March 30, 2012

Ways to Celebrate Palm Sunday with Young Children

1.  Colour a picture
Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

2.  Make your own Palm Fronds

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

3.  Use your hands and feet to celebrate

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest
I was going to tackle this one with my kids today, but figured I'd wait until Dad was home to help control the inevitable mess!

4.  Decorate a large silk leaf
Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest
I thought this was so cute!  It could also make a great decoration for your door.
5.  Start planting a Hill of Calvary garden

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest
Last year we tried making one of these (see tutorial about Hill of Calvary), 
but the soil dried out, 
and I was trying to use regular grass seed... 
So this year, we're going to try again with cat grass (fingers are crossed!)

6.  Listen to Great Music and Dance!
 Hosanna Rock by Yancy
Hosanna by The Donut Man

Use the palm fronds that you make to jump and dance around!

7.  Watch a movie about Jesus life

One of my absolute favorites is The Miracle Maker.
We also like the Veggie Tales "Twas the Night Before Easter".

8.  Read some books

I have a couple on my to read list.  
And I'm planning on putting one in the kids Easter basket this year.  
But a definite favorite from last year was The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs.

9.  Make a Pinterest Board
Its my favorite way to put all our ideas in one spot.  And my Easter Pinterest Board is a great tool for helping my kids decide which project they'd like to try each day!

March 15, 2012

Top Ten Ideas for a Mermaid Party

 With Aria's 6th birthday coming up next month I've already started planning some ideas out for how to throw a spectacular MERMAID BIRTHDAY PARTY.  Here are the top ten ideas from my Pinterest board.

1. Seashell Invitations

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

 How fun are these?  Aria loves shells, and the invitation instantly becomes a keepsake when its not a piece of paper!

2. Balloon Decor

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

Balloons and nets and some streamers hanging from the ceiling will really make the room feel as though we're underwater.

3.  Rock Candy

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

There's all sorts of recipes out there about how to make your own rock candy.  I think it'll be a fun science experiment to do with my kids several weeks before the party, and doesn't it look like coral?

4.  "Sushi" Sandwiches

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

I love sushi, but I don't think that I could get the girls to eat it!  This is a super fun alternative, and with all the peanut allergies out there, I think its wise to steer away from the classic PB&J.

5. Orange Pepper Octo-dip

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

How ridiculously cute is this?  And easy!  I love food that adds to the theme!

6.  Mermaid Craft

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

This is a great simple craft that I know any 5 or 6 year old girl would love to make.  I think I'll attach the hair ahead of time, but let the girls decorate their mermaids however they'd like to.

7.  Mermaid Tail Towels

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

So, on Amazon these towels are around $60!  I'm thinking I can make them for WAY less, and I am NOT a seamstress.  I like to think of myself as an interpretive sewer... no patterns, just making it up as I go along!  My thought is that these will be the party favours that the girls can take home and then use all summer!

8.  Ombre Ocean Cake

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

In my head, this is what Aria's cake will look like, but I know there's no way I can pull it off.  I might try to go for the ombre look on the inside though, with the different layers and try for something simpler to decorate...

9.  Wafer Chocolate for Easy Cake Decorating

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

Something simpler like this.  Still beautiful, but layering chocolate wafers I can definitely do.  And the Bulk Barn in town has every shade of wafer under the sun!

10.  Octopus Cake or Marshmallow Pops

Source: via Carmen Kinniburgh on Pinterest

In October I made my first attempt at cake pops for Roscoe's Robot Party.  My husband had much more finesse when it came to dipping them in chocolate.  They were super yummy, and a LOT OF WORK!  Simple octopuses I might be able to handle though...

March 13, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Stamping - 3 Ways

I've seen a tonne of great St. Patrick's Day crafts on Pinterest lately, and since the kids were looking for a craft to do on Saturday, we decided to try a trio of stamping techniques.
First we mixed up some green paint.
 Then I found a TOILET PAPER ROLL and folded it.
Cut up a RED PEPPER.
And lastly, cut a POTATO in half, and then using a knife (or a cookie cutter) shaped the centre into a heart.
And away the kids went, happily stamping!
  After a while they asked for the GLITTER...  
what art project isn't made complete with a little glitter??

