DIY: #Walmartplayhousehack

Since I’ve been getting a lot of DMs about Cassie’s playhouse, I decided to finally blog about the building process and the house details. I’ve always wanted a wooden playhouse for Cassie and one of the main reasons for picking a wooden one instead of the hundreds of plastic options is the fact that you could make it your own. I wanted to have that option of painting and decorating the house like you would with your own home and I wanted it to be something my daughter and I could do together.

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This is the stock photo on the Walmart website.

We bought this Backyard Discovery Timberlake Cedar Wooden Playhouse at Walmart.com when it was on sale right before Christmas. It wasn’t much of a big sale but I’ve been on the watch and so far this was the cheapest it’s been. You can click on the product name above to link you directly to the Walmart website. When we purchased it, this playhouse was $175 and that’s very cheap considering that its a wooden playhouse. Right now (as I’m writing this blog) if you check the website the playhouse now runs for $184 which is still less than $200, still not bad for the price.

So before I decided to paint the house I started looking up Wooden Playhouse Decoration Inspiration on Pinterest and stumbled upon the Kmart Cubby house Hack and if you search on Instagram #kmartcubbyhack, it apparently is a thing that’s been around especially in Australia where parents decorate their kids wooden playhouses into posh, sophisticated, rustic, vintage or farmhouse inspired mini homes. The two houses look quite similar and from my understanding you’re able to purchase the other cubby home from Kmart in Australia for $199 AUS. I thought originally that they were the same size, I know I could’ve easily compared both by looking at their specifications online but based on some photos of the interior of the Kmart Cubby Home, that seems a tad bit bigger and wider to the point where you can put mini shelves. I honestly don’t know but with this Walmart Wooden Playhouse there’s barely any space if you have two kids playing in it already.

My husband, Marco, did most of the assembling but of course I helped, others may say that it’s possible to do it yourself but in our experience it definitely was a two-man job. I’d say the materials were labeled clearly and the instruction manual wasn’t all that confusing so I’ve got no complaints in that department. One day should be enough to build it although it took us quite awhile to build it since we were doing it leisurely during our spare time. We were building it inside our garage.

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The house after we assembled it.

As much as I loved how it turned out, I wanted to make it our own so that’s when I decided to paint it. I was a little undecided with the color scheme but I was sure I wanted gender-neutral colors to suit both Cassie and Xavi so I ended up with your typical black/white combo.I didn’t have to go far for paint, Walmart had the basic black and white (no mixing needed), I literally grabbed them from the shelf and paid for it. With the paint, I wasn’t too particular, in fact I just picked the color and picked the cheapest one. I didn’t bother reading if it was flat, matte, interior/exterior paint, quick dry— we were just painting a playhouse anyway.

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Marco was scared that the paint brushes that I got from the Dollar store were no good but again we were painting a playhouse, the wider the brush the more area it covers in one stroke. You will also need foam brushes to cover the crevices that you can’t reach with a normal paint brush. We didn’t bother sanding the wood prior to painting since it was already smooth to begin with. The paint color, type of paint and paint brush size are all subject to preference. Before you start painting, here are the things you need to do:

  1. Take out/ Unscrew all the house accessories (cooking stove, phone, doorknob, etc) and set them aside in a safe area so you don’t lose any screws
  2. Lift house and put a plastic drop cloth beneath it (or whatever that can protect your floors from messy paint)
  3. Apply painters tape to edges or corners that you don’t want to be painted or repainted. If you’re using tape on a newly painted surface make sure that the area is dry before applying tape.
  4.  PAINT first coat. I would suggest using different set of paintbrushes if you’re going with more than one color and also going one direction when painting, it just looks less messy that way)
  5. Use foam brush to fill in tight spots that can’t be reached by your paint brush.
  6. Once first coat is dry, apply second coat.
  7. Screw in all house accessories that were taken out prior to painting.
  8. DECORATE. Have fun putting up curtains, frames, house number, a bell— anything you want to personalize your playhome.

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In hindsight, it would have been easier to paint the material before assembling it. If you do decide to go this route, make sure that you re-label the wood before painting over the letters, these letters will serve as your guide when assembling the playhouse.

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VOILA! Here’s the finished product.

