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

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Picture Day Outfit Ideas| Affordable Toddler Girl Outfits from WALMART

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

As most of you know, my little Cassie started “Big Girl” school this year and her schedule for class picture day caught me by surprise. Being a first time school mom, I was unaware that they did that in the early part of the school year, in fact they’re having photos done this week and so I thought it would be great to come up with affordable picture day outfit ideas for all moms out there who are on the same boat as I am.

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So I challenged myself to stick with clothes from Walmart just because its the nearest retail shop to our house, now this post is no way sponsored by them and I myself find the clothing items from Walmart as a hit or miss but I do know for a fact that they’re very affordable so I took up the challenge to look for cute stuff that were less than $15. If you’re a mom looking for last minute ideas, here are some outfits that won’t break the bank, links to the outfits should be on the said items below.

OUTFIT #1:

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(HEADBAND: Amazon/ TOP & SUSPENDER SKIRT: 2 piece outfit, Wonder Nation from Walmart, $12.44 / SOCKS: Amazon/ SHOES: The Humble Soles)

 

OUTFIT #2:

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(HEADBAND: Amazon / DRESS: Short sleeve collar dress, Wonder Nation from Walmart, $7.88 / SHOES: white, Children’s Place)

Take note that this dress would be a great dress if you’re child wants to go as Wednesday Addams for Halloween and I just thought that you’d want to know that it also comes in the color Navy Blue.

 

OUTFIT #3:

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(SWEATSHIRT: floral long sleeve, Garanimals from Walmart, $4.88/ PANTS: military green, Garanimals from Walmart, $4.88/ SHOES: purple pink jelly Mary Janes, Wonder Nation, $3 on clearance; now $1.50 online, cheaper than what I bought it for)

The link I attached for the outfit was for a set, you get the pink leggings with it but you actually have the option of buying them separate which I did so I could opt for the green ones.

 

OUTFIT #4:

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(DRESS: Long sleeve ruffle, Wonder Nation from Walmart, $8.62/ SHOES: black ballet flats, Wonder Nation, $1 on clearance/ BOW: Handmade)

This dress also comes in a white and blue stripe one for a more nautical vibe.

 

OUTFIT #5:

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( TOP & SUSPENDER SKIRT: 2 piece outfit, Wonder Nation from Walmart, $12.44 / LEGGINGS: mustard / Old Navy/ SHOES: Cat and Jack)

And that’s it —5 outfits (mostly) straight out of Walmart and by the way my daughter didn’t mind wearing any single one of these outfits. I just got a note from the teacher saying that if we wanted them to wear something more fancy for picture day, we can send clothes with them and they would help the kids change back when they’re done taking pictures. Seriously, who has time for that? These clothes are cute yet comfortable, our daughters can wear them the entire day.

Hope this post helped, Happy School Picture Day!

~Rhea

Summer Family #Twinning |Matching Family Swimwear by Yaffi Fashion

*DISCLOSURE: I RECEIVED THESE PRODUCTS COMPLIMENTARY FOR REVIEW PURPOSES. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

Before I knew I was going to be a mom to a beautiful baby girl, I already knew I was going to be that type of mom who would match with her kids. True enough, I was blessed with Cassie, a very pleasant baby girl who didn’t give me any trouble with her monthly photos or OOTDs (Outfit Of The Day, in case you didn’t know what that meant) and eventually when I started accepting my #mombod we started to do #twinning. I remember getting a lot of compliments and DMs asking where I get our matching outfits from and ‘Twinning’ wasn’t even full blown at that time. I always had to explain that I would go through her closet and go through mine and just see if there were any pieces that kinda looked similar and then I’d come up with an outfit. Now, if you wanted to match with the whole family that’s a totally different ball game, at that time not a lot of shops or online stores carried, “Mommy and Me”, “Daddy and Me” or ” Matching Family” outfits.

Fast forward to today, I’ve somewhat ‘normalized’ the idea of “twinning” or “matching” within our family (as cheesy as it may sound) to the point that when we go to church on Sundays, I’ll dress the kids up similarly and my husband will just pull out a top or a polo shirt thats within the same color palette, It’s quite impressive actually. This summer, I fell in love with those cute matching family swimwear but I knew bringing up the idea with Marco would be pushing it so I didn’t even bother asking but then Yaffi Fashion happened and they were nice enough to gift us with TWO sets of these matching family swimwear and Marco being the trooper that he is, when he saw me and the kids dressing up in our cute blue stripe swimwear before heading to the pool, he came up to me and asked “Where’s mine?” and smilingly I handed him his swimwear.

