Xavi Turns Two: TWO-rannosaurus Rex Party

My baby is officially a ‘Big Boy’ now!!!

(or so he says)

Our original plan this year was to travel as a family since the holidays were pretty hectic, I wasn’t sure I was ready for party planning stress but then with Marco’s crazy schedule at work and with some prior commitments at Cassie’s school we had to postpone travel plans and so I told Marco that I’d just throw a playdate for Xavi. We’ve come up with a small local mom group here in Muncie and we rotate houses to hold play dates so I figured it would be a perfect time to host a playdate (on the day of Xavi’s actual birthday), at least we could somehow celebrate Xavi’s birthday, right?

Then mom guilt started kicking in, I mean Cassie had a pretty big birthday celebration last October and when she turned two during our first year here in Muncie, we didn’t know a lot of people yet even then we had a big party for her. I almost considered just having a small party at Escapades like when he turned One but I wanted to be comfortable at home so exactly 5 days before his birthday I decided a theme for the playdate and officially made it a playdate birthday party by sending out an invite.

 

Dino Invite Template we got from Zazzle

Everything was going to be last minute so I decided on a theme that would be easy to execute and since Xavi already got a dinosaur suit from Pilica for Christmas and a dinosaur balloon that we didn’t get to inflate, might as well go with that theme. I also used pretty much all of his dinosaur toys to somewhat decorate the place. The rest of the supplies were from the dollar store and Walmart and I did a bunch of easy DIY projects that I will touch on in this blog post.

First dino toy spotted as a centerpiece, I randomly just put them all over the place.

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For the backdrop, I just used two different shades of green crepe paper rolls that I got from the dollar store and Walmart. I cut long strips just above floor level (or however long you want the strips) and taped them on the wall alternating. I printed some leaf templates I found on line on different shades of green colored construction paper and placed them on top of each other so I could cut them all at once. I did the same for the dinosaur prints but this time on brown colored construction paper, decorate as desired.

Above are the templates I used for the backdrop I made for Xavi’s birthday, Click on them to use.

We ordered our goodies from our favorite chef here in Muncie, Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie and I was so glad that she was still able to do our order considering that we asked her last minute.

Dino toy #2 spotted along with the white chocolate pretzels aka “Dino Fossils”

Xavi’s chocolate Dino cake

Toy #3 spotted with the letter board

I reused the ballon garland strip from Cassie’s birthday and just popped all the leftover balloons from her birthday. I bought 12-pack green and gold balloons from Walmart and  15-pack white balloons from the Dollar Tree and filled the strip up once I inflated them. The big dinosaur balloon was the one we got from Pilica and you can get that at your local Target.

Loot bags were done last minute as well, we had left over sandwich bags from Cassie’s birthday and I searched for a random baby T-Rex online to put on it. I would’ve done a whole lot more if I had the time (like a hatching egg or maybe dino foot print thank you tags ) but then again, its supposedly just a a playdate, right?

We threw in our favorite chocolates in there and I found some ‘dinosaur themed’ items to just tie in the theme— crayons, stickers, erasers, slap bands, dino goo and finger puppets.

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Above is the printable we used for the loot bags. Image c/o Shutterstock.com

Dollar Tree FTW! Dinosaur paper plates and napkins, the things you find at your dollar store.

Love how we found this Cat and Jack Triceratops sweater on clearance at our local target.

You know the kids are having fun when they make a lot of mess. Haha.

Xavi enjoyed his chocolate birthday cake from Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie. The kids always enjoy getting your cake, cupcakes and sugar cookies.

And Daddy made it home! Marco was long call today so he came home late, we waited for him so Xavi could blow his candle and slice the cake.

Ninang Telly is in town!!!

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As usual Tita Ditas spoiling the little boy. 🙂

Perfect way to end Xavi’s birthday, Mexican night with the Rousseaus.  I had my frozen margarita so it’s all good.

And that wraps it up guys, I hope those templates will somewhat help you throw an awesome Dinosaur Party. I know it made Xavi’s playdate look like a planned party playdate even if it was done last minute.