I’ve linked the metal vases with rope accents that were purchased from Dollar Tree, you can get them online but only in bulk. I also linked in the Grass Rug that we placed under the house, I wasn’t too comfortable with Cassie stepping on possibly rickety wooden planks so this was the cheapest and most practical alternative we could find and this rug can be used both indoor and outdoor, at least I won’t have to worry if it gets rained on. The Greenscapes Grass Rug measures 4×6 and was purchased from Target online for $22.99. We’re still in the process of adding more accents here and there but I think that pretty much wraps up the house building process. If you have any questions about  this #kmartcubbyhack or rather this #walmartplayhousehack send me an email or shoot DM, I would be glad to help.

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Finally my little family is done with this little project.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Rhea

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DIY Winter Maternity Shoot: 37 Weeks

Being pregnant can toy with your emotions and affect your self confidence especially when you’re used to being small most of your life. It’s like one day you wake up and look at the mirror and there it is…that big bump and that large behind. Based on my first pregnancy I already knew that I wasn’t one of those women who carry their babies small, it’s always my behind and my belly that go first; the arms, the face and the rest of me follow.

At 37 weeks I knew I didn’t want my pictures taken because I was scared to see a planet in the photos plus its been snowing here in Indiana and all I wanted to do was stay warm indoors but my sister Pauline convinced me to do them, nothing fancy just some DIY project that we both could work on. And it just so happened that it was her birthday that day and she suggested that we could do my pregnancy photos, how could you say “No” to the birthday girl, right? So I took out my brand new portable makeup train case with the light-up mirror that Marco gave me for Christmas and had Pauline do my makeup.

I didn’t have anything to wear since this was an impromptu thing but having a theater background assured me that I could scrounge up some things I could use for the photos. I’d have to admit it’s not the best but I think it’s pretty okay considering that I didn’t have a lot of winter-apt stuff, I barely could fit any of my old clothes and we were chasing good lighting a.k.a Mr. Sun.

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So here’s what I came up with: my DIY Flower crown from years ago, Tassel earrings on sale at Walmart for $2, my thrifted fur find from a garage sale in 2007, a plain white tank top that barely fits me, a knitted sweater I thrifted from Goodwill, a tulle maxi skirt from the Philippines that doesn’t fit me at all. (unzipped skirt clearly not in photos,haha) and Zara nude flats that I risked in the snow (btw, they survived).

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…And we were lucky enough to have light snowfall while we were taking pictures.

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I’m sharing some of my raw and unedited photos just to continuously remind myself how beautiful and wonderful pregnancy is no matter how ugly I feel inside and out and after I give birth I’m going to make sure that I wear my ‘battle scars’ (aka stretch marks) with pride.

They say the biggest blessings come in small packages, I guess this little one is an exception because this tummy of mine ain’t nothing like a small package. Haha. I can’t wait to meet you my little Xavi.

~Mommy Rhea

Cassie Turns Two: Taco TWOsday

I can’t believe our little baby turned two already. Before Marco and I started planning her birthday celebration, I already knew I wanted to make her a mini dessert table even if we weren’t throwing her a birthday party just to make her feel special. Its only been 4 months since we moved here in Muncie and I haven’t been exactly little Miss Congeniality so we didn’t really have any close friends to invite and I wasn’t too comfortable inviting the neighbors kids since we barely knew them and they were mostly older than Cassie.

At the end of the discussion we both decided that we’d still go to Great Wolf Lodge for Cassie’s birthday trip but we’d still throw a party, sorta like our late house warming/ mini birthday party for her and invite family and Marco’s co-residents (a plus if they had kids, haha). I figured that since we were doing a party anyway might as well come up with a theme and I instantly fell in love with the idea of a fiesta—its fun, its colorful and Mexican food is good and so convenient (or so I thought). Here I was planning a dessert table, I had no idea my husband was planning to cook the entire menu so this party ended up being a LOT of work. We did another Marco-Rhea teamwork and pulled it off.

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I know it isn’t so clear in the photo but the “CASSIE” sign was a last minute DIY project I did a few hours before the party. I covered it with green cut out crepe paper and added some pink mini flowers so they could like like mini cacti.

It was also my first time DIY-ing giant paper flowers and I even used construction paper because I was on a budget but I’m glad they turned out pretty okay. I just made them in different colors so they could go with fiesta theme.

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The fiesta inspired table cover I purchased from Amazon, and I’ve attached the link if anyone is interested. Just a heads up, this isn’t made with fabric but with plastic instead.

