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

 

 

Cassie Turns Three: Mini Minnie Party

I had different plans for Cassie’s 3rd birthday but this little lady is starting to have a mind of her own. She was obsessed with Minnie Mouse for a while but I thought she got over that, boy was I wrong. Her obsession came back with a vengeance only to be validated by a trip to Disneyland. September was a busy month for us not only because it was Marco’s and my birth month but because I did a lot of out of state traveling with the kids. So Marco and I decided that throwing Cassie a party was out of the question since I already took her to Disneyland plus we got her a lot of presents from Ollie’s and also Toys R’ Us when it closed down. But Cassie had different expectations, she really wanted a Pink Minnie Mouse Party with her ‘Friends’ (the kids who go to the play place at Chick-Fil-A), emphasis on the PINK. I explained to her the situation and she agreed to just visit the Indianapolis Children’s Museum on her birthday and have a small party with just me, Marco and Xavi.

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“Mommy, my wish came true”- Cassie

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There were days after that conversation when she’d ask if we were having cake, or if her friends were coming or if I was going to decorate so I figured she must really want this party so why not throw her an actual party with her Minnie Mouse friends and our family of course. So I ordered a small cake, cupcakes and sugar cookies in theme from our local go-to chef, Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie, I wrapped all of her gifts in Minnie Mouse wrapping paper, I ordered a Minnie Mouse Balloon bouquet, I manually blew up 30 pink and white balloons that we bought from the dollar store and with the help of a pink table cover and a bunch of lace paper doilies (also from the dollar store), I turned her play area into a small Pink Minnie Mouse Party.

On the day of her birthday, we surprised her with a Peppa Pig bike (yeahhh, that was before she wanted a Minnie Mouse Party) and you could see her face light up when she saw the mini set-up we prepared for her. Daddy had to go to work after that but she asked to go to Chick-fil-A for lunch and after I dressed her up in her pink Minnie Mouse costume that is exactly where I took her so she could play with her ‘friends’. Fortunately, Marco was able to get out of work early so we took her to Chuck E. Cheese’s, ordered some pizza and she went crazy with her game card, with Daddy’s help of course. She was so exhausted, she took an untimely nap after leaving that place and when she woke up from her nap, we sang her birthday song and opened the rest of her presents.

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We bought the Peppa Pig bike before she decided on the Pink Minnie Mouse Party (in case you were wondering)

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While ‘Ate’ was busy with her bike, this one went crazy with the balloons

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The next day we had another birthday party to attend to and the day after that we made a trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum as promised. In celebration of the month of Halloween, they had a Grim-nasium set up over there where kids could also trick or treat and of course she was dressed up as Minnie Mouse again (red version this time) and was happy that we dressed up her little brother, Xavi as Mickey Mouse. I guess you could say she was in Minnie Mouse Cloud 9 the whole weekend. Happy Birthday our little Threenager. We love you so much, Cas! You’re growing up too fast.

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DIY Peanut Butter FUN-whiches

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Recently, Marco and I have discovered the magic of Fresh Thyme‘s freshly ground almond, cashew and honey ground peanut butter (our personal favorite). They literally have the actual machines that convert your peanuts into butter right in front of your very eyes and the best part is you get to do it and you get to sample it as well, I don’t think it gets FRESH-er than that. If you don’t think that’s cool,well you can always grab an already packaged one.

Anyway, I wish I could say the same for my 2.5-yr old, Cassie. To those who follow me on IG, I know I’ve expressed how picky my child can be and unfortunately she has decided that she doesn’t like peanut butter without even trying. So, in efforts to change her mind I’ve created some “FUN-whiches”  with the help of some of her favorite fruits, hopefully she will want to try out one of these.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

bread, peanut butter, bananas, grapes, strawberries, apples (honestly you can pretty much improvise)

BEAR

(bread, peanut butter, bananas, grapes)

CAT

( bread, peanut butter, grapes, strawberries, apples)

OWL

(bread, peanut butter, bananas, strawberries, grapes)

MONKEY

(bread, peanut butter, bananas, grapes)

CHICKEN

(bread, peanut butter, bananas, grapes, strawberries)

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

RANDOM SILLY FACE

( bread, peanut butter, grapes, strawberries, apples)

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…And here’s the fun-which preparation after-math, I had to get some peanut butter for myself too. And just in case you’re thinking it.. NO, I didn’t double dip. haha.

~Rhea