ate at Boma one day for a late lunch. I loved the food there. The sweet potatoes were amazing.

I have to say that it is truly amazing to wake up to giraffes and zebras outside your window! Seeing the animals night and day was definitely the best part! The rooms were great as well. We had a room with bunk beds and a full bed and then a room with two queens. It was plenty of room for the seven of us.

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The only drawback to staying at this location is the transportation. We waited more than 30 minutes sometimes for a bus. The buses were also almost always full. I don’t feel safe riding on a bus while standing and holding my 2 year old or having my children pressed up against a stranger’s body. This is the only complaint I have at all about the experience.

Overall, I really enjoyed staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I’m glad we got to experience this hotel.

Good Eats on Hilton Head Island

Every time we travel we check Trip Advisor, Yelp, and ask around for the best places to eat. Sometimes the reviews are spot on and other times we are left wondering if the owners somehow coerced people to leave the positive reviews.

Here is an honest review of some of the places to find good food on Hilton Head Island.

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Alexander’s : The food here was really tasty. I had the stuffed shrimp and I would highly recommend it. Some of the other people in our party had the surf and turf and said it was some of the best they’d ever had.

The Old Oyster Factory: This had some of the most beautiful views of the marshes. The food was all outstanding. Everything that everyone ordered was perfectly prepared and outstanding. This is a place we’d visit again and again.

Coco’s on the Beach: I didn’t eat anything from here, but my children and the rest of the family did. They said the burgers were out of this world. They also loved the mozzarella sticks. The children loved ordering the virgin drinks there too.

Low Country Backyard: I had the best shrimp and grits of my life at this little restaurant. Unfortunately, we’ve only been able to eat there once. There are only a few cooks, very few tables, and no reservations. This helps keep the quality of the food high, which I appreciate. It just makes it extremely hard to get to eat there with a large family.

I hope that if anyone out there is headed there that this little review helps.

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Something to Smile About

I love being a mom! I have found a different joy in being a boy mom which I had heard about but obviously never experienced until 2 years ago.  It seems like LBD came out loving all things superheroes. He asks for every mask he sees at the store and pretends to be one or more superheroes at a time all day long. I came across a video that made me laugh so hard. The joy in the Video makes me smile and it is the same joy I see on my boy’s face everytime we pretend.

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I hope you’ll watch the Video and laugh and smile too. Everyone needs something to smile about!

Road Trip Fun

Because traveling with so many people is very expensive, we usually save money on vacation by driving instead of flying. That means that there will be many hours spent in our car and many times the words, “I’m bored,” will be heard and said. I try to make little fun baskets for each child to keep them occupied throughout the drive. I pack one for the drive to our vacation destination and another one for the ride home. I will be posting more about those baskets soon; but wanted to share one of the things that I put in there for now. I made a road trip scavenger hunt.

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Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
1. AL license plate.
2. GA license plate
3. NY license plate
4. IL license plate
5. car with a dog in it.
6. a car with a luggage carrier (not your own)
7. a car with the driver eating
8. roadkill
9. a Coke truck
10. a police officer
11. a state trooper
12. a car with a passenger asleep (not your own)
13. a lake
14. a historic marker
15. a bridge
16. a university or college
17. a liquor store sign
18. a Baptist church
19. a Catholic church
20. a school
21. a billboard for a lawyer
22. a swimming pool
23. a pizza delivery car
24. a sign about God or Hell
25. a car with someone singing in it
26. a park
27. a construction worker
28. a car with a stick figure family
29. a car with an honor student sticker
30. a car with a political sticker
31. a car with “wash me” written on it
32. a boat
33. a shoe or other clothing item on or beside the road
34. a no U-turn sign
35. a cemetery
36. a fireworks store
37. a car with a person drinking Starbucks
38. a Porsche
39. a Grayline or tour bus
40. a truck with some kind of livestock
41. a Frito Lay truck
42. a U-Haul
43. a tree with Spanish moss
44. a car with a HH sticker
45. a hospital

Whoever finishes first wins a little extra prize that I keep up front.

Feel free to copy and paste my little game and use it on your own road trip.

 

May the 4th be with you Breakfast Dinner

My girls really enjoy Star Wars. After I had the baby boy, they went over to my niece’s house and they watched all of the episodes over the course of a couple of weeks. I think they genuinely enjoyed the movies; but they also have that special feeling of being cared for to go with them. Since The Force Awakens came out, I think they have become even bigger fans.  May the 4th was just naturally a day I wanted to do something fun. I looked over Pinterest for ideas. I wished I had gotten an earlier start because I saw lots of cute ideas that needed cookie cutters and other equipment that I just didn’t have on hand.