~Rhea

Cassie Turns Four: Enchanted FOUR-est Party

This was another last minute party but surprisingly it didn’t stress me out as much as I thought it would. The reason why it became “last-minute” was because Cassie wanted to take part in the party planning this year, she’s FOUR now and of course she wants to have a say in EVERYTHING. So originally she wanted a Unicorn Party and then considered an LOL Party and then a Frozen Party and then we went to the Minnetrista Fairies, Sprites and Light event and that did it for her, we were doing a Fairy Party. Oh and I decided to put my foot down that’s how we finally agreed with the theme, but she was a bit concerned that some of her boy guests wouldn’t come because it was “too girly” so we called it an Enchanted FOUR-est party instead of a fairy party which gave us more wiggle room to include some woodland creatures.

Fairy Invite Template from Zazzle
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The outside set up for the kids

The Set Up

I moved Cassie’s teepee outside and layered some cheap rugs from Five Below to cushion the area. I also draped a floral leaf garland that I found on clearance at Joann Fabrics to match the floral centerpieces on the table which by the way we found at our local Goodwill for $2.99 per arrangement. How lucky were we when we found 4 pieces of those a day or two before her party.

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Those tables were stacked up wooden pallets that I found on FB marketplace and we got it for $3/ piece, there were 8 pieces in this set up. We were so lucky too coz he was the only one selling a ton of similar sized wooden pallets within our area.

I totally forgot about covering the pallets until I finished arranging them (didn’t want the kids to accidentally get splinters), then I realized I didn’t have any table cloth or just any cloth long enough to cover the whole thing. So I rummaged through ,my linen closet and found some quilts we weren’t using at that time, its crazy how you find the most random things at home just when you need them. The pillows were obviously from the living room and I just threw them in there to complete the look,  I would’ve added more if I had more lying around, haha.

The fairy wings from the Dollar Tree made the perfect backdrop and it was so accessible for the kids to grab whichever color they liked (also to take home)

The pop up white canopy tent we purchased from Amazon. Click here for the link.

Made some floral head dresses for the girls and found some Animal Headbands from Dollar Tree for the boys. It’s been ages since I’ve made headdresses so I tweaked them a bit and used floral wire which wasn’t the best move since it made them flimsy but at the same time I didn’t want them to be too stiff and too hard around the girls’ head so I went with it. Here’s my original DIY tutorial from 6 years ago.

Imagine this set up without the greenery, that was what it looked like 30 minutes before the party. I totally forgot about the backdrop and thought it would look fine with just the balloon but it looked so bare. I went to the backyard and started scouring the area for overgrown plants that would go well with the theme, I literally cut the overgrown branches and just taped them on the wall and voila! I couldn’t believe the final touch to Cassie’s dessert table was just sitting in our backyard, and it was FREE too.

The real live flowers on the cake complemented the greenery backdrop I made

Marco loves the red velvet cupcakes the best, I think next time we should try ordering a red velvet cake.

This has got to be one of our favorites from Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie. A lot of people loved the cake, some loved the cupcakes best and of course the kids thought the cookies were the best. They all agreed though that these goodies were pinterest worthy, the best part is the taste lives up to its looks.

DIY Loot Bags:

Brown Paper Sandwich bags, scissors, artificial flowers, woodland creatures printable, Roll of Jute twine, hole puncher, paper doilies and Thank You tag printable

Best part is you can find all of these at your local dollar store unless of course they’re out of stock (except for the printable)


I had two sets of loot bags ready for the guests, I had some floral ones (in the back) and some woodland creatures up in the front to distinguish which ones were for the girls and which ones were for the boys.

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The ‘Thank You’ cards I found  online from Blooming Homestead and printed last minute, of course it took time to cut them, punch holes and tie them onto the loot bags but I finished just around the same time the first guest walked in, talk about a buzzer beater.

I set up an arts and crafts section on the side where they could paint their own fairy houses or design their own fairy wands

We were so worried about the weather but God kept his promise and made it a perfect day—not too hot, not too windy, not too sunny, not too cloudy…just right!

I wish I took more pictures of the kids in the bouncy house because the kids literally had so much fun with it. A special shout out to Boogie Bounce, LLC , for coming all the way from Indy if I’m not mistaken and for giving us a very reasonable rate, their service was 100% excellent. I was honestly surprised they didn’t charge me all those crazy add ons the bouncy house companies here in Muncie were charging me— like delivery fee (what for? we’re in the same city?), set-up fee ( I guess they expected us to blow that dang thing) and after office hours fee ( yeah, someone was charging us more if rental  went beyond 4 pm on a weekend). They (and I mean a dad and his daughter) came in early to set up the bouncy house, gave us the rules (pretty basic like no sharp objects in there, no wearing of shoes while bouncing inside), as soon as everything was up they left and they were nice enough to leave the bouncy house until morning the next day without additional charge.

