Archive for the Fun Category

Planting Maters Tutorial

Planting Maters Tutorial


I am the kind of person who likes to come up with original ideas. It could be the competitor in me, or the artist. I am not exactly sure which side it comes from. Either way it has always been important to me, as far back as I can remember. When it came to hosting my #DisneySide party I have to admit I was a bit stumped, and Pinterest didn’t really have much to offer beyond sugary snacks. In my expierence other than cake, cookies, or cupcakes the kids don’t care what snacks are there, they will eat it or won’t. No, for kids it is all about the activities, so I needed to have some good ones.


After watching Cars two nights in a row the week of the party I finally had an idea. It was the line in the movie when Mater meets Lightning for the first time. Mater says his name, “Mater. Like Ta-mater, with out the “ta.” That was when I knew what I wanted to do with the kids. Plant to-maters, or tow-maters. How ever you would like to spell it. A play on words is fun, and cute, but the 3-5 age range won’t really pick up on that. To make it more Mater-like, I wanted the pots to look like Mater. Tada! Today’s craf-tiviy was born.


Planting “Maters”

You will need;

  • Seed starter pots
  • White paper
  • Tomato seeds
  • Glue of choice
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Dirt
  • Water
  • Children willing to help


You could easily use any cup you wanted for the purpose of this activity, but I chose the seed start pots because they are already brown like Mater, and they can go straight into the ground the way they are.


The first step is to make your pots look like mini Maters. Start by cutting your white paper to look like Mater’s windshield. After you have cut out your windshields cut small rectangles for his two front teeth.


Then glue on googly eyes. I chose to use white glue because it is less toxic than other choices, but it will also dissolve with too much water. Just something to keep in mind, because they might fall off from too much watering. Also Mater’s eyes are actually green, so you could skip the glue and let your little crafters draw in his eyes, with crayons or markers.


Next attach your “eyes” to the top of the pots.


Glue on his two front “teeth.”


Honestly everything up to this point could easily be done by even the smallest crafters. Being that I did this as an activity for a party, I chose to make them in advance. Waiting for glue to dry can be hard, so I wanted to skip that step. When we do this again in the future I will have my kids do 100% of the work. I will make a template of the windshield from cardboard for them to trace.


Now onto the dirty part. Dirt being the key word.


Fill those pots with dirt!




Fill them all the way to the brim, because the soil will settle as you water it.


Now it is time to add seeds! I chose to use cherry tomatoes because they can grow easily in a pot, and I wasn’t sure what all of our guests would do with them. I wanted everyone to have a chance to watch their “Maters” grow.



Once the seeds are in place it’s time to WATER! These kids loved watering their new plants.


Lot’s of helpers.



Then find a sunny windowsill for Mater to sunbathe in and watch your tomatoes grow.


It almost looks like Mater sprouted hair!


What is your favorite activity to do with/or have kids do, at a party? What are your children’s favorite party activities?

Sharing our #DisneySide with friends

I have always liked Disney. I mean even before kids. I actually owned Disney’s Cars movie (and a few others) before I had those two cuties. I also visited both Disney World and Disneyland, before kiddos. For a long time I have wanted to take S to Disney World. It is such a great experience that I wanted to share with him, but then came kids, and the idea to wait until they are old enough to remember it. Well, this year will be “the year.” I couldn’t be more excited. So you can imagine how excited I was to be selected to host not just a Disney Side @Home Celebration, but a Cars themed party too! What a great way to pre-celebrate our upcoming trip with local friends! I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.



I had a great time checking out recipes and activities on, and Pinterest. Feel free to check out my #DisneySide board here! I will continue adding to it because this party was so much fun, I hope to do another one in the future. DSC_0082

I decided these apple and grape cars looked the most like Lightning McQueen, and luckily my kids agreed. I had a hard time finding healthy Cars themed snack options even on Pinterest. I was intentionally avoiding the “spare tire” doughnuts because I didn’t want to sugar my kids up too much.  I think in the end we did well for a late morning play date, and had something for everyone.


Apple slices, red grapes, and toothpicks. If this was for an older age group I might have trimmed the toothpicks so that they fit perfectly, but … 1. That would be a lot of extra work and, 2. It would have made the toothpicks invisible to the 3-5 year old’s, and therefore dangerous.



Francesco anyone? No? Well I tried.


Celery, grape tomatoes, and toothpicks. You’re welcome.


We also had a try from Chick-fil-a and those cute little Lightning buckets, became “chicken buckets.” The kids liked having a little to-go bucket to carry around with them. It work out better than plates.


Carrot and bell pepper dip-sticks. Because I know you are dying to know the carrots were straight from our garden.


I also grabbed Cars and Princess pretzels (you can see them hiding in the back) that were available at Target for Valentines day. They fit perfectly with our theme.


