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

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-wiches

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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