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Yaffi Fashion Blue Stripe Matching Family Swimwear

If you are in search of matching family swimwear for this summer or even for a holiday getaway then Yaffi Fashion is the place to go, they just made twinning so convenient and affordable, it’s amazing the numerous designs and colors you can pick from, your husband will have no excuse. They have stripes in different colors, solid colors, florals, and an option of either one-piece or two-piece for the women/ girls. I’ve been twinning with my girl for almost 4 years now and its been a struggle to find things for Marco so he could match with us and that is another reason why I love them, they have a lot of options for the men and the boys almost as many as the women and the girls, so I was able to include Marco and Xavi in this ‘twinning’ business. Haha, sorry guys!

Also you might want to check out their other inventory, they also carry cute Mommy and Me dresses, Kimono tops and matching family pajamas (hint: Perfect for Christmas) without breaking the bank.

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Yaffi Fashion Pink Floral Matching Family Swimwear

Here are photos from the first time we used our matching swimwear, for size reference I’m wearing a size S, Marco is wearing a size XXL, Cassie who is 4 years old is wearing a size 4T and Xavi who is 1.5 years old is wearing a 2T (it works perfectly with his swim diapers on).

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Here’s a photo of us after our day at the pool, can I just tell you what Marco told me after we took this picture?

He said, ” Hey sweetie, these were actually very comfortable I honestly didn’t mind wearing them.” And if you don’t believe me, you can ask him yourself.

If you’re the type of guy who wants pockets in their swimwear, they carry those too, in fact the other pair of swim shorts Marco had (the pink floral one) had pockets and he especially loved those so be sure to go check them out. I’ve linked the specific swimwear that we got below our photos. I will also link their website, their Facebook page and their Instagram page below so click away.

Yaffi Fashion Website| Yaffi Fashion Facebook | Yaffi Fashion Instagram

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

~Rhea

 

Destination: Mammoth Cave/ Bowling Green, Kentucky

March 26 – 27, 2019

With Marco finishing his second year of residency, we found out he still had 2 weeks worth of vacation that was gonna go to waste if he didn’t use it so we planned a quick getaway and ended up planning a road trip with Atlanta, Georgia as our last stop. We figured if we drive through Kentucky, Tennessee then Georgia we could cross those three states out of our bucket list. So our first stop was Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. From where we live in Indiana, it was a 4 hour drive without the stops and the accidents, we actually made it in good time and decided to have a decent meal with the kids before our trip to the cave. Of course we decided to have our super late lunch at KFC- Kentucky Fried Chicken, we wanted to see if there was something special with their chicken since KFC originated in this state but unsurprisingly the chicken tasted the same, we still loved it though ( although personally I prefer the chicken in KFC-Philippines). The KFC we ate in was right outside the Mammoth Cave National Park and as soon as we were done we headed to the visitor center.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Longest cave system known in the world

Just like anyone with kids, I bet you too have a lot of questions about bringing them on a cave tour and just to answer some of those, I’m posting some answers in FAQ form. Feel free to send me a direct message if you want clarifications or if you have additional questions.

Can you do a cave tour with kids?

Yes, you may. I personally reached out to Mammoth Cave National Park since the information on their website was a bit vague and a Park ranger returned my call and confirmed that they do have kid-friendly tours, you can even bring your baby if you’re willing to. For reference Cassie is 3 y.o and Xavi is 15 months.

Can you purchase tickets on the spot?

In theory, you can although they do advice you to purchase them before hand as they tend to get sold out especially during the peak seasons like spring break and summer.

Which tour is kid-friendly?

They have a list of the tours with detailed descriptions, level of difficulty and duration of tour, the one we took was the HISTORIC TOUR and it is friendly for kids that are around Cassie and Xavi’s age. The specific tour we got was a 2-mile hike inside a cave that would last us an estimate of 2 hours.

Can you bring a stroller? Baby carrier?

No, you cannot bring a stroller and yes you may bring a baby carrier, although they don’t allow any backpacks or hiking carriers that go above your head (or was it shoulders) just verify with the visitor center but this is actually very generous of them considering that when I brought the kids to a cave tour at Sequoia National Park, they wouldn’t allow the baby carrier unless it was one of those full cloth slings because they were scared that the plastic would rub against the walls, damaging them for good. More information on the website, I’m just going with what I was told.

