Nov 20

Elmo Birthday Party

Elmo birthday party ideas- Create a unique street sign for the party table focal point
In case you are new around this party joint, our Thanksgiving party is always paired with Leah’s birthday party, and her current love affair is with Elmo. Challenge accepted! I pulled out my red tote and started planning all things Elmo… on a budget. Like, a major budget because I was technically spending someone else’s money. I might save more of my own cashola if I pretended every party budget was coming out of someone else’s pocket. Ha!

Michael’s birthday surprise is the sponsored portion of this post, but the Elmo birthday party is all mine. 

Elmo birthday party ideas- keep the party favors simple with cheap read along with Elmo books

Elmo Birthday Party Favors

Since this was a party for a two year old, I kept the party favors simple. I stuffed a bit of white tissue paper in the bottom of the leftover bags from our Dr. Seuss party to give the illusion of ‘being full’ before placing a small book in it. I found two packs of ‘Read with Elmo’ books in the dollar section at Target, so each favor was maybe .75. And that’s a huge maybe.

Elmo birthday party ideas-  cover a styrofoam ball with red boas to create an Elmo head

Elmo Birthday Party Decorations

I wanted a few high impact decorations to drive the Elmo theme home so I opted for the street sign and this Elmo topiary. The topiary reused one of the red vases from my Dr. Seuss party (having now been used in 3 parties), I painted a wooden dowel that was leftover from a previous project, and covered a Styrofoam ball in red feather boas. (Estimated cost = $6)

The street sign was just over $10, but it doesn’t have to be. Use whatever time you have before your party to think of alternative supplies if cost is a big concern. The ball at the top of the sign? That sucker was $4 at Home Depot! The baluster? That was $5 at Lowe’s! Michael was able to make the base from old boards in the basement, and the rod was the same rod from the topiary.

And that was it for Elmo specific decor! Keepin’ it simple!

Elmo birthday party ideas- red chocolate covered cookies with candy noses and eyes

Elmo Birthday Party Food

Are these chocolate covered cookies not adorable? OMG! I am so in love. The red chocolate ran about $2, the candy eyes were $2, the cookies were $1, and the M&M’s were $1.83. So, for under $7, I could have stopped at one treat. Except I didn’t. You know one treat is not enough for this very pregnant lover of sugar.

Elmo birthday party ideas- red chocolate covered pretzels with candy noses and eyes
So, I moved on to chocolate covered pretzels with the same bag of chocolate and M&M’s. The pretzel rods were $1 and I spent another $2 on candy eyes. BUT! BUT BUT BUT! Elmo pretzel rods are not easy to make. They will test your patience.

Tips:

  • Dip a bunch in chocolate so they have time to cool down.
  • Place one eye so it touches the parchment paper. Then, place the other eye so it sort of rests on the first eye. If you don’t, it will slide off. Promise. We had a few Elmo rods in need of some serious love from a bottle of eye drops.

Elmo birthday party ideas- red chocolate covered strawberries with candy noses and eyes
The chocolate covered strawberries looked a bit more like something from Veggie Tales, so skip them unless you love yourself some chocolate covered strawberries. We did have to open a second bag of $2 chocolate, there was another $2 spent on candy eyes, and we will estimate $2 for strawberries.

Elmo birthday party ideas- Use red, orange, and yellow for your colors
And of course we had cake! During one of my MANY clearance shopping trips, I scored an Elmo cake pan on clearance. You’re not surprise, right? Ha! I gave the pan to my aunt and she worked her tasty magic.

Elmo birthday party ideas- dress up your drink station with construction paper eyes and noses

Elmo Birthday Party Drinks

  • Water bottles wrapped with red duct tape.
  • Punch ($2)
  • Red cups ($2?)
  • Orange and yellow silverware with a paper straw, wrapped with a red napkin and a bit of black construction paper. ($3?)

All in front of the red and orange feather boas I used in my NickMom bachelorette party. Reuse! Reuse! Reuse!

