Disney World: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Posted On November 14, 2014| 1 Reply

A Boo to you, Happy Halloween! It’s really not so scary!

This is one of our favorite Disney things to do. It is a night at the Magic Kingdom with special parades, castle shows, trick-or-treating and the best fireworks you will ever see. It is a separate ticket, so check for dates and plan accordingly. Worth. Every. Cent. Check it out here.

It was raining on our night for the Halloween Party so we broke out the Disney ponchos, hats and umbrellas and went with smiles on our faces. It had never rained on us before, so we figured it was our turn.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

Did I mention it was raining? I meant pouring! We were soaked before we made it to Space Mountian, but we were still smiling! There is no whining in Disney! We spent the first rain-soaked hour in Tomorrowland enjoying several rides on Space Mountain, the People Mover and Stitch’s Great Escape (not a fan).

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

I love Nat’s face!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

We walked over to Liberty Square to find Tiana and paused to check out the castle…

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Tiana was so happy to see us. Remember, the rain doesn’t bother her….she was a frog for a while! Ribbit, ribbit!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Tiana & Natalie

It wouldn’t be a proper Disney Halloween without a visit to the Haunted Mansion…. this was Natalie’s first time in the mansion. It is a bit creepy at night, but she liked it! No photography is allowed inside, so you will have to check it out for yourself! Here’s a few from the outside:

 

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

We were most excited about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this year. We saw it being built last year and had read all the rave reviews before going. So, we grabbed a few hotdogs and got in line to wait. The wait said 45 minutes, but it ended up only being about 25. Disney went all out on this ride. The line leads you through the mine where you can play a gemstone video game and spin giant barrels of treasure to reveal hidden pictures on the ceiling. NICE! My post on the Magic Kingdom has photos…it was too dark (and rainy) during this visit.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Look at our faces, you can tell this is a fun ride!

Snow White brought us good luck, by the time we exited the Mine Train the rain had stopped! Off went our ponchos and down came the umbrellas. Now if only we had brought a change of socks!

We never leave Magic Kingdom without riding “it’s a small world”. We like to torture the kids and get that song stuck in their heads for hours. And we always call my dad and put the phone on speaker so he can sing along!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Taking advantage of the short lines, we also rode Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh and Mad Tea Party.

The fireworks show, ‘Happy Hallowishes’ goes off at 9:30. It is beyond amazing. It’s loud, bright, bold and set to the tunes of some of our favorite villain songs! This year we watched from behind the castle (in Fantasyland) and it was great. It seemed like we could reach out and touch the bursts. Of course, watching from Main Street is always a good choice as well.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

During this party is one of the best times to meet your favorite characters. There are less people and the lines are not too bad. Before Natalie and I sought out Elsa and Anna and while the boys went back to speed through a few more rides on Space Mountain we did a little shopping for our very own Olaf and a new sweater…..Frozen style!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

My mini Elsa!

Elsa was first. She was very glamorous, but not very over-the-top Disney….I guess that’s why she’s the Ice Queen.

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Next up was Rapunzel. She was chatting about Flynn and Natalie asked her about her hair. She was very personable.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Cinderella was there too! She is always so ‘spot on’. She made Natalie use her manners and reminded me to have her home by midnight!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

Finally, we made it to Anna. Man, was she great! She talked so fast. She noticed Natalie’s Olaf and was cracking jokes about him. She asked if we had seen Kristoff in the park and had Natalie mesmerized. Well done casting department. She is the reason Natalie decided to be Anna for trick-or-treat!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

Here’s a look at the boys riding Space Mountain for the 226th time:

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

We met up with the boys near the castle to watch Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade. We opted for the second parade because it is less crowded. Before we found the boys, Natalie posed in front of her favorite castle…..

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

We found Jeremy and Noah and enjoyed the parade. It is an awesome parade. All of the villains join in the fun as well as the gravediggers from the mansion. The song is catchy and I will bet several Disney Dollars (yes, they exist) that you will be singing it days after the party!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Disney does Halloween well. Next year the kids think we should dress up. I guess my Disney Halloween shirts are not cutting it anymore. We will see……

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

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It’s a privilege to be a (insert your last name here)!