 

So here’s our experience in a nutshell— we picked up our tickets at the visitor center ($34 for me and Marco, the kids were free) and since we were a bit early we toured the area and visited the souvenir shops to get our souvenir magnets.

30 minutes before our tour, which was the last tour for the day (3:15 pm), we stayed by the assigned meet up place until everyone gathered. There was a good 100 people on there, the park ranger or guide gave us instructions and briefed us on what we should be expecting for this tour.

We walked a few minutes towards the entrance of the cave and 10 minutes into the hike Cassie fell asleep, Xavi was already asleep even before we entered the cave, I’m thinking the cold temperature might have lulled them to sleep as they were already tired prior to that.

I wish I could say we took a lot of decent pictures but we were busy trying to keep up with the group while carrying both kids; Marco had Cassie in a the baby carrier and I had Xavi strapped on to me in a sling. The pathways are mostly paved and at one point even spacious, you can walk through comfortably. Most of the stairs had railings too so it was easier to make our way down.

Cassie woke up by the time we reached Fat Man’s Misery which was a good thing coz Marco would have had a difficult time zigzagging through that passage way with her strapped in front of him, she walked in between us and had no problem at all. I did pretty okay even with Xavi strapped in front of me and had no problem when the passage transitioned to Tall Man’s Misery, can I just say I love being small and short. Haha.

There was a short break in between where they gathered everyone and we all sat on benches, they briefed us that the next thing we were about to do was climb 150-155 steps straight.

I know that may sound a lot but the guides are very patient and accommodating and considering that Xavi was still asleep in front of me, I did fine. Cassie walked with Marco all the way up. Side note: if you have a fear of heights, I suggest you DO NOT look down. Overall, the tour was worth it even when the kids were dead weight while we were hiking, there were interesting facts that I learned but will not be mentioning them on here as not to spoil it for y’all if you plan to go. I know, I get a lot of ‘advice’ online from those who have done the tour to NOT bring kids this young but honestly it was an experience that we did as a family even if they won’t be remembering any of it, there was a sense of achievement in our part as parents, besides we’re all about doing things together, haha.

We made it! Xavi’s face says he doesn’t care.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson

Address: 535 Wall Street, Bowling Green, KY 42104

So just to mention, all of our hotels on this trip were pretty light on the budget. We made sure they were comfortable, cheap and had free breakfast since most of our activities involved being out and about anyway. For this hotel, they accidentally gave us the handicap accessible room which was fine for the most part. It was spacious and had a receiving room, it had one queen size bed but the sofa was a sofa bed so the kids ended up sleeping there. The bathroom was spacious as well but it didn’t have a bath tub since it was wheel chair friendly so that still worked for me and my kids.

Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant

For some reason we were craving for Mexican food in Kentucky, weird I know but cravings have to be satisfied so thank God there was a decent one close to our hotel. The place was spacious so and the colorful tables and chairs are a sight to see. Food was great as the reviews online mentioned and the servings were big, can I just add that I enjoyed my frozen margarita immensely. 🙂

National Corvette Museum

Address: 350 Corvette Dr, Bowling Green, KY 42101

Marco was actually surprised when I suggested to visit this museum, he knows I’m not really into cars but the idea that this supercar was made and assembled right here in Bowling Green, Kentucky intrigued me. Of course I could just post a bunch of photos of different types of Corvettes through the years but I guess what intrigued me most was the fact that we could visit the actual site of the sink hole that happened right here in this museum and it actually swallowed a bunch of these expensive cars. They actually have a whole area dedicated to it.

And I just have to say they have a note-worthy KidZone at the museum, even adults might actually enjoy it. It’s very interactive, kids can pretend to be mechanics and check up the car or you can gas it up or even change the tires among many other things, Cassie and Xavi had so much fun that we might have stayed there for more than 15 minutes.

This is where they give you different perspectives on the ‘Corvette Cave In’, they show you actual footage of the event and show you how the whole ‘Sinkhole Experience’ happened. They also show you what kind of Corvettes were included and the history behind those cars.

If we weren’t in a hurry to head to the next state, we would’ve stayed there longer but we were so off to Nashville, Tennessee we go. Till next time Kentucky!

~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