Elmo birthday party ideas- add construction paper eyes and nose to a dispenser full of red punch
 To keep the budget down, I used black, white, and orange construction paper for all of the faces. Brilliant? I think so! Just slap a bit of glue or tape on the back and call it a day!

Elmo birthday party ideas- yellow and orange silverware wrapped with a red napkin
I opted for a hodge podge of silverware colors because quality silverware is SO expensive! I had red napkins, paper straws, and some yellow silverware… but no forks. Forks are sort of important, so I bought a package of orange forks and it looked like I planned it that way. You know, because I totally did.

Except not.

Elmo birthday party ideas- Elmo cookies, pretzels, strawberries, and more!
The orange tablecloth is from my sangria party, but plenty stores carry orange, plastic tablecloths. Now, had I had a bit more time, I would have given the party table a backdrop with the paper lanterns I own to make it feel more like a ‘Mallery party’.  I’m a little fussy when it comes to parties. Tee hee!

Money saving tip: Don’t forget to save boxes for your different wrapping paper covered tiers!

Michael playing with his LeapTV #LeapTV #MommyParties
Michael is finally to the point where he wants to play video games. Heck, I want him to play video games! I love a good MMORPG so telling him he can’t wield a controller would make me a hypocrite. What I worry about is introducing the sedentary gamer lifestyle before he hits his teens. I mean, I absolutely understand what his teens look like, but he has many years before hitting that point.

For now, his LeapTV allows him to play video games, learn something, and stay active. I’m a genius and he is happy.

Mom thoughts:

  • The controller is so much easier for little hands to hold.
  • The audio instructions help Michael follow along.
  • Easy to setup.

Do a girl a favor and pin this Elmo birthday party!

Elmo birthday party ideas that won't break your party budget
 

Nov 17

Easy Pinup Hairstyle from Everyday Looks

This pinup hairstyle tutorial has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Always greet your husband with a pinup hairstyle and smile #HeartMyHair #shop
I have stomached through months of awkward bobby pin riddled ponytails because I committed to letting my hair grow during my pregnancy. You see, I adore the classic looks from back in the day, but you need longer hair to create them. Yes, believe it or not, I avoid the urges to chop off my new locks because I have the best hair stylist/teacher/friend ever! I have come a LONG way in the girl department and I’m okay with it.

Which is why I thought it was time for me to share my novice routine with the world. Sure, I might not be a pro when it comes to hair, but I do have a few tricks that help me with the (lazy girl) beautifying process.

Shall we get started?

Using the Infiniti Pro by Conair® 3Q™ Brushless Motor Dryer before starting my pinup hairstyle. #HeartMyHair #shop
Start by drying your hair however you see fit. Personally, I am in love with my new Infiniti Pro by Conair® 3Q™ Brushless Motor Dryer because I hate drying my hair more than anything. It’s lightning fast, yo! My bent over dry time has dropped to about 3 1/2 minutes, and my round brush dry time is now a few seconds over 5 minutes.Winning!

Cutting the dry time for my pinup hairstyle in half with the Infiniti Pro by Conair® 3Q™ Brushless Motor Dryer. #HeartMyHair #shop.jpg
This is where I encourage you to look past my Einstein look and to not fear any frizz. We will handle that soon enough.

 Using the Infiniti Pro by Conair® Curl Secret® to give myself everyday curls before starting my pinup hairstyle. #HeartMyHair #shop
Next, I divide my hair so it’s easy to grab 1 inch sections and get to work curling with the Infiniti Pro by Conair® Curl Secret®. I wanted tighter curls so I positioned it close to my scalp with high heat selected.

And the frizz I mentioned earlier? Gone. Scroll down if you don’t believe me!

Starting my pinup hairstyle with the Infiniti Pro by Conair® Curl Secret® #HeartMyHair #shop
Viola!

Using two tools (Conair Curl Secret & Conair Pro 3Q) I am able to create everyday curls that will last me a solid 3 days. Oh… and… the other parents at drop off have no idea I woke up this way on days 2 and 3. It’s our little secret. (ba dum tsk)

Part the front of your hair into 3 sections for your pinup hairstyle #HeartMyHair #shop
If you are feeling a bit more sassy, you can kick your easy look up a notch with the pinup hairstyle portion of this tutorial.

