Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Affordable Moana Birthday Party


When I began searching for Moana themed birthday party ideas for my two year old's party, I was underwhelmed. Every Pinterest and Google search revealed extravagant, over-the-top, expensive custom decor. Ain't nobody got time for that! He's turning two; he probably won't even remember it! I wanted him to have a fun day, with a theme from his favorite movie, but I wasn't willing to break the bank to accomplish it. Here's how I threw a memorable party for under $50.

Decorations

I hit the Dollar Tree for decorations. Since his birthday is in June, there were lots of summer Luau themed options. I picked a couple of garlands, a palm tree, a table cloth that looked like a grass skirt, hot pink plastic silverware, spunky colored napkins, and bright flowery plates. I also picked up some colorful leis to double as fun party wear and a take home favor. I got all of it for $15. I reused a 'Happy Birthday' banner I had on hand, and put a couple of fun leftover streamers around it. The only thing that didn't work out like I wanted was the table cloth. I thought it was a full table cloth, and it ended up being just a grass skirt for a table. Had I known, I'd have grabbed an actual table cloth in a contrasting color to add more to my colorful theme.
 


Food

The most important food at any birthday party is obviously the cake! We got this gorgeous cake from Costco ($18). I chose the beach theme, then asked them to leave off all the beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. and just write his name. I picked up the Maui and Moana figurines at Target on clearance for $6 and added them myself. 


Birthday Boy enjoying his cake on his luau themed plate.
 In terms of snacks, I got creative. Here's the menu:

Maui's sun (Pineapple rings, watermelon in shape of sun)
Tamatoa's seafood (goldfish)
PB &Jellyfish/ star fish sandwiches (PB and J cut into shapes with cookie cutters)
Coral Reef (Cheetos)
Lolotai Seaweed (Grapes on a skewer)
Sea Snails (mini hot dogs in crescent roll strips)

To add some flair, I put the grape skewers in the pineapple husk. I put the bright plastic silverware in plastic cups, and put the cutesy named food labels out so people could enjoy my hilarious commitment to theme (also, my niece mentioned she loved my food puns at the last few birthday parties, so the pressure was on!)
For the goody bags, I put blue Sixlets in a snack size bag with goldfish, swedish fish, and gummy sharks.

Going 90s

Overall, I'm really pleased with how it all turned out. The decor made the porch feel nice and festive, everyone loved the food (and my niece was a fan of the continued puns, so #winning!), and our now two year old had a blast. We may not have had a custom balloon arch with life-size Moana cut out, but what would I do with that after the party anyway!? I like 90s style parties, like I had as a kid, with kids running around, yummy cake, and a few decorations. If my kiddos have fun, I'm a happy mama.

How do you like to do your kid's parties?



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Check out my latest post for the Knoxville Moms Blog here!


Small Size, Big Fun Toddlers at Dollywood

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mott's Juice Pouch Review

I received coupons for free Mott's Juice Pouches to try and review. Here is the review!

We tried the Apple Cherry flavor of the Mott's juice pouches. Both of my boys, ages 2 and 4, loved the flavor. I like the pouch shape, as its easy to toss in a bag on the go. It had a good flavor, but they drank it super fast. It was a little difficult to get the straw in the pouch as well. Overall, it was a hit. It's something I can imagine picking up every now and again as a special treat, but not something I'd buy consistently since it didn't satisfy their thirst for long. 

We also usually water their juice down, because they're both extremely active which leads to us needing to make sure they stay hydrated. By watering down their juice, we make sure they only drink the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended amount of juice while also getting plenty of water. I really liked the convenience of having a drink prepared, and all I had to do was grab and go.

Do you have a favorite juice brand? What is it?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Liv and Maddie Love Letter

I never thought I'd get so upset with Disney that I'd take a break from classic Disney Channel shows. But with the cancellation of Girl Meets World, I needed some space to heal for the first time. I loved that show, and I felt it was prematurely cancelled. But time heals, in this case, and after catching bits and pieces of Liv and Maddie, I saw the entire series was on Netflix and have been steadily watching it while folding laundry. Then I got so caught up in it, I started watching it when I was just wanting to chill and watch something. The more I saw, the more I liked, then loved, the show. Here are my top 5 reasons why I'm officially a Liv and Maddie fan.

1. The portrayal of familial relationships is great. While each parent has their weakness, overall they're great parents. They listen without prying too hard, and own up to their prying when they do. They're involved, but also let their kids solve their own problems. The siblings seek each other out for advice, but also give each other a hard time. The parents collaborate and show each other respect and are always there for each other. I love seeing positive relationship portrayals in youth television; it's important to show realistic, healthy relationships. Their family isn't perfect, but it's great, and attainable.


2. They take a more realistic view on things. Sometimes you get hurt at the wrong time. Sometimes long distance relationships don't work out. Sometimes you like your best friend's guy, and then once they break up he's still out of reach because he's your bestie's ex. The right thing isn't always the easy thing, and I seriously respect the show for demonstrating that. They allow the characters to not get everything they want, and to make poor choices and learn from them. There are, of course, unbelievable things that happen (the Parker tunnels, anyone?), but overall, there's a healthy dose of reality not often seen in kids/tween/teen television.


3. Real world issues pop up all the time. When it's pointed out to Liv that reporters don't ask her deep questions about her roles like they do her male costar, she (and guest star Kristen Bell- say what?!) addresses it. When women are ranked by nasty high school boys, the girls react. They don't show the sunny side. They show how societal expectations can affect even  the most level-headed girls (oh, Willow.) When their mini-protest doesn't change the boy's actions, they realize they can't control what people think and say about them, but they can spread the word that objectifying women is wrong.

4. Confession: I love the music. Dove Cameron has some pipes, and she knows how to use them. The songs get stuck in my head all the time. It's not a musical show, but having a main characters that's a singer/actress allows for the occasional song.

5. This little Disney channel show is so empowering. Not only do they teach people of all ages (I know I'm not the target demographic, but their messages totally get me in the feels) that they can make an impact, but they show them how. When Maddie learns an acquaintance is homeless, she takes action. She teams up with someone to build a tiny house out of recycled materials, contacts the city about where it can be, and learns how to apply for grants to make more. If a teenager can tackle homelessness, why aren't we adults? I love that they're showing that every single person can make a difference, if they'll just try.

So, yeah, I'm obsessed with this show. I've only get a few episodes left in the series, because it ended last spring after four seasons. But the entire series is now on Netflix, so you can binge to your heart's content. There are plenty of grown-up laughs to be had, and you're sure to love it.

Are you also a Liv and Maddie fan? What are some of your favorite moments?