Posted On November 10, 2014| 2 Replies

I have a really smart neighbor. I will call her PW. Since meeting her about 5 years ago, she has shared many parenting tips with me. Her kids are older….one in college, two in high school. They are sweet, hardworking, polite kids who genuinely care about each other and love their mom! Why wouldn’t I pick her brain for ideas?!

Many moons ago she mentioned that in their house they make it clear that it is a privilege to be a member of their family. I loved this! She had nailed it. It was my mission to make this mantra a part of our daily lives.

I started mentioning it when the kids were happy about something….where we were going for dinner, when we surprised them with a movie, when we let them stay up to watch TV, when they had donuts for breakfast, when we took a trip, etc, etc, etc. Every time their faces lit up and mouths cracked a smile because of something we were doing, I said “It’s a privilege to be a Mathis“. It didn’t take too long before they asked why I was saying that all the time. I happily explained:

It’s a privilege to be a

MATHIS

because:

-we are alive and healthy, we have a roof over our heads, food to eat and clothes to wear, we know how to laugh and have fun together, we show our affection, we are a team and no one cares more about you than your team.

I kept it simple and it worked. They got it and agreed! From this, Team Mathis was born. Team Mathis means we stick together, don’t cause each other pain (physical or emotional), play fair and support one another ALL THE TIME. We made some simple guidelines as reminders. I avoided using the term ‘rules’ as we all know that rules are meant to be broken.

TEAM MATHIS FAIR PLAY

-asked & answered (my favorite! Instead of answering the same question over and over again, I just say “asked & answered”. You may not like my answer, but an answer was given, so stop asking)

-no name calling, be kind (simple, yet so important)

-no hurting, be nice (again, so simple, but hard to remember in the heat of an argument)

-less tattling, work it out or walk away

-no electronics on Team Mathis Night (a night when we hang out as a team)

-homework = no whining, just do it (for goodness sake, I didn’t assign it so don’t be mad at me)

-practice music/sports with a smile (you asked to participate, so step up)

-electronics only during free time (free time is announced)

-no interrupting, “excuse me”

-take care of Jagger, he’s a Mathis too

-use your manners

-say you’re sorry & take responsibility for your actions

Of course, if my family was perfect then these rules of fair play would be followed at all times. But, we are not perfect. We make mistakes. We hurt each other’s feelings. And that sucks, but it is life. We are still learning how to say ‘sorry’ and mean it and how to be in control of our actions. Something we all strive for on a daily basis!

What this has done is given us some dialogue. When the kids are fighting, we can remind them that we are a team. That the 4 of us were put together for a reason and we are going to be together forever. We wouldn’t let someone else call us names or pinch the hairs on our arms, so why would we do it to each other? It doesn’t always work and sometimes one of us needs to be removed from a situation, given time to cool down and regroup and then come back to the team. I am sure my neighbor’s kids fight too, but there is genuine love and respect between them and that is what I am shooting for! I will not give up!

I had a wall decal made for our pantry. It hangs above the door. In the pantry is also where our Team Mathis Fair Play list is located. Everyone is in the panty every day, so it seemed like the logical place! Order your own sign here.

MATHIS

 

It truly is a privilege to be a part of a loving family. I was lucky enough to grow up in one and I want my kids to realize how lucky they are. There are loads of children in the world who would happily change places with them. And if they are not a team player, they might get traded!

JUST KIDDING, of course!

I would love to steal your ideas on how your family works as a team, so please share!

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

 

Halloween Decor, Mathis Style

Posted On November 6, 2014| 1 Reply

Since the stores are busting at the seams with Christmas decorations, I thought I needed to hurry up and post my Halloween Decor blog! I love Christmas, but it feels like it comes earlier and earlier each year.

With Natalie’s birthday being at the end of September, I wait until October 1st to drench my house in orange and black. Skeletons, witches, pumpkins, rats….we have it all. My mom always decorated for Halloween, so it seemed natural. The kids get into it and it’s fun to switch things up a bit. Over the years we have accumulated several bins worth of ghoulish decorations. And yes, my bins for Halloween are orange, black and purple, so they are easily spotted in the garage. My bin system will be covered in a later blog, promise!

Here is a look at our Bootiful house: (I took the pictures at night for a spookier effect!)

Halloween

I potted pumpkins instead of mums. I kill mums. Every. Year.