I like to part the front of my hair into 3 sections, with the bulk of my hair pulled back so it isn’t in the way.

 Roll each section around your finger and secure with a bobby pin for your pinup hairstyle. #HeartMyHair #shop
No matter whether you call them pin curls or victory rolls, you have to practice to get them right. The easiest way to make pretty rolls on your own head is to tease the inside of the roll, spray it with a bit of hairspray, and smooth it with your comb. Then it’s a matter of wrapping that section of hair around 1-2 fingers before securing it with a few bobby pins. Finish off the look with a quick paddle brush through your undercarriage and a healthy dose of hairspray.

It will make more sense if you watch the video tutorial.

 Easy pinup hairstyle for a busy mom #HeartMyHair #shop
See? It isn’t complicated once you get the hang of rolling your hair. Please don’t get frustrated and give up if you don’t get it right away! Rolls are like snowflakes, no two are ever alike.

Transform your everyday curls into an easy pinup hairstyle #HeartMyHair #shop
Riddle me this. Would you like to see more vintage inspired hair tutorials? Just let a girl know and I will make it happen.

Unfortunately I don’t wake up with an automatic pinup hairstyle #HeartMyHair #shop
Also, I wasn’t lying to you when I said I honestly wake up with a head full of curls. This is exactly how I spend every single morning. I’m covered in cat hair, wearing a sports bra, rocking the face mask, and watching cartoons with my main man. All I have to do is fluff my curls and tame any crazy curls with a bobby pin before I take Michael to school. I’m all about streamlining the mornings!

(Note: These are the curls I end up with after the pinup hair. The curls are SO much tighter if I stop at the everyday curls look.)

Shopping for Conair supplies at Walmart #HeartMyHair #shop

You will find all of the tools used in this tutorial at Walmart. Keep the shopping simple, ladies!

Shopping List:

  • Conair 90 pack Bobby Pins
  • Conair Velvet Paddle Brush
  • Conair Professional Round Brush
  • Infiniti Pro by Conair® Curl Secret®
  • Infiniti Pro by Conair® 3Q™ Brushless Motor Dryer

Do a girl a favor and pin this pinup hairstyle tutorial!

Easy pinup hairstyle tutorial #HeartMyHair #shop

 #HeartMyHair #CollectiveBias

 Connect with Conair: Facebook – YouTube – Pinterest – Twitter – Instagram

 

Nov 16

Thanksgiving Party Ideas

Thanksgiving party ideas for the hostess who doesn't want to spend the entire morning in the kitchen and who also loves beautiful decorations
The Schuplin Thanksgiving party is special. So, so special because we celebrate Thanksgiving and Leah’s birthday all in one, extravagant shindig. Did you catch that? I’m talking about the type of large and in charge that would send a normal person to the funny farm. It totally gives me a run for my party planner money. Aiyiyi!

Sleep? I’m not even sure what that word means at this point, but seeing at least a month of hard work come together for my loved ones is the most amazing feeling EVAH!

I was compensated for this post, but I throw this party every year, so the ideas are 100% MINE. Mine, mine, mine. 

Do a girl a favor and pin this Thanksgiving party!

Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Carve a reuseable pumpkin from the craft store so you can place a bowl of veggie dip in it
Many people want nothing to do with party planning. Me? Not so much. I thrive off of going from blueprint to execution. Throwing parties for the people I care about makes my heart SOAR.

For this Thanksgiving party, my guests were scheduled to arrive at 4:00, so my appetizers were prepped and ready to feed the masses as soon as their coats reached the closet… because everything was prepped the day before.

I might take a bajillion pictures of everything before the party begins, but I do NOT wake up at 5am to make food. Just, no. I need my beauty sleep.

Thanksgiving party tip: Stalk the autumn clearance at your local craft stores because they move their items EARLY to prep for Christmas. I carved out the top of this faux pumpkin to the point of being able to set a bowl of vegetable dip in it. Simple. High Impact. Reusable for many years.

Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Serving your guests appetizers before dinner

Thanksgiving party appetizers:

  • Vegetable dip and assorted vegetables
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Hot spinach dip with bagel chips and baguettes

I chose a hot spinach dip because everybody enjoys spinach dip, I was able to prep it the day before, and it required a mere 25 minutes in the oven before serving. The vegetables and cheese were sliced ahead of time, and the crackers were on the appetizer table waiting for the event to begin.

Thanksgiving party tip: Prep as much as humanly possible the day before so you are able to sneak in a shower before things get started. Or, in my case, a quick freshen up after oodles of pictures.

Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Dollar Store gold charger, Dollar Store plates, fabric napkins, and silverware
This is where things can get expensive. We had over 20 people in our house. TWENTY! We have china. Heck, we even have multiple, mismatched, hand me down sets of china! What we do not own is 25 matching place settings. One day we will, though!

For now, we use plates from Dollar Tree. Yep, you heard it here folks… Dollar Tree! Do our guests care? Highly doubtful. And all my OCD cares about is whether or not they match. They HAVE TO match.

Thanksgiving party tip: You will also find the gold chargers at Dollar Tree (lowest priced charger out there). Simply paint them a different color if gold doesn’t work for your decor. 

Thanksgiving Party Ideas- How to plan your recipes so you don't spend the entire morning in the kitchen
Let’s talk about the food, mmmkay?

As a kid, I remember my mom waking before the chickens stirred to ensure she had enough time to prep her meal. I did not inherit that gene, nor do I ever want to wake up before 8:00 am on the weekend. No thank you!

So, I do what works for me while providing a tasty menu.

Thanksgiving party food:

Thanksgiving party ideas mulled cider, water, soda, and a cranberry cocktail make the perfect fall themed drink station

Thanksgiving party drinks:

Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Honeybaked Ham saves you time on the food prep so you can focus on the decorations
Would you believe me if I told you I spent about 3 hours finishing up the food before people started showing up? I hope so because it’s true, and YOU can too!

  • Spinach dip: 25 minutes
  • Mashed potatoes: 30 minutes
  • Stuffing: 50 minutes
  • Asparagus: 20 minutes
  • Green beans: 10 minutes
  • Ham & Turkey: 30 minutes

So much winning! Zero stress.

 Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Dessert table covered with a gold tablecloth
Keeping with my theme, the desserts were a breeze. My mom brought the pumpkin pie, and the cookies and apple salad were done the day before. I really hope you guys check out the entire menu because I figured out these secrets through trial and error… and SO MUCH STRESS. Stress all day, every day.

 Thanksgiving Party Ideas- Caramel apple cookies topped with pecans

Thanksgiving party desserts:

This here was the point where I put myself in a food coma and unbuttoned my pants because everything was so dang good.

Shopping at HoneyBaked Ham for my Thanksgiving dinner party

My biggest Thanksgiving dinner party secret of all is … HoneyBaked Ham! Seriously, I love our Flint, Michigan store. The staff was nice last year, just as friendly this time ’round, I was in and out in under 10 minutes, and my only cooking time investment was 30 minutes. I could not be happier with this shortcut!

Trust me.

Follow Mallery Schuplin’s board Thanksgiving Party Ideas on Pinterest.

From now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover when you buy a Ham and Turkey Breast bundle.

Check out this amazing limited time coupon for $8.00 off any Bone-in Ham and Turkey Breast or Boneless Ham and Turkey Breast from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious! (This offer is valid only at the following locations: Rolling Meadows, Orland Park, Villa Park, Morton Grove, Naperville, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Mesquite, Hurst, Lewisville, Houston, Austin, Spring, Clear Lake, Sugar Land, Indianapolis, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Roseville, Birmingham, Troy, West Bloomfield, Livonia, Flint, Dearborn Heights, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Canton Township, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsburg, Monroeville, San Antonio, Bellevue, and Lynnwood. For store addresses click here.)