Time to blow her candle!

She was sooo happy her classmates and her playdate buddies could come.

My last minute DIY fairy house piñata made out of recycled boxes, left over crepe paper roll, left over ribbons, left over artificial flowers and a whole lot of glue.

Our little guests sporting my hand made headdress.

Never complete without our silly faces family photo.

…And the Birthday Girl is out.

Little brother followed suit

Thanks to everyone who made Cassie’s special day extra special, thank you for coming to the party, for spending time with her and for celebrating out little girl. I also want to give thanks to our family and friends who couldn’t make it, thank you for your birthday greetings and your prayers, you made one little fairy girl extremely happy.

Happy Birthday Cass! Daddy, Mommy and Xavi love you so much, hope you had a blast!


Thanks for reading up guys!

~Rhea

Playhouse Halloween Makeover | Halloween Decor on a Budget from DOLLAR TREE

*DISCLOSURE:  This post is NOT in anyway sponsored by Dollar Tree.

The kids playhouse has been due for a fresh coat of paint but since we were out for the most part of summer, we never got around to painting it. I figured in it’s current “grungy” state, we might as well start decorating it for Halloween. If you’ve been following us for awhile you know how much we try to enjoy this season with all the opportunities to play pretend and dress up. Well, this year we decided to “dress up” the playhouse as well but challenged ourselves to decorate the playhouse with a $25 budget and we all know shopping at the dollar store is probably the only way to get this challenge done so the kids and I headed to our local Dollar Tree and this is what we ended up getting.

4 Halloween Themed Flower Stems

2 2-pack glittery spiders

2 Black Creepy Cloth

2 White Creepy Cloth

2 Hanging Ghosts

1 BEWARE sign

1 spider web with spider decor

2 rubber rats

2 styrofoam Pumpkins

2 styrofoam tombstones

2 plastic skulls

2 plastic skull fence

1 cauldron pail

The talking doorbell was on clearance from BIG LOTS post Halloween from two years ago. I bought it for less than $5.

Here’s the BEFORE and AFTER for comparison.

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BEFORE

AFTER

Here are the back details of the house 🙂

Xavi and Cassie enjoying their mini haunted house

I’m sure we could have gotten more stuff from the Dollar Tree since they had a lot to offer like string lights shaped like skulls, pumpkins and bats, giant spiders, clip-on bats, etc. but a challenge is a challenge besides I’d like to think less is more.

How did we do with the 25-dollar challenge? Not bad right? I know Halloween is still a ways to go but I hope this inspires you and your kids to decorate your cubby house this Halloween season. Enjoy!

~Rhea

Easter Basket Ideas 2019: Toddler Girl & Boy

Heads up: This year’s Boy/ Girl Easter basket ideas are more or less going to be similar just coz I try to be fair when it comes to giving my kids stuff so forgive me if the options are limited. Also the ideas I put on here are more or less the items I have in Cassie and Xavi’s Easter baskets, the list might be missing some items that I decided not to put on here and some I might have already given them prior to Easter just coz this mommy couldn’t say ‘No’ but most of these items I’ve tried and tested so I do recommend them. This post is NOT SPONSORED in any way.

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1.  Petits Et Wooden Car Plate ||

Last year, I got Cassie a wooden ducky plate (her choosing) and it was a hit so I’m getting Xavi his own wooden plate so they can stop fighting over it.

2. Moonlite Storybook ||

We got this as a gift for Christmas and they can’t seem to get enough of it so I ordered more stories for the mobile projector. For the Disney lovers, they already have Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh stories too.

3. Blessed Friends Forever Jesus Pillows ||

If you’re Catholic or Christian I guess it wouldn’t hurt to remember the real reason for our Easter Celebration, instead of those cute little bunny plushies (that I always fall for) , why not have a Jesus huggy-pillow for your kids. They also have ‘Saint Buddies’ on there, if you want to check them out.