March 12, 2012

Walt Disney World Trip 2012

So, it's taken me a bit, but I've finally had some time to sit down and write about our amazing trip to Disney World that we took in January!
We left after church on a Sunday, drove down to Seattle (the craziest part of the trip was definitely driving over the Coquihalla!) and spent the night in a great hotel that I had booked through Hotwire.  We flew out the next morning and arrived in Orlando around 9pm.  I had totally forgot about packing a lunch or supper for us while we flew, so we mostly survived on airline peanuts until we had a brief stopover in St. Louis, where we quickly went and bought some bagels to tie us over until we could eat something at the resort in Orlando.
We had a nice little welcoming crowd when we got to the resort, consisting of Grandma and Papa, and Jeremy's brother and wife and their two boys.  We were PUMPED to start our  
 Day 1 & 5 - Magic Kingdom
First on the agenda meet Mickey and Minnie!
Aria and Roscoe dressed up for the first day as Cinderella and Woody, but it was so warm the costumes came off around noon.  The weather sat between 25 and 30 degrees the whole week; it was LOVELY, considering the week before had been -20 degrees at home!

 Experiencing our first Disney parade!  Pretty exciting!  
We had maybe been in the park 20 minutes when the parade started, so it was a wonderful way to be welcomed to the Magic Kingdom.  And I have to say it really was magical to see the park through my kids' eyes.  I think I was on the verge of tears for pretty much the first two days!
 Woody invited Roscoe, his look a like, to come and dance in the streets after the parade.  Roscoe wasn't quite sure what to do!
 Aria meeting her very first Princess!  She was beyond excited, and Ariel is her absolute favorite.  In fact we're doing a Little Mermaid Party next month to celebrate her sixth birthday!
It was after meeting Ariel that we got to experience the best thing that Disney has to offer...
the Dole Pineapple Float!
All I can say is YUM!!!  If you visit Disney World and don't have one, you are missing out.  I would seriously go back just to eat another someday.  Its soft serve pineapple ice cream in a cup with pineapple juice drizzled around it.  Super refreshing and big enough to share.  Although, I could probably manage to finish one off on my own!
 On the Carousel in the Magic Kingdom.
 Trying to pull the sword from the stone.
 Sipping tea near the Spinning Tea Cups (a ride that's good for lots of giggling!)
 Our favorite things in the Magic Kingdom were Its a Small World (we went on it twice, and Roscoe waved for the entire fifteen minutes the ride lasted!), Peter Pan's Adventure, Winnie the Pooh's Blustery Day, and Buzz Lightyear's ride.  I also have to do a shout-out to Philharmagic.  It was one of my personal favorites, but we didn't go and see it a second time as there was SO much to do and see.  Its a 3D show about Donald as he meets Ariel, you get wet.  As he dances in "Be Our Guest" you can smell strawberries, and you feel wind and want to reach out and touch him.  It was super cool.
And, if, no, I should really say when we go again, we didn't meet Rapunzel because the line was WAY TOO LONG, we would try to meet her, and maybe even take Aria to the Bippity Boppity Boutique (a little out of our price range this time).
Blowing kisses to the princesses in the parade! 
 Day 2 & 6 - Epcot
Meeting Chip and Dale was tonnes of fun.  I read somewhere recently that you shouldn't ask them where they hide their nuts.  I'm curious to see what happens when you do... maybe next time!
Our favorite things at Epcot were the Soarin' and Test Track rides, as well as the Three Caballeros ride in Mexico.  The food in Morocco was super yummy, and there is a HILARIOUS improv street show that we caught in England that is a must-see!
 Aria got to meet another princess: Snow White.  She was very sweet and kind, but not overly sweet like some of the other princesses, and she thought Roscoe was TOO cute!
 As we were walking around the world in Epcot, just nearing the United States, out of an alley walks about 10 different characters!  Apparently, they randomly come out at that exact spot once a day (I'm gonna say usually in the afternoon), and if you happen to be there to meet them, there's no line-ups and so no pressure to hurry and move on.  That was pretty amazing!