HoneyBaked Ham is giving away $500 in Gift Cards to some of your favorite places! You can enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nov 13

Color Me Unprepared: My Battle with Nesting

Some women love nesting. They find pleasure in tiny booties neatly lined up on a nursery shelf. Their nurseries look like the Pinterest board they crafted before it was remotely time to squat over a pee stick. They proudly display the beauty of pregnancy on their wall by means of a belly cast. They were destined to be a mommy, and a fabulous one to boot!

I, on the other hand, was not wired this way. Do you know where I nested with Michael? In the overgrown yard of my newly purchased, foreclosed on home. I was 8 months pregnant and finishing anything past painting the walls of our soon to be nursery was so not on the agenda. I cared more about how to get the baby out of my mammoth uterus than I did where I would put said baby once it was out.

Hindsight…

 Snowball watches over Michael as he naps. #MotorolaBabyMonitor
One might think, being the mom of a 3 year old, I would have my game face on this time. I don’t. I am currently 28 weeks pregnant. Which means I start visiting my lady bits doctor every two weeks. AND THAT means I need to break out the lawnmower and go to town on the leg hairs that have been growing for the past 3 months. Except… I seem to have grown quite fond of my soft ankle biters.

 This is what the nursery of a woman who is awful at nesting looks like #MotorolaBabyMonitor
It’s like I learned nothing with my first tiny human. My nursery is still in shambles. Not even remotely habitable, shambles. I spend my days shopping for super cheap diapers under the notion that the doctor approved me for light gym activity… FINALLY! I mean, the 9 pounds I gained last month had nothing to do with the Double Quarter Pounders, or the doughnuts, or the Hot Pockets, or…

Trust me, I know bed rest is no longer an excuse for the ridiculous amount of weight I seem to be acquiring these days.

The Motorola Baby Monitor is helping me feel prepared for the arrival of my second child #MotorolaBabyMonitor

Even though I spend my days worrying about the number of migraines in my immediate future, I can shout from the rooftops that I OWN A MOTOROLA BABY MONITOR! Yes, me! My new gadget makes me forget about everything we have yet to accomplish. No screen door this time ’round. No more unnecessary trips to the nursery ‘just to be sure’. Nope. I will remote pan, tilt, and zoom from the privacy of my royal throne whenever I am needed. Unheard of, right?

Night vision on the Motorola Baby Monitor #MotorolaBabyMonitor
Sure, right now I use the infrared night vision on my Motorola Baby Monitor to spy on Bandit’s late night hunting antics, but one day… one day the 3.5” screen will be full of real offspring. The kind of offspring with the same DNA. The offspring who will benefit from two-way communication and lullabies.

That is, if I survive the final, glorious weeks of pregnancy. Let the countdown begin!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

Nov 06

Snickerdoodle Cookies

This snickerdoodle cookies recipe is my favorite cookie recipe
Very few recipes have the ability to transform me into a rapid dog. You know, the recipes you cook in the middle of the night to avoid the vultures. The recipes I shove in my face as I prepare them because they are just THAT GOOD. I do not play well when it comes to snickerdoodle cookies.

The boys will hover in the kitchen with pouty faces hoping to eat a bit of batter. Too bad, so sad. Not gonna happen. I begin to feel their hovercrafts once again as I transfer my warm, sugary delights to the cooling racks. Daddy Michael even has the balls to wait in case there is a cookie accident during said transfer. Puhleeze! Like he would get the first nibble!

This snickerdoodle cookies recipe uses shortening instead of butter
This recipe was found in one of our family cookbooks with XYZ scratched out and replaced with ABC. I’m not quite sure which family member is responsible for tweaking it, but they rock!

Snickerdoodle Cookie Ingredients:

– Mix until well blended.

  • 2 3/4 c Flour
  • 2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

– Blend into the shortening mixture.

Roll each snickerdoodle cookie dough ball in a mixture of cinnamon sugar
Next, roll each dough ball in a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Did I measure the cinnamon and sugar? Nope. You see, I had a when toddlers attack moment resulting in ground cinnamon all over everywhere. I was oh so happy. Except not. Soooo… I added the pile of cinnamon to the sugar until it looked like sand. Delicious sand, but still… sand.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Please, for the love of baking, resist the urge to over bake your snickerdoodle cookies! Step away from the timer!