4. Baby Bench Cologne- Jellybean ||

You probably haven’t heard of this brand just because its a local Filipino brand but I swear this line of baby cologne is so good and is gentle on kids. I’ve used it on mine and they ALWAYS get compliments considering that there were times when I didn’t bathe them. (hahaha). But then again fragrance is subjective, you might want to check them out yourself and you would probably find them in your nearest Asian Grocery (the big ones).

5. Little People Big Dreams Book (Muhammad Ali) ||

I’m happy to see that this series added boys/ men’s life stories to their collection. Its always a good read when its something that can serve as an inspiration or motivation to my kids.

6. Hearth and Hand Wooden Bowling Set ||

This target brand has come up with fun and aesthetically pleasing wooden toys for kids ever since it came out and as usual this season they didn’t disappoint.This is, bar none, the cutest bowling set I’ve ever seen.

7. Native Shoes ||

We got ours recently from a thrift shop for $3.50 but these pair of shoes are soooo worth it. They’re comfy and they stay on for the most part unless your kid has something against shoes. They’re also perfect for spring and summer.

8. Ducky Street Kid Friendly Tattoos ||

We’ve tried them personally and my kids have not gotten any allergic reaction to them, they have the cutest designs both for girls and boys and they last longer than stickers.

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1. Hunter Boots ||

Rain or shine or snow these pair of boots have lasted Cassie so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ll keep seeing this in other bloggers’ ‘ Easter Basket Ideas’ for years to come because they’re really comfortable and durable. I have my own pair and I love them!

2. Ducky Street Kid Friendly Tattoos ||

Mermaids, Unicorns and Llamacorns—yep, Llama-Unicorns, Llamacorns! Did I mention that you can easily take them off if you wanted to? Just grab a wet wash cloth and rub gently while your kids take a bath.

3. Moonlite Storybook (Rose Gold) ||

If you have a girl and you love this too, you might want to know that they have a Rose Gold option now. I don’t need convincing since I am a big fan of ‘Rose Gold’ myself.

4. Baby Bench Cologne- Bubblegum ||

Although the scent says Bubble Gum please don’t expect the actual cologne to smell like bubble gum, this has a mild floral scent to it but we’ve used this for years and just like the ‘ Jellybean’ one Cassie’s gotten the ‘ She smells so good’ compliment every single time. It also lasts the entire day.

5. Flower Sunglasses ||

The girls will look so cute in these and they will be rockin this during summer, I will link one that I found on amazon for cheap but the one I got Cassie was cheaper and I got it from Target’s dollar section.

6. Basketweave shoulder bag ||

The link on here is not the exact one that I got Cassie, I got hers from Crazy 8 for less than $10 since all the Crazy 8 stores are closing but can we all just agree that these basket weave shoulder bags are the cutest.

7. Little People Big Dreams Book (Mother Teresa) ||

I’ve  been waiting for this book to come out just coz Mother Teresa has been an inspiration especially to a lot of Catholics, I would want my daughter to know about her and I wouldn’t mind if she picked her as a role model.

8. Hearth and Hand Gardening Set Caddy ||

From, kitchens to doll houses and farm houses, Hearth and Hand creates the cutest pretend play sets. They don’t just make the kids fall in love with their toys, even the moms are crazy about them and this is no exception. I don’t do gardening but this caddy will spark my interest.

 

~Rhea

 

Xavi Turns One: 3,2,(1) ONE…BLAST OFF!

ONE….. I cannot believe my little boy tuned one. Even before celebrating Xavi’s birthday I already felt bad. They say second born children don’t get as much ‘attention’ as the first but Marco and I wouldn’t really know coz we both are the first from both sides. I would beg to differ but looking back, Cassie had things she didn’t even need until she turns 4, Xavi on the other hand gets stuff when he needs it (desperately), you get what I mean. It’s not necessarily bad but its the truth, we have the tendency to go all out on the first.

