Monday, October 29, 2012

DIY Scooby Doo Dog Collars

If I had to pick the biggest hits from the Scooby Doo party, I would say the Case of the Disappearing Cake Mystery and these Scooby Doo dog collars.


To make your own, you'll need:
* Ribbon (I used blue 5/8 inch ribbon cut into approximately 13 inch pieces)
* Velcro dots (I used adhesive velcro dots that I let set for 24 hours)
* Metal rings (found in the jewelry section of my craft store)
* Shrinky Dinks (design your own, plain sheets found on Amazon)

I drew the logo from Scooby's collar using a black colored pencil.  It's two diamonds and the letters "S" and "D," so it was within my artistic ability.  I did leave some blank for kids who wanted to design their own.


Using colored pencils, the kiddos could color their tags.  Then we followed the package directions to "magically" shrink them in the oven.  Don't forget to punch a hole in the tag prior to placing them in the oven or you won't be able to put them on your collar!

Considering the party guests were five and under, this was their first experience with Shrinky Dinks.  It was so much fun for them (and their parents)!

Everyone was so happy with their finished product!


Friday, October 26, 2012

House Hunting

Perfect in time for Halloween is the spooky reality that is my life right now...House Hunting.  Spooky? Yup!

The backstory:  my husband came to the realization that the dream job (working for a record label) he had spent a decade working his butt off to get just wasn't so dreamy.  He was gone most nights, had a horrible commute, and there was a lot of instability in the industry.  Unfortunately, he was kind of limited with his very specialized resume.  This led to the realization that going back to school was the best option.  I whole heartedly supported the idea.

However, Matt going to school full-time and my teacher's salary weren't going to cover our expenses.  My parents were super amazing and agreed to let us move in with them.  Our then family of three (plus two pugs) packed up our stuff and moved back into my parents'.

Violet and me in Long Beach
That was four and a half years ago.  

Matt's now done with school and scored a job immediately after graduation working for the same university he had just graduated from.  We've been saving to finally move back out on our own and with the bank's go ahead, we started looking for houses.

Graduation Day!
In case you aren't shopping for homes right now, here's what is happening (at least in California):  interest rates are really low, but there is a very small supply of homes on the market.  Other than the low interest rates, we are at a big disadvantage.  Since we are working with a modest budget, we are competing with all of the investors who can quite easily pay cash for homes.  Of course, I don't begrudge them.  Score for them!  Suckage for me!

Some of our house options after the jump...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Walt Disney World Moms Panel 2013

Is 2013 the year?  We will see!  

I've made it to Round 2 of Walt Disney World's Mom Panel for 2013.  The moms (dads, aunts, grandmas are also eligible) are a blogging team who answer Disney travelers' questions.  Since I live in California, I'm crossing my fingers that I'm picked to represent the Disneyland Park.

Last year I made it to Round 2 also.  Round 2 involves more written responses with a 100-word limit.  My problem is I normally have way too much to say and spend hours editing it down.  Then I feel like I lost some of the meat of my message.  Guess that's the challenge!

The second part of this round is a 60-second video.  I totally blew it here last year.  I had a short window of time to film it and was really unsatisfied with the results.  Hoping this year's was better.

If selected, I'll be visiting Walt Disney World in December.  That means that everyone will be receiving Disney merchandise for Christmas!  Double win.  I'll let you know when I hear, but keep your fingers crossed until then!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Scooby Doo Party: What We Wore

A family that solves crimes together, stays together!  For the Scooby Doo party, we all dressed up as characters from Scooby Doo.

Here we are as Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy.  After three or four shots, we gave up on trying to get all of us to smile at the same time and let the kids go play.  If you want to admire our super awesome Mystery Machine, check out its creation here.

The birthday girl chose Daphne, most likely because of the purple outfit she wears.  My mother-in-law was kind enough to adapt a pattern to not only resemble the characters, but make it appropriate for partying.  

Daphne's signature tie was replaced with a lime green bow.  Since we've had such a warm October here in California, there's no way a tie would have lasted for more than a minute.  

Harper wore a dress modeled after Velma.  I adored the pleats in the front!  Her glasses were leftover 3-d glasses from a movie theater somewhere that I had popped the lenses out of.  She wore them for the family photo and then I never saw them again.  Literally, I haven't seen them again since.  

Our costumes couldn't have been easier to put together.  Matt found brown cords and a lime green shirt at Target.  He already owned Shaggy's exact shoes, Clark Wallabees.  I wore jeans, a white t-shirt, and a scrap of orange fabric pretending to be an ascot.  