They will look soft when you pull them out of the oven. They might even resemble bloated bellies immediately after you set the cookie sheet down to cool. I need you to trust me when I say to give them 5 minutes to settle before you transfer them to a cooling rack. No one wants to bite into a rock hard snickerdoodle cookie. Not even the dog.

This recipe makes about 40 cookies and I eat at least 20 cookies in the first few days. I know no self control when it comes to these little buggers! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Do a girl a favor and pin this snickerdoodle cookies recipe!

This snickerdoodle recipe makes the perfect crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside snickerdoodle cookie

Nov 02

Cranberry Cinnamon Drink Recipe

I made this cranberry cinnamon drink recipe with Sweet’N Low as part of a series of sponsored posts for Socialstars. #SweetNLowStars

Slow Cooker cranberry cinnamon cocktail recipe for Thanksgiving entertaining #SweetNLowStars #client
Autumn is my favvvvvorite season. I love the cozy clothes, warm smells, perfect temperatures, and the decor! So much yes when it comes to autumn decor! I make apple crisp on the regular. We single handily support the apple orchards by consuming copious amounts of mulled cider. And let’s not forget, Michael gets to play in the leaves because it’s a beautiful photo opportunity. Yes, I dress him in cute cool weather clothes JUST to take pictures of him playing in the leaves.

I have NO shame. None. Zero cares given… as long as I get cute pictures.

Cranberry cinnamon cocktail recipe for Thanksgiving dinner #SweetNLowStars #client
November ’round these parts means two things: 1- I get to throw Leah an amazing birthday party, and 2- I piggyback said birthday party with our Schuplin Thanksgiving. One day, two party themes, so much excitement! At least for me. Not so much for Michael because he has to scrub a dub dub after my tornado party planning is over. And when I say tornado, I mean CHAOS!

A few weeks ago, I was creating my drool-worthy menu and remembered I needed a signature cocktail. I ALWAYS serve a special cocktail to my party guests. It’s one of my commandments. The menu consists of the majority of my Thanksgiving favorites, but it was missing one signature Thanksgiving flavor… cranberry.

So, instead of making cranberries to eat, I opted for cranberries you can drink! Genius? You betcha!

Ingredients for a cranberry cinnamon cocktail. This drink recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner! #SweetNLowStars #client

Cranberry Cinnamon Cocktail Ingredients

  • 64 oz Cranberry Juice
  • 4 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 Oranges, juiced- yielding 1 cup of juice
  • 8 tsp Sweet’N Low
  • 8 oz Rum
  • Orange Slices & Cinnamon Sticks, for garnish

Start by juicing enough oranges to produce 1 cup of juice. I even set aside the 4 halves once I was done juicing them so I could toss them in with the rest of the ingredients. Then, much like mulled cider, you will pour all of the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook for at least 1 hour before serving warm. Prepare to fulfill your basic autumn girl status right along with me!

That’s it.

If you like mulled cider, you will love this cranberry cinnamon cocktail recipe! #SweetNLowStars #client
Does it get much better than a slow cooker cocktail that also doubles as an air freshener? My house will smell amazing as the mulled cider and cranberry cinnamon aromas swirl around our heads! That, and the Sweet’N Low makes it a pretty guilt free drink! I need my guests to save room for the havoc my dessert table will wreck on their diets! People should come in sweatpants or prepare to roll themselves out after the party because there is SO MUCH FOOD on the menu. Go big or go home, guys!

Oh, I should mention that this drink recipe is just as amazing without the rum. A mocktail isn’t as much fun as a cocktail, but it works. You could always set the bottle of rum next to the pitcher with a sign saying ‘proceed with caution’.

Previous Sweet’N Low Cocktails:

Do a girl a favor and pin this cranberry cinnamon cocktail recipe!