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We weren’t really sure if any kids were going to show up but I prepared a few goodie bags anyway. I bought those small bags from the dollar store, filled it up with some candies and small maracas, wrapped it in colorful wrapping paper and cut out some “thank you tacos” I printed out.

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I didn’t know where to get my cake, cupcakes and sugar cookies so I asked mamas in our local mom group and I’m so glad they pointed me out to Simply Patisserie. Chef Maggie made an awesome job making Cassie’s taco cake, flower and cactus cupcakes and taco, cactus and sombrero sugar cookies. You should them see for yourself.

Anyone here in local Muncie looking for a place to get their cakes and pastries I personally recommend Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie and her rates are pretty reasonable. Just click the link above.

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Most of the stuff on the dessert table were from Dollar Tree— the colorful plastic bowls, the purple vases and the bright colored faux flowers. Also on the table you can spot my DIY Taco Piñata, I figured since I made one for her first birthday might as well make her one this year and just make it into a birthday tradition.

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DIY Taco Pinata Details up close

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I wasn’t sure if I was going to make her do a smash cake so I decorated her high chair just in case. I kept it simple by cutting various sizes of different colored crepe paper and I hung it around her tray. I also purchased a giant cactus ballon from Amazon…I mean why not?

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We ended up not doing a smash cake, she decided to pick a cupcake and eat it on her fiesta decorated high chair. Fair enough.

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Of course I had to somewhat decorate the dining area, I figured since Marco wanted to go all out on food, I could do a little bit more on the decorations. Haha.

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Literally everything you see on this table Marco cooked/baked/prepared, I just assisted him (a little bit).

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Here’s Cassie blowing her candles.

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Yay, we actually had a bunch of kids come to her party. She had fun playing with them even if most of them were boys. 😀

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For someone who hasn’t made a lot of friends yet here in Muncie, she still ended up getting a bunch of presents. Thanks to all our family and friends local and overseas for spoiling our little girl on her birthday and making her feel special.

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Last but not the least, here’s a selfie from me and the birthday girl just coz we were twinning. Hope y’all had a wonderful time going through the details of Cassie’s fiesta themed party, thanks for allowing me to share this with you. If anyone of you is throwing a fiesta themed party and is needing some help with DIYs or decorating or maybe you just have a few questions for me, just comment or shoot me an email I’d gladly help in anyway I can.

~Rhea

 

Costumes, Candies …Cassie.

The Autumn season is quite enjoyable but what I really look forward to is the Halloween part of it, sorry to say I enjoy it more than I do Thanksgiving. It might just be the fun and the flair of Halloween that attracts me to it, nothing to do with the origins whatsoever. I’d have to admit it is tempting to enjoy the horror movie marathons they play on tv for the entire month of October, (I think I could binge-watch those) but for me its mostly the fun of dressing up or thinking of what or who you want to be for halloween. Halloween is an excuse to be a kid again, to allow your imagination to run free and play dress up; play pretend.

Technically, this would fall as Cassie’s first “real” halloween, I wouldn’t count last year since she was only a few days old when halloween came around. And it actually works that she’s an October baby, all the more reason to go crazy on her birthday. Haha. I can only hope that she grows up to enjoy the halloween festivities as much as I do—the costumes, the candies, the parties and all the works. I’m starting her young.

Here are Cassie’s costumes in a nutshell, although Mommy didn’t have time to DIY, I think we still came up with pretty good last minute costumes from her closet. Yes, we don’t repeat costumes.

COSTUME #1:

Frida Kahlo

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COSTUME #2:

Pebbles Flinstones

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COSTUME #3:

(this is pushing it but….) Native American Girl

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St. Angela Merici Catholic Church Trunk or Treat

Our church, St. Angela Merici Catholic Church held their annual Trunk or Treat and Cassie and I went as Mommy and me Frida Kahlos. Head dresses were DIYed by me ofcourse. We darkened our eyebrows but erased our unibrows, Marco said I was pushing it. Hahaha.

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Some of the car designs at church

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Grandmy, Mommy and Cassie after Trunk or Treating

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Halloween Town at Sugarland Town Center

Our first time to take part in Halloween Town and it was packed!  It could’ve been a more pleasant experience for us but I guess we just weren’t used to being around that many people and the lines were crazy long. Too long to wait for candies and freebies if you ask me. It was fun seeing all the kids in their costumes though, I’m a sucker for cute babies playing dress up.