 The whole family!
 Marie from the Aristocats was probably my favorite character to interact with the kids.  We found her in France, and she took lots of time to sign books, pose and PLAY with the kids.  She doesn't talk, but she had them all laughing as she teased Josiah into jumping up and down to get his book back!
 DAY 3 - Animal Kingdom
Here we are in front of the Tree of Life which has animal carvings all over it.  The atmosphere in this park is so incredible and beautiful.  You really feel as though you're walking through the jungles in India.  And there are some tremendous shows!  We loved the Lion King show at Camp Mickey Minnie, and seeing all the animals on the Safari.  Oh, and the Bird Show
 Day 4 & 7 - Hollywood Studios
Its so hard to pick a favorite park at Disney World, as they're all so different.  I really did love the ambiance of Hollywood Studios as you entered the park though.  Very art deco feeling.  
Day 4 was the only day it was a bit cooler and we experienced a bit of rain.  
Our favorite things to do in this park included the Animation Studio where you can take a class on drawing the characters (and if you ask nicely, the artist will give you their drawing for free!), the Disney Jr. show was super fun and interactive.  My kids loved it as we watch many of the shows on Disney Jr (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Special Agent Oso).  Aria really like the Little Mermaid show, the Beauty and the Beast show, and Star Tours (Jer did not like this one as much as he was feeling pretty nauseated by the end of it!).
 By far the most popular and longest line up was Toy Story Mania.  But it is super fun, and totally worth the wait.  We used a Fast Pass both times we went on it, and still had to wait 20 minutes probably.
 Playing at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Play Lot - super fun and a great place for the kids to run off some steam.

There's SOOOOO much more I could say about our holiday, but I'll boil it down to two final thoughts:

If you go to Disney World get the Quick Service Dining Plan: IT IS INCREDIBLE!! If we were hungry we ate.  We didn't think about how much it cost, or was it in the budget, or have to say no to the kids if they saw a snack they wanted to try.  It seriously took any hassle out of what was an AMAZING family holiday.  Included in the plan was two meals and one snack per day for each of us, but its cumulative... So, if the kids shared a meal, or we didn't eat any snacks one day, we didn't lose the credits!  It kept track of it on our card for us, so we didn't have to worry about money or packing lunches!  Because of when we planned our holiday it was included for free.  I don't know that I would do the whole Disney World trip again without it, it was that incredible.  And, with our leftover snack and meal credits we bought some sandwiches for the flight home, and "bought" candy souvenirs and stocking stuffers for our kids and family.

The second thought is that this was the best family holiday for us at this point in our life.  We wanted to do something different and out of Canada.  But, I figured, if we went to Mexico, and I wanted to lay on the beach and read a book, I would be disappointed, because that wouldn't be what the whole family would want to do.  But Disney World is a family-oriented experience and we all loved it.  The kids were filled with the wonder of seeing movies that they loved come to life before them, there was constantly things happening, characters to meet, rides to go on, shows to watch, parades to dance along with!  And for Jeremy and I, we loved being together as a family, walking and talking, enjoying the sun, having laughs, eating...  And, I have to say, it was budget friendly!  We flew out of Seattle round trip for less than $1000 for the four of us.  We stayed in a Disney Value resort, with Quick Service Dining Plan and park tickets for $1800.  Plus the gas money, Seattle hotels, and some souvenirs...  The whole trip was $3501.  One dollar over my original budget.  Not bad, if I do say so myself!  
And, we've already started talking about when we go next time.  I think that's a sign of a GOOD vacation!