 

 

Halloween

Love the tombstones!

 

 

Halloween

Burlap bags of dried weeds screams fall, right?

 

 

Some how I missed getting a picture of the giant spiders I hang near the garage and they are already packed away, because it is NOVEMBER! Next year I promised Noah that we would have skeletons in the yard, ghosts in the trees and a fog machine. Watch out neighbors, my boy has big plans!

The inside is what I love most…..

Halloween

 

 

Every year I frame a picture of the kids dressed up. It’s fun finding the perfect frame and we all love looking back in time. I cannot believe we have 10 years worth of pictures.

Halloween

I love crows! Not in real life, of course!

 

Halloween

Our dancing Frank & Wicked Witch and the broomstick floats around the floor!

 

The dining room ends up looking a little fancier than the rest of the house:

Halloween

A frightful place to dine!

 

 

The kitchen:

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Halloween ornaments adorn my old gate above my sink.

 

Halloween

Mr. Crow looking for something to EAT.

 

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Spooky table decorations, rats keeping us company while we eat and a furry 8-legged pal hangs from above. Boo!

 

 

 

 

Halloween

Random little decorations. Frank and Ghostface race each other during breakfast!

 

 

Halloween

We have several of these hanging above the island!

 

 

 

Halloween

From September-February, there is always a candle burning in the kitchen. It’s crazy how many we go through!

 

Every year I switch out the plates and cups for the kids. I love that they still get excited about using the ‘vampire blood’ glass or the plate with the bats. Makes eating your veggies easier! Pottery Barn Kids has some cups on sale right now. Check here.

Halloween Halloween

 

We have several ‘pose-able’ Halloween peeps hanging around the house. When the kids were little, they loved making them dance or scratch their head. Let’s just say that as they get older I sometimes have to PG the positions they choose. My babies are growing up!

Halloween

 

This Halloween ‘advent’ calendar is the highlight of October. If I am on the ball, it is hung up and stuffed by October 1st. Most years, it appears sometime the first week of the month and gets stuffed along the way. As you can see, the pockets are small, very small. So, the treats are not big. Many days it is a small candy or quarter. Sometimes a dollar folded up, a pencil (not hidden in the pocket, but they still have to wait until THAT day to get it) and several pockets are filled with slips of paper that lead them to a wrapped gift (small), a coupon for lunch of their choice at school, or a later bedtime. Easy stuff that they think is awesome! I bought it at Pottery Barn years ago and during their post-Halloween sale! Sadly I do not think they make it anymore, but several are floating around Ebay.

Halloween

 

My decorations don’t match, they may seem a little gaudy or cheap, but pretty soon my kids won’t care if they eat off of a witch plate or if their mosaic owl artwork is hung up. At that point, after I have shed a few tears and most likely tried to guilt them into liking that stuff again, I will leave the bins in the garage and decorate with glass pumpkins. For now I love my ‘Halloween On Crack’ decorations and pray that my glass pumpkin days are far, far away!

A boo to you and you and you and you!

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

 

 

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Trick-or-Treating with the Mathis’s

Posted On November 5, 2014| 1 Reply

Tricks and Treats….We love Halloween!

Halloween started early for us this year. We celebrated at the Magic Kingdom with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and again on the Disney Dream with the Halloween on the High Seas cruise.

Halloween

2014, with Mickey.

 

We have been munching on mini candy bars and dreaming about the Great Pumpkin for more than a month, but we were still very excited when the 31st finally rolled around. Trick or Treat night is always very fun for us. I hate that the night goes by so quickly….but there is always next year, right?

Lord knows I love a theme, including costumes. Here’s a look at costumes from years past….

Halloween

2005, our little lion.

Halloween

2006, woof-woof.

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2007, Spidey & his spider.

Halloween

2008, fireman & his trusty dalmatian..

Halloween

2008, Disney with Tigger and Pooh.

Halloween

2009, HRH Natalie & Sir Noah.

Halloween

2010, Little Red & the Big Bad Wolf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t have the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red without the Woodsman & Granny:

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2010, Woodsman & Granny.

 

Jeremy & I got to dress up twice that year…Rock Star Party!

Halloween

2010, Rockstar & his groupie.