We went as the Flinstones this year since I found a good deal from some mommy who was reselling her costumes as a family. Marco and Cassie fit perfectly in theirs although I had to make some adjustments on my costume, everything worked out. Not only are store-sold costumes over priced but they’re usually flimsy and the wigs are outrageously tacky, I had to wrap a scarf around it and pass myself as a  “posh” Wilma Flinstones.

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Cassie is grandy’s girl

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Look who we bumped into

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Pebbles “beautiful eyes”

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And…it’s this girl’s birthday so we had dinner at the Hibachi Grill per the birthday girl’s request

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Sienna Plantation Trick or Treat

I was running out of costumes for Cassie and on the actual day of Halloween I made her a feather headdress that matched one of her rompers and passed her off as a little Indian (Native American) girl.

I had a lot of left over candies  from Cassies birthday and decided to do a last minute buffet-style trick or treat table to make it look more enticing . Mom dressed up as a Chinese lady (yes, we definitely have Chinese blood so we’re not being racist) and she had to guard the table since some of the kids tend to get a lot more than they’re supposed to.

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The first ever pumpkin that Marco carved

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I joined in the fun and dressed up as well

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And this is what happened when the kids saw our halloween candy set-up

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A mommy and Cassie selfie before we took her out trick or treating

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 This little Indian girl is a halloween-naturale.

Who says the fun stops when you become parents? Marco and I are definitely am not out partying on halloween night like we used to but at least now I have two more people to dress up other than myself. Dressing up as a family is so much fun, I’m blessed to have a husband who is down for anything and let’s not forget, the CANDIES! I’m hoping Halloween is something my little family would look forward to in the years to come. Happy Halloween, my little Cassie.

~Mommy Rhea

Cassie Turns One: Cassie and the Chocolate Factory

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The things we do for Cassie, Marco and I DIY-ed our version of the Wonka Factory Gates. In hindsight, we probably could have made this more sturdy but we didn’t foresee the wind that afternoon.

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We filled Cassie’s dessert table with assorted sweets—gum balls, chocolates, candies, cookies, anything and everything colorful. Of course we could not have a Wonka-themed party without actual Wonka candies.

Below are more detailed photos of the dessert table, my favorite part of the party.

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Marco and I tried to go in theme in our floral tops, purple coats and black top hats.

Trivia: Marco is wearing his old Joker costume that I recycled by sewing on a floral cloth to pass as Willy Wonka’s vest.

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Cassie’s Wonka Themed cake from My Dulce Cake, a local Houston cake shop that has been getting good reviews and has been featured in the Knot, Ruffled and the Food Network. Y’all should check them out!

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And this would have to be one of the best gifts ever…..thanks so much to the Quirays especially Marie for this labor of love, you are extremely talented (y’all should check her Etsy store). This completed Cassie’s dessert table and made it more perfect than ever!

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I even DIY-ed some Wonka Bars although none of them had the golden ticket. I’m actually glad I found some Wonka Bar wrapper printables online, I wrapped the Hershey’s bar with foil and wrapped the printables around it once done. It would’ve been easier if the Hershey’s bar had its old packaging.

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Rico’s neighborhood-famous French Macaroons, of course I had him Wonkafy them by coloring it purple. They were the first to go.

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Ninang Pauline’s contribution to the party, homemade Cookies and Cream Cake pops that was

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Framed some Wonka sayings from the movie and used some of them as part of the table centerpiece.

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This will have to do for “lickable wallpaper”, they’re edible and they’re on the wall. Haha.

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Last minute chocolate fondue, thanks to the Babas’ and the Vera’s for lending me your fondue machines even if we asked last minute.

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Fizzy Lifting Drink station

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Tried to take a photo before we could finish setting up the food table. Marco cooked Lengua, Chicken Anette (I honestly don’t know if I’m spelling that right) and made Cheeseball dip—they were all a hit. And we ordered Spaghetti, Barbecue and Egg rolls and the Almacens brought us Pancit (you guys are the best! thanks geng). The Wonka Bar Mocha Cake, which we used for her cake smash

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Cassie’s giveaways.