Cranberry cinnamon cocktail recipe made in a slow cooker #SweetNLowStars #client
 

Oct 30

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

Artists have created exciting themed enviroments for the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium #SEALIFEMI

If you are just joining my journey, I am a parent ambassador for SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium.

It’s that time again, folks! Time to get pumped. Time to revert back one’s 8 year old self because the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium has begun to fill up its 120,000 gallon ocean tank! Last Friday, I joined a lucky group of children, who were invited to pour a bucket of water into the giant ocean tank, and the media for this construction milestone. I’m not sure if it’s the additional hormones zipping through my system, or the anticipation of the sheer joy Michael will experience as he walks runs from one area to the next, but it was adorable.

Filling SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium's 120,000 gallon ocean tank with water #SEALIFEMI
We were invited to tour the live construction site to see the progress being made inside of the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium. The details were exquisite. After hearing how the artists have been working to create themed environments, and how important it is for the children to learn, I felt energized as I was describing my experience to Daddy Michael over some tasty Panda Express. Because, you know… the aquarium is located right inside the doors of Great Lakes Crossing’s district 7, next to Rainforest Cafe.

Underwater tunnel peering into the 120,000 gallon tank of the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium #SEALIFEMI
Here is the tunnel I was telling you guys about in my last SEA LIFE Michigan post! How cool, right? I don’t care who you are, underwater tunnels are the bee’s knees. They are my favorite because they provide a level of interaction you don’t experience during your daily grind. That is, unless you have a secret underwater tunnel in your basement.

Speaking of interaction, there will be Touchpools where guests are invited to hold a crab or touch a starfish. There will also be touchscreens sprinkled throughout the experience so the kids are able to learn more about the animals they are looking at in the tanks.

Who am I kidding? I could stand to learn a thing or two about the animals, too! My ocean creature knowledge is nearly non-existent. Social media? Yes. Fish. Not so much.

Looking out the window of SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium's underwater tunnel #SEALIFEMI
Keep your peepers peeled because advance tickets will be on sale on the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium website beginning in November. Also, don’t forget about the Young Environmentalist contest, running through November 16, over on the SEA LIFE Michigan Facebook page.

And since there were no pictures of Michael, because I made him go to school, check out the video from the sandbreaking event. Homie was all about everything!

 

 

Oct 23

Gluten Free Baked Parmesan Fries

Here is a simple recipe for baked parmesan fries

They say pregnancy cravings are one way to tell what the sex of your baby will be. Except… there are no studies that tells you what happens when you don’t crave a darn thing. Like, nadda. Does that mean I am brewing up a mighty fine invisible baby? Could it be the next Superman? Who knows.

And then it hit me.

I had a craving for baked parmesan fries! The type of craving I had no recipe for, but I had to have it IMMEDIATELY. (Similar to pickles and doughnuts at 3am.) Which sent me to the kitchen to evaluate my ingredients situation before waddling around figuring out my oh-so-crispy, perfectly tasty, gluten free fries. Consider it pregnancy craving fate. I was meant to inhale these fries during Michael’s nap that day.

You know, because you don’t have to share delicious food if they are out and about roaming dreamland.

Recipe for baked parmesan fries

Pin the recipe for Gluten Free Baked Parmesan Fries

A lady should never share the intimate details surrounding food consumption, but I never once said I was a lady, did I? Au contraire, mon ami! I pillaged half of this batch by the time Michael got home from work and it was wonderful. Sorry, not sorry.

Now that there is a rumbling in your tummy, I should mention that I made these baked parmesan fries for Great Day Farms because I’m one of their bloggers. Meaning… you have to head over there for the full recipe. I know, I know, you hate clicking a bajillion times. This time, though, it’s totally worth the click.

Also, don’t forget to add delicious eggs from Great Day Farms to your Walmart shopping list! You know you wanna.

 

Oct 19

Toddler Eczema Follow-Up

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central to talk about toddler eczema for #AveenoEczemaTherapy. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

Teaching your toddler to apply Aveeno Eczema Therapy moisturizing cream to help manage his toddler eczema
Toddler eczema has rocked my mommy world from the very moment my goodies were sliced and diced. So many tears. So many guilty nights. So much wine. And so much maintenance for a 3 year old. What happened to growing up carefree?