Halloween

2011, Hermione & Draco.

 

 

Jeremy and I joined in the Harry Potter madness and Professor Snape and Moaning Myrtle!

Halloween

2011, Professor Snape & Moaning Myrtle.

Halloween

2012, Angel-Girl and Ghostface.

Halloween

2013, Zombie cheerleader & FB player.

 

 

 

And Jeremy took home the trophy for Best Costume for his Slash portrayal at our neighbor’s 80’s Costume Party!

Halloween

2013, Slash.

Halloween

2014, Anna, Morph Man & our hotdog!

When the kids were 5 and 3, the Great Pumpkin started to visit on Trick or Treat night. In exchange for their candy they would receive a bag full of Halloween goodies. Before this, their candy just disappeared without them noticing. Now, before you get upset, know that they can keep 20 pieces. 20 pieces just about fills a quart-size baggie. They have never once questioned this and are always excited to spread out their treats and carefully pick their 20 faves. And to be honest neither one of them has ever eaten all 20 pieces….it usually goes in the trash around Easter! Before doing this we weigh their bags. This year Nat’s weighed three pounds (she lasted an hour in the rain) and Noah’s was four pounds for 1.5 hours of begging. Not too shabby! Sometimes we send the candy to work with Jeremy, sometimes we mail it to our amazing troops serving overseas and one year we sold it back to a dentist! This year most of it went to Idaho with Gramma Dortmund to share with Grandpa!

Here’s a look at the first time the Great Pumpkin visited:

Halloween Halloween

 

Looks like he brought a Princess book and Chapstick! Seriously look at my babies….where has the time gone! I would love to squeeze those cheeks again.

Here they are excited to open their Great Pumpkin gifts this year. I must say I scored big points for these bags….when opened they sing Ghostbusters! SCORE!

Halloween

2014

 

Over the years the Great Pumpkin has brought iTunes cards, books, jewelry, movie gift card, gum, stuffed animal, DVD, hair bows….easy stuff, but stuff they will like and use. I (I mean the Great Pumpkin) usually spends less than $20.

I hope your treats were yummy and your tricks were sneaky!

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

 

 

 

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Terranea Resort, Southern California

Posted On October 31, 2014| 1 Reply

Slumming it in southern California…..

Terranea

Lucky for me I married a guy who’s job requires him to attend conferences throughout the year! I started tagging along a few years ago….once the babies were old enough to be left with the Grands and I was able to push the mama guilt to the back of my brain for a few days at a time. This particular conference led us to sunny southern California to the Terranea Resort. Pronounced (terra-NAY-a) it is just a short cab ride from LAX and consists of 102 acres of private paradise in Palos Verdes. The crashing waves of the Pacific are soothing, the views are beyond beautiful and Catalina Island can be seen on a clear day. It’s a family friendly resort but we forgot to bring the kids…oops!

Fun fact: the resort sits on land that was once Marineland. California’s first theme park….yep, it was around before Disneyland. It was home to several killer whales, a research department and a first-of-its-kind swim through aquarium. It closed in 1987. When you are bored, watch Pearl Harbor, The Aviator, Pirates of the Caribbean or Charlie’s Angels and see if you can spot the scenes that were filmed at Marineland! You’re welcome for giving you a game plan for your next free Friday night! Here is a picture from the Marineland archives:

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Construction of the resort began in 1998. Terranea Resort is celebrating it’s 5 year anniversary this year. Just a baby!

Terranea

 

Upon our arrival, we were greeted with glass of bubbly. IMG_5787

Jeremy is not a champagne guy, so he politely refused his glass. I lovingly kicked him in the shins after the nice bubbly-offering man walked away, who turns down FREE champagne? Mama could have handled two glasses!  The top notch service and attention to detail never let down.

 

 

We stayed in Casita 24, Room 103. Casita means small house for those of you who slept trough high school spanish class. The room was really nice. Really. Nice. Look:

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I loved the private patio. Well done Terranea!

Terranea

We took a little stroll to check out our surroundings. There are walking paths that follow the coastline. Here is a view from of our casita from the path:

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An incredible view of The Point Vicente Lighthouse was mere steps from our room.

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The weather was gorgeous and I was starting to sweat through my cotton tank top, so we headed to the pool. The adult pool! Great idea, Terranea! It was pretty sweet.