These “stop lights” were everyone’s favorite, and they were gone before the afternoon was over.  They were also the most time-consuming because of all.those.little.balls. I used a melon baller, on watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. Then I used skewers. I made all the balls the night before and assembled the stop lights the morning of our party. Both of my kiddos, ages four and three, helped me assemble these. They both wanted to help, so I figured why not? So round-up the troops and get them to help you with your next party preparation, they might think it’s fun.


No party is complete with out some sort of cake. My daughter especially loves cup cakes. “Cone cakes,” perfect for the “pit stop.” I’m completely corny, I know. I am also okay with this.


I used Duff’s tye dye cake mix, but instead of tye dye I made rainbows. They were really fun to eat. Top with rainbow sprinkles, and it was the perfect lure for the three year old boy in my life. He successfully licked the frosting, and sprinkles, off of 4 cupcakes before he was stopped.


Our guests had a chance to view the latest Disney Parks DVD, in between snacks, games, and Frozen sing-a-longs. Seriously I couldn’t have planned the Disney magic that happened all on its own. Four girls randomly singing Let it Go, and requesting to watch Frozen, in Spanish. You know, you got to change things up every now and then. Sorry Lightning, but you did take a slight backseat to Anna and Elsa.


One part of this party that was exciting for me as a parent was watching the kids play games. In this preschool age group they are just learning about party games. What they are, and how they work, why they are fun, all that jazz. I had two games planned, and 2 craf-tivities. That was too much for the little cuties.


With the addition of a partial Frozen viewing we played one game, colored, and did one craf-tivity. You can see our “Planting Maters” activity , and it’s tutorial here. I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with it, and I love sharing it with you.


Everyone had a great time with “pin the smile on Mickey.” They each took a few turns, some more than others. It was everyone first time playing this type of game. Well everyone under 30 anyway. How awesome is that! Mickey, in my opinion, is much better than a donkey.


I really enjoyed that everyone was all dressed in their favorite Disney. The moments when I felt that I was too corny, I realized everyone else was too! It was a great time.  Our guests left with some swag too. Adults left with HP Photo Paper, Chore Charts for their kiddos, and Disney luggage tags. Kiddos got coloring pages, stickers, Cars pencils, and their living craft (plus whatever goodies they grabbed when no one was looking).


How do you show your #DisneySide? Have you been to a Disney themed party? What was your favorite part?


I received free products in the @ Home Celebration kit in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration thanks to Disney Parks and MomSelect. The opinions expressed here, as usual, are my own.

The Mountain has a Summit

The Gemini Mama Hawk


I know that a lot of you out there are covered in snow. If I were in a place covered in snow I would grab my boots and snowboard and find a hill. I would also pack up my kids and go sledding, at least once. Obviously I am not there, and here we don’t see snow. Actually while we are on the subject, we are suffering from a sever drought because our mountains haven’t seen enough snow, so send some west.


When you live in an area that has beautiful temperature, you should take advantage of it. Yesterday we did. The whole family. As in every one including Scarlet, our dog. This was a big deal for her, because she doesn’t get to do much now that running is too much for her.



If you have been a long time reader here you may remember my post last September about our hike. I just want to say it is amazing what 25-30 degrees difference will do for you. We have only been on a few hikes since then, and they were focused on K1 being able to “hike” the whole time. Meaning that they were not challenging for the adults. When I suggested re-doing this hike S actually asked me if I could even do it. He reminded me that I had to stop a few times last time and we didn’t make it to the top. Duh, it was 100 degrees. Silly daddy.


Up we climbed as a unit. K1 walked about 1/4-1/3 of the way up herself. She is getting stronger and stronger every day.


The wind was nice, and kept us cool.


We got to see a few things on our way. Lizards, caterpillars, which were a nice surprise, para gliders, one hang glider, and two hawks! I am glad that we did not see the mountain lion that was spotted recently, and I am still fortunate enough to have never seen a wild rattle snake.


I wish my phone accurately captured how close to us the hawks were, but this was the best I could do. I have never seen a hawk in the wild so close. I could actually see the color of their feathers.


They were a pair hunting together. When they were done scouring this peak they flew off together to the next. It was beautiful.


Off in the distance of this photo you can see one of the para gliders.


I enjoy hiking, but view it mostly as exercise. Yesterday was a great reminder of all the beauty there is too see on my way to the top. Take that however you want, literal, or figurative. I also find that having kids with me on the hike I want to find beautiful things to show them, so that they will remain interested. I feel that they truly balance the experience for me.


What fun have you had in the great outdoors lately? 

Happy Halloween

Halloween party 024

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween!


Why the grimaces? No idea.


Dance Class

wpid-PicsArt_1380228278775.jpgI imagine that a few of you might have been curious how dance class has been going. I have had a very hard time taking pictures that are actually worth sharing. I did snatch a few videos to share with daddy, so that he could see her in class.

wpid-PicsArt_1380228614336.jpgI wanted to get a few pictures before her first class started. Most of the time you aren’t “supposed” to take photo’s during the classes at the YMCA. Just in case this one was the same, I wanted to keep the moment. You know to savor for all times and stuff.