We ended up with breakfast for dinner. This is not unusual. We usually do this once a week on our more hectic nights.

The eggs were the Twin Suns.

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Cinnamon rolls were naturally Leia’s Buns.

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We had bacon and hashbrowns, which were a pretty terrible looking  “Chewbaccon”. At least we got a good laugh out of it!

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The sausage links were Light Sabers.

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I made Yoda Soda which was basically just a lime sherbet float.

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I made Chewy cookies from Little Debbie Star Crunch cookies and added candy eyes and a frosting mouth and nose. I got that idea from Pinterest.

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I purchased Star Wars plates and napkins. I also got some Star Wars fruit snacks for little treats. The children all thought everything turned out really cute and I think they love a themed dinner as much as I do.

I made all the signs and the framed “May the Fourth Be With You” sign using DaFont’s Star Jedi font.

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Next, Cinco de Mayo!!

Celebrating Earth Day

The kiddos woke up to an Earth Day breakfast. I thought that Earth pancakes sounded so cute. image

They were not the hit I’d hoped they would be. Only one of my children would even try them. Good thing I knew that was going to be the most probable outcome and made the rest of the batch normal.

Later, we read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and the two little girls did a couple of worksheets pertaining to the book.

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After some school work, we made seed paper out of old catalogs. We tore paper into about 2 to 3 inch pieces and put them into a blender filled about halfway with water. After blending, we took the pulp outside and used an old screen to press out the excess water and mold them into shapes. Then we added marigold and hollyhock seeds. We plan on giving these away once they dry.

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We even had a Lorax themed dinner and an “earthy” dessert.

I got the coloring sheet printable from Dawn Nicole Designs. Olivia loves to color and after we read The Lorax, she was so excited to color and frame her work.

I made bow tie pasta (the Lorax’s mustache) with broccoli (truffala trees) with homemade low carb Alfredo sauce with Keto fried chicken. For dessert, the kids used chocolate pudding, smashed Oreos, and gummy worms to make their “earthy” dessert.

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I hope you had a nice Earth day too.

April Fool’s Day Dinner

My kiddos love a good prank. April Fool’s Day has been one of their favorite days as long as I can remember. We usually try to do at least one thing to make the day memorable. Last year I fooled them into thinking they were eating an undercooked lasagna, when it was actually a yummy dessert. This year, I pulled off a Crazy April Fool’s Day Dinner which was actually breakfast for dinner. It definitely takes some advance preparation and quite a bit of work (at least with as many people as we have in our family) to pull it off, but it is so fun! I’ve done a dinner menu like this before and I feel like breakfast items are a lot easier. I used the basic idea and the menu course printables from Dixie Delights. I made some changes, but the general idea came from her site.

To do this, I gave my family a menu of 16 items with funny names. They also had 4 different menu course sheets. On each sheet they had to put four items that they wanted for that course. Each item has to be picked once so that all items are ultimately chosen. They had to pick for all of their courses before I even started cooking; because I didn’t want to give them any hints with the smells in the kitchen.

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I had one more trick up my sleeve. Number 9 was the CAFD Special. It looked like an egg, but was really just whipped cream and an apricot.

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I pulled out a few Christmas plates to serve this. I also found some “Welcome to 2000” napkins that had never been opened in my party stash. We used those as the Mini Magic Carpet.

Overall, we had lots of laughs. April Fool’s Day is just another good excuse to have a little fun together.

I printed out my menu using Waltograph font from DaFont 

Crazy April Fool’s Day Disney Dinner

1. Mickey Mouse                                         9. CAFD Special
2. Gaston’s Tavern Treat                          10. Pluto’s Dinner
3. Dinoco Motor Oil                                    11. Merida’s Hair
4. Sugar Rush Icing component             12. Elsa’s Bad Day
5. White Rabbit’s Tale                                13. Rafiki’s Staff
6. Three Little Pigs                                       14. Cruella’s Hair
7. Capt. Hook’s Plank                                 15. Dinglehopper
8. Mike Wazowski                                      16. Mini Magic Carpet

 

Here’s the real deal menu:

  1. Mickey Mouse waffle
  2. Cinnamon Roll
  3. Syrup
  4. Powdered Sugar
  5. Whipped Cream
  6. Sausage
  7. Bacon
  8. Egg
  9. Apricot in whipped cream
  10. cereal
  11. orange juice
  12. ice
  13. straw
  14. salt and pepper
  15. fork
  16. napkin