Xavi's Invite
All edited on powerpoint

For Cassie’s birthday, Marco and I DIY-ed a bunch of things, we planned her first birthday at least 6 months in advance but then again we still lived in Houston, we knew a lot of people, Marco was still reviewing for his USMLE, I was working part time and we still lived with my parents so we had all the time and all the guests to invite. This time around it was different, it’s only our 2nd year here in Muncie and we’ve only started establishing relationships and meeting people with kids like us. Marco is busy working and I stay at home with both of them so that doesn’t really give us any time to prepare but then again we don’t really have a lot of people to invite so we opted to do it at a play place, Escapades. It’s simple, easy and convenient, I wouldn’t have to think of what to serve the guests since we had to order from their menu, I don’t have to figure out how to entertain the kids, plus they had beautiful murals in their party rooms and I said “hey, since we don’t have a theme for Xavi’s birthday yet let the mural be the deciding factor” , so outer space it was. Escapades had three party packages to choose from but since most of Xavi’s guests were little like him we opted for the simplest one. The cake was already part of the package but I wanted that to be extra special, I approached my go-to local cake maker but Chef Maggie had a lot of things going on and she referred me to her friend another local cake maker and the cake, the cupcakes and the sugar cookies were a hit. Not only did they look pretty but they were De-lish-shooooos!

For party favors, I’ve learned from my mom how important it is to somewhat be in theme with the party so I ordered a bunch of stuff online, I’ll link some of the ones I got from Amazon on here: Rocket Ship Bubbles , Outer Space Stamps, Outer Space Rubber Duckies and then I got some the Outer space bouncy balls and small green alien from our local Party City.  I threw in some Milky Ways, Pop Rocks anything that would somehow give out the ‘Outer Space’ vibe and added just a bunch of other random treats for the kids. I figured I’d leave it up to the parents to figure out which ones NOT to give their kids.

The blue paper bags I got from our local Dollar Tree and I browsed online for an astronaut image I could paste on it, the little “Thank You” labels I also got online, I edited it to make it small and added the ‘Thank You’ caption on it and there you have it, personalized party favor bags.

And then we ended up adding more kids and I didn’t have enough party bags so I had to make a different set of goodies since I was too scared the party favors might not make it on time even if we ordered them with prime so here’s the other set. Thank God I still found some alien squishies from Party City, I had to get regular bubbles and make do of whatever treats were available.

The first time I made a DIY piñata was for Cassie’s first birthday and I said to myself I was going to make that into a ‘party tradition’ of mine, somewhat like ‘Mommy’s Labor of Love’ . So far the only time I’ve missed was for Cassie’s third birthday and the only reason why I didn’t make one was because we decided to do a trip instead of having a real party so I don’t know how I pulled it off but here it is, I know it looks easy but it’s been more than a year since I’ve made one and this shape is probably the most complex out of the three I’ve made.

Without further ado, here are some photos from his birthday at Escapades. I wish I could’ve taken more pictures with the guests but we were at a play area so the kids were busy running around and enjoying the place.

The simplest and quickest dessert table I’ve set up, a good 10 minutes or maybe 7. hahaha. The moon cake, stars/alien cupcakes and moon sugar cookies we ordered from a local bakeshop called Concannons as back up for the galaxy set I ordered. Actually if you get a party package from Escapades, you get a Concannons birthday cake with that and I thought that would be great for Xavi’s smash cake. And since we were getting a cake from them I figured why not order a different set of cupcakes and sugar cookies so they ended up making the stars/alien cupcakes and the moon and star sugar cookies ( I decided not to display the stars).

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Did I not say that Escapades has awesome murals? It’s more impressive up close and the best part is you don’t have to worry about your party backdrop, its already built-in.

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My little astronaut enjoying his balloons, we got his costume on Amazon too and it fit him perfectly. I’m also linking it here.

Quick family photos before the kids started to reach in for the goodies. I love it when the guests enjoy the dessert table, even if this was just a simple one.

Thanks to my parents for flying all the way from Houston just to celebrate their 1st grandson’s First Birthday, that meant a lot to us.

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A moment with my little boy before blowing his candle.

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Thanks to the Rousseaus for always being there for us.

Xavi with Tita Ditas, missing Tito Steve in the picture.

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Poker face with Daddy, someone’s getting sleepy

His sister had to help him blow his candle. Happy Birthday Xav!

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We also did the piñata before the birthday boy fell asleep. I designed a pull-a-string one to avoid any injuries with the kids. We know how crazy it can be with that piñata stick.haha

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He fell asleep as soon as grandy carried him, he was sleepy alright.

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The gift table, spot the ‘Under the Sea’ mural from the other side of the room

We had to open gifts at home.

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…but this little boy didn’t want to get messy, a few icing on his mouth and the rest were just in his hands and he refused to lick them. Haha, Smash Cake FAIL.

Again, thanks to everyone who made it to our little boy’s First Birthday, your presence made his day extra special!

~Rhea