We had such a good time as Mystery, Incorporated!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Scooby Doo Party: The Mystery

No Scooby Doo party would be complete with a mystery to solve!  For Georgia's 5th birthday, the clever party guests had quite a whopper: Scooby Doo and the Case of the Disappearing Cake!

Once it had been discovered that the cake was missing, each guest received a notebook, magnifying glass, and a pencil.  The notebooks came from an office supply store and were decorated with themed messages like "Jeepers."  I ordered the magnifying glasses online.  The Scooby Doo pencils they received came from the dollar spot at Target.

It was really sweet to see these pre-readers trying to scribble down the clues into their notebooks.

In place of the cake was the first clue, "Your cake I did take!  Bounce up or down, and I'll still have the best cake in town!"  Our crime-solvers ran to the jump house with a little help emphasizing the "bounce" part of the clue.

Next, they were told, "Follow my feet to find the next next clue to your sweet treat."  Stuck to the patio floor were footprints I had printed and cut out.  

These led them inside the house (not the roof like they had originally speculated).  Clue three read "Into the front yard.  Never put down your guard."  

Once they found the final clue, which said "It's no mirage...that's me behind the garage" they all raced back to the back yard.  Hiding in the back was the villain, Chris French.  I knew he'd be perfect for the role.  He didn't disappoint with his wig and beard disguise.  Earlier in the party, he made an appearance pretending to rake the yard.  It was very suspicious!

Cooper pulled off the wig to reveal his true identity while Chris spoke the famous Scooby Doo catch-phrase, "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for your meddling kids." 

The cake was safely recovered.  Let's eat!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scooby Doo Party: Mystery Machine

Georgia's Scooby Doo party was a huge success!  I'll be posting different elements from her party, but I'm starting with the photo op Mystery Machine we painted.  

Here are some of the photos from the party:
Don't miss the photo of the amazing uncle who served as a stool!  We hung the Mystery Machine from beams of the patio cover.  The lime green tablecloth were attached to the wall was $0.99.  Since I already had the paint, that makes the grand total spent was $0.99.  Can't beat that!

I started by free handing a Mystery Machine onto a voting booth I had been storing for the perfect occassion.  I naively thought that my children would sit back and observe me painting.  Ha!  It quickly turned into a group project (and an experiment to test my ability to let go).

Harper painting.

 The Mystery Machine about 3/4 complete.  It isn't quite what I had in mind, but it was perfect in the eyes of the birthday girl and that's what matters.

 Guess I should have used a drop cloth.  Whoops.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Georgia's Birthday Parties

Yesterday, my daughter Georgia turned five.  It sounds cliche', but it's so true.  The time really does go by so quickly.  To celebrate her five-ness and to give me an excuse to take a break from getting ready for her birthday party tomorrow, I'm sharing with you a review of her birthday parties thus far.

First Birthday: Halloween
Georgia and her cousin Cooper were born 15 days apart.  We celebrated their October birthdays with a Halloween-themed birthday party.  The sweet babies loved their spider cakes with licorice legs.  Georgia looks like a vampire after digging in to the smile first.  

Second Birthday: Tinkerbell
Fairies and pirates united for a day of fun when Georgia turned two.  I found fairy wings and coordinating tutus at the Dollar Tree for each of the little girls to wear.  Boys wore pirate hats and hooks.  My favorite elements of the party were the glittery fairy wands that lined the walkway.

Third Birthday: Alice in Wonderland
This may be my favorite party yet.  The treats were amazing, if I do say so myself.  Lollipop flamingos, marshmallow pops topped with red chocolate roses, "Eat Me" cookies, heart & blue dress cupcakes were just the start.  My mother-in-law sewed up a storm for this party with the custom Mad Hatter tablecloth and adorable Alice dress.

I used a projector to trace all of the characters also which filled the yard with Wonderland wonderfulness.  

Fourth Birthday: Rapunzel
Georgia loved Tangled, a Disney movie based on the story of Rapunzel.  Pictured plastic tablecloth flags bunting flags with paper flowers.  The party also featured handmade hair bows, mini-donut towers, and a diy piƱata.

The dining room became the Snuggly Duckling.  Since we were close to Halloween, I was able to find fake rats, axes, and gray cheesecloth to make it seem even more shady.

Fifth Birthday: Scooby Doo
The party's tomorrow, and I can't wait to share all the things that make Georgia say, "Jeepers!"