For Adults, I recycled her old baby food jars by painting the covers purple and sterilizing the actual jars. I then made my own personal template to wrap around the jars that included a picture of an Oompa Loompa and a chocolate bar. For the sizing of the printable, I randomly searched a water bottle template and pretty much just worked on it by editing the design. I filled up the jars with a mixture of Whoppers and M&Ms combined. I then made a small version of the Golden Ticket as her “Thank You” labels and attached them around the jars.

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For Kids, I used thesame picture of the Oompa Loompa but printed out bigger versions of them, cut them out and pasted them on purple gift bags that I bought from the dollar store. I printed out bigger versions of the Golden Ticket Thank You labels and pasted them on the gift bags as well. And since I was trying to go for certain look where it seemed like the Oompa Loompas were holding the Golden Ticket, I had to look for printable hands (or white gloves rather) online. It’s a good thing I thought about Mickey Mouse’s hands looking similar to the Oompa Loompas’ white-gloved-hands, so I just googled “Mickey Mouse hand” and it was a breeze from there. So yeah…those are Mickey Mouse hands. Haha.

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What was inside the goody bags: Shades that we passed off as Wonka goggles, Colorful bouncy ball that we passed off as an everlasting gobstopper, a bunch of wonka candies and a bunch of non-wonka candies.

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And my artist sister, Angelie (the one who painted Cassie’s tree in our room) pulled through and did an all nighter to finish the giant-sized Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Characters that we displayed in the hallway downstairs. Now it sits in the game room upstairs with the Wonka contract where the guests signed.

Below is a closer look at the characters. Colored Construction paper, colored pencils, pencil, scissors, glue and shading skills and voila…she wasn’t too happy with the outcome but artists are usually their own worst critic. Cassie and I loved it langga, thanks again for doing this.

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Veruca Salt

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Mike Teavee

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Augustus Gloop

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Violet Beauregard

Images were copied from the free online printables of Activity Village.co.uk . Printed some of these for the older kids to color as well.

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Here’s the Wonka contract image that I enlarged and stuck to a cartolina to serve as her guest book. Thank you Walgreens for being so efficient!

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I also made a snapchat filter in theme with Cassie’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Party. Of course I had to cater to my millennial siblings’ generation, haha.

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This little girl did not want to wear the birthday romper we got her. She probably found the tulle too itchy, its a good thing we got her this candyland tutu as back up.

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Daddy Marco as Willy Wonka holding my DIY Wonka Hat pull-a-string piñata.

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We had a bunch of younger kids as guests so I opted to make a pull-a-string piñata rather than the piñata that you whacked with stick.

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….And Olivia (or Mommy Ann rather pulled out the lucky string)

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Thanks to all the guests who made it to Cassie’s First Birthday. I wish we took photos with every single one of you guys but the crazy birthday schedule didn’t permit it. Thank you for showing our little girl much love on her birthday celebration.

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IVL would have to win Best Costume. She came in as an Oompa Loompa on point!

For Cassie’s photobooth, I just used the altar area close to my parents room and used the purple table cloth as a background. I enlarged some of the photos and printed them in color, stuck them to hard cardboard, cut them out then stuck some art craft sticks on them to make photobooth props.

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I transferred Cassie’s toys from upstairs and made a small play area in the living room for them to play in since most of her guests were infants. For the older kids, Marco and I rented a bouncy house and placed it in the backyard.

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Whew, we survived my Mr. Willy Wonka!

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Printed out Cassie’s monthly milestone photos to display in the cake smash area. The colorful candy themed balloons and the large purple #1 balloon were all ordered through Amazon. (my ever reliable favorite)

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We did Cassie’s smash cake with just us, family. It was a call I made a few days before her birthday celebration, I knew she was going to be a bit overwhelmed with all the activities and all the people in the party.

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And we opened gifts on her actual birthday just because we wanted her to do something special on her actual day. We would like to thank everyone who made it to her birthday celebration, thank you for your presence and your presents. Haha. And thank you to all those family members and friends who showed her love even across the miles by sending her gifts and most importantly prayers. And lastly thanks to all those who contributed and helped out to make this birthday celebration possible, Cassie probably won’t remember any of these but hopefully a few years from now she’ll see these photos and realize for people to go through all that trouble to throw her a birthday she won’t even remember, she must be really loved. We love you Cassie!

~Mommy Rhea