I asked her to do an arabesque for a photo, and this is what I got. Thriller anyone?

wpid-PicsArt_1380228740112.jpgAnd then class started. No longer so sure about it.


Every move the instructor asked them to do she said, “I don’t know how to do that.” Duh …. that’s why we are here, isn’t it?

wpid-PicsArt_1380228969575.jpgShe finally got to hear what her tap shoes really sound like. Now this is something that she can get into!


The instructor the first day was actually a sub. She has no children, and not yet figured out how to effectively guide them. Picture 5 girls, in tap shoes, running. In circles. For 15 minutes. K1 had fun tho.

wpid-20130918_100935.jpgThe second week, with the regular instructor, was much better. It also helped that K1 knew what to expect in class.

wpid-PicsArt_1380229313932.jpgPosition 3, or is it 4, I don’t know. This position, she can do all on her own without any help. The other positions she needs help moving her feet into the correct places.

wpid-PicsArt_1380229457281.jpgNo need to teach her to love herself. She’s got that down.


At the end of the next session there is a recital. Complete with tickets to be purchased and props for the routine. I am excited for her already. It’s going to be so cute. November 23, mark your calendar.


This weeks class will have another sub, and it’s a guy. Let’s see how this goes!

Fall Family Festival

Saturday we went to the Fall Family Festival put on by our local YMCA. It was a fun time, as expected.


Daddy went with us too. He is great at making fun things even more fun.


Under age sack races?
This guy K2, loved the bubbles.

You know those things that we blow on the steps outside our house? His.favorite.part.of the whole festival. 

He didn’t even try to jump In the kiddie pool filled with bubbles like some of the other kids. He was great. He just didn’t want to do anything else. Nothing.
Puppet shows put on by kiddos.
Jump-y obstacle course thing.
K1 couldn’t wait to get her shoes off to go on the jump-y thing. K2, well he tried. It wasn’t his cup of tea.
K1’s favorite part, were the crafts.
She really enjoyed them. There were edible crafts and art crafts. She was content with either.

We left with the colorful fall page you see in the pictures. She also went on to paint it. After painting her scene she made a cool coffee filter butterfly, which is now hanging up at home.

At the festival I learned that, while my three year thinks she understands what waiting in line means, she really doesn’t.

We waited in line for a balloon animal three times, and left with out one. She also waited in line for the jump course twice before actually having a turn.

We will get there eventually. There was a moment there where I thought we were just going to wait in line all morning. I’m glad we didn’t.

It was a nice Saturday morning. I love our YMCA. They take care of us.

What were you up to this weekend?

Family Night

As a parent on a budget I often struggle to find low, or no cost things to do. It is easy to go and spend lots of money, even when you have just a small family.  Being on a budget makes cheap family nights a necessity.


Out of this necessity, I created what has quickly become a family tradition.


Pajama Movie Night!

So what makes Pajama Movie Night special?


Here are our basic rules;

  • You must wear pajamas (adults included)
  • You get snacks mommy and daddy would not typically let you have
  • You watch a movie


I told you they were basic. Beyond that there is a little bit more to it.


You can get your kids snacks that are still healthy (if you want). I just try to give them things they don’t get during the week, so that they are special. You can see the inside of one of our snack bags below. The kids got Whales, Animal Crackers, and Veggie Sticks.


We try to get them a new movie they haven’t seen before. Think Redbox, a borrowed movie from a friend or neighbor, but really in a jam, any movie will do. Even that one they have seen 100,000 times.

Now that we are past the basics let’s make it even more special.


What do I mean?


Here in San Diego county for the summer they offer a series of free movies in the park. For us that would qualify for a pajama movie night. We take blankets and pillows and lay in the grass.


Our very first Pajama Movie Night was actually at the drive in, with our Jeep. Back seats laid down, blankets and pillows every where, and fun snacks.


Now, however, most of our Pajama Movie Nights are at home. I still make it different from the every day. I take a few blankets and lay them on the floor. Collect all the pillows off the couch and beds. I then arrange them on the floor in front of the couch and TV. Lastly I let each child select a blanket and stuffed animal to keep with them for the movie.


And that’s basically it. Snuggle down, start the movie, and get your snack on.


I realize that this isn’t rocket science, but my kids seriously love it. The squeals and screams that come from the excitement after announcing that there will be a Pajama Movie Night, let’s me know it’s a hit. K2 calls it “Neno night” because the first PJ Movie night we did at home we watched Finding Nemo.


During the summer we did this twice a month, and it didn’t lose it’s charm. Now that the summer is over and so are the movies in the park, we will keep it to once a month.

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