The beauty of writing about our battle with eczema is knowing that I’m not alone. I see how often toddler eczema is typed into a Google search. (In a totally non-stalker kind of way.) I know our struggle hasn’t been in vain. I know that so many of you are also on high alert when it comes to what goes on your child’s skin. This is real life, folks, and quite a nightmare at times.

Managing toddler eczema with Aveeno Eczema Therapy moisturizing cream.

This past summer was pretty calm in the skin arena. Our biggest struggles involved the scrapes and bruises Michael wore like medals of boy honor. We didn’t think much about toddler eczema. There was no need. Well… there was, but the need had turned into something a bit more manageable. I didn’t nag about daily lotion applications, and Daddy Michael became lazy when it came to Michael’s laundry detergent. He even used his body wash on Michael a time or two.

For the record… I freaked the firecracker out. Like, World World style because I would have been the one dealing with the flare up. Amirite, or amirite?

Men.

Adding AVEENO® BABY ECZEMA THERAPY SOOTHING BATH TREATMENT to bath water to help heal toddler eczema

Then Mother Nature decided it was time for autumn weather. Mother Nature decided it was time to turn on the oh so dry furnace without consulting me. I grew anxious. I knew what would follow: dry skin, countless lotion sessions, oatmeal baths, and a flare of toddler eczema. My baby turned into an alligator in a blink of an eye. His poor, rough skin started itching again. There was no smooth as a baby’s butt in this house.

Which is why I knew it was time to step it up to Aveeno® Eczema Therapy products. Again.

Learning how to manage toddler eczema over the years

It is no secret that Michael still uses Aveeno Baby Wash. Why switch from a product that has worked so well for us over the years? Why switch when I have a bundle of joy on the way who will soon be doused in baby wash by his/her older brother? I refuse to learn about toddler eczema the hard way again. Just, no.

We lived. We learned. We are not willing to wait for our next baby to have an eczema flare before becoming aggressive.

Michael’s skin may never be silky smooth but he will never have to worry about fearing lotion because it hurts. Well… that’s the game plan anyway. I hope you are able to find the same peace of mind.

There is only so much wine one can purchase, ya know!

 

Oct 16

DIY Lightsabers

Toddlers playing with DIY lightsabers
You should not be allowed to throw a Star Wars party without lightsabers. There, I said it! Just call me Judgy-Mc-Judgy Pants. Sorry, not sorry.

Lightsabers belong at a Star Wars party like spiced rum goes with cider, and cankles come with pregnancy. Sooooo… let me show you how to be ‘the bestest mom I got’ on the cheap! Take my hand and leave the heavy lifting to me.

How to make DIY lightsabers out of foam and duct tape

DIY Lightsaber Supplies:

Start by wrapping the lightsaber tip with a piece of blue duct tape. I found it to be the cleanest when I snipped the corners so the tape would wrap flat around the sides.

Making lightsabers with duct tape for a Disney Star Wars Rebels party

I was planning on wrapping the duct tape around the foam rod horizontally, but then I woke up to the wonderful world of efficiency. I figured out, by going vertically, it takes 3 long strips of duct tape to cover the lightsaber. One. Two. Three. Done. You’re welcome.

Adding the duct tape handles to the DIY lightsabers

All I had to do for the handle was repeat the tip covering on the other end before repeating the same 1-2-3 process used for the blue side.

Have I mentioned how ridonkulously easy these lightsabers are to make? I cranked out three in NO time.

Dress up station featuring DIY lightsabers for a Disney Star Wars Rebels party

Now, if your Star Wars party is for actual children, not grown children, these lightsabers are perfect for their tiny hands. I know the interwebz is full of pool noodle lightsabers, but they are simply too thick for the hands of little people. These lightsabers, however, were perfect for the toddlers who attended our Star Wars Rebels party.

Boom! Mind blown!

Do a girl a favor and pin this DIY lightsaber tutorial collage!

DIY lightsaber tutorial
 

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