Terranea

Cielo Point Adult Pool

Terranea

Cielo Point Adult Pool

Since we came in a day before the conference started, Jeremy was able to lounge by the pool with me. We ordered drinks and food. One of us applied sunscreen and we both settled in for a few hours of pure bliss. In true Mathis Style, we met some new friends and acted a bit silly. I highly recommend the ‘Beach Party’ cocktail….yummy!  Order the mini burgers…by far the best choice on the menu.

 

We dragged ourselves away from the pool, changed clothes and made it to dinner at Nelson’s just in time to see the sunset.

Terranea   Terranea

Seeing the sunset over the ocean while sipping wine made me temporarily question our choice of states in which to reside! It was perfection….I will share it with you, although my iPhone picture does not do it justice.

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The sun set at 6:30, so we made our dinner reservation for 6:00. Do your homework and arrive a bit early, you do not want to miss it. And Nelson’s is hands down the best place on property to watch the sunset while dining! Another fun fact: Nelson’s is named after Mike Nelson, the character played by Lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt. There are loads of pictures from the show on the walls. Pretty cool.

We had grand sight seeing plans for the next afternoon. We love to check out new places when we travel and I had scoped out several. The Abalone Cove. The Wayfarer’s Chapel. The Point Vicente Lighthouse. We had bloody mary’s and a bite to eat at Catalina Kitchen. It hit the spot. Jeremy’s chicken and waffles outshined my scrambled eggs for sure. Our breakfast was happily interrupted several times by old friends. These Osteopathic conferences are a bit like a family reunion. Our pal from residency, Eric L. joined us and we picked up where we left off from our last meeting a few years ago in Miami. He keeps promising me that he will bring his wife Heather next time….Heather, if you are reading this, PLEASE COME!

Once Jeremy’s lectures had ended, the resort shuttled us to the Abalone Cove Shoreline Park and it was closed. Looked like a little construction was going on. Buzz kill number one. Next stop was the Wayfarer’s Chapel. It was open! YAY! This chapel is beyond beautiful. It was built in 1951 as a place for wayfarers (I looked it up, it means “a person who travels on foot”) to come and worship. Llyod Wright (Frank’s son) designed it. It sits atop a hill overlooking the sea. It is made of glass and surrounded by redwood trees. Enjoy….

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IMG_5822        Terranea

When it was built, the trees were so tiny. I found this picture from 1951:

Terranea

It is a popular place for weddings. And it offers a worship service every Sunday at 10am. Kind of wish we could have attended while we were in town. It’s worth a stop if you are in the area. Be careful, you will drive right by it and apparently not many locals know about it. Our driver had never been. We told him he needed to go and to spread the word! We spotted a very interesting flower, which of course Jeremy knew the name of (I immediately forgot it) and took a minute to enjoy the view from a bench outside the chapel…

Terranea Terranea

Our third tourist destination, The Point Vicente Lighthouse was just a few minutes down the road. It is the lighthouse that we had been admiring from our casita. We pulled in and were greeted by very large fences that were locked. Buzz kill number two. So, the lighthouse is only open to the public on the third Saturday of the month! Not cool. At this point Jeremy was questioning my cruise director status! Later that evening one of Jeremy’s partners was receiving an award so we attended the ceremony. I can vouch for him first-hand as he repaired my mangled softball injured finger when I was a junior in high school. Small. World. Congrats Dr. Kerr.

Being the amazing, astounding, awesome, above-average (I like A words) wife that I am, I declined an invitation to accompany (I told you I like A words) Jeremy, Eric and two other resident pals, Mark & Andy to the LA Kings hockey game. I knew I would be missed, but I decided to let the boys have free reign to talk shop, drink too much beer and shout profanities at the refs without ‘offending’ me. Ah, who am I kidding….I had the evening to myself. Wine. Remote. Quiet. It was hard, but someone had to do it. Wink, wink!

Here was my view:

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Here was my dinner:

Terranea

 

And for dessert….a salted caramel truffle!

Friday came and went quickly. Jeremy attended several lectures. We soaked up some more sun. Questioned our state of residency. And planned dinner. We opted for Catalina Kitchen, but decided to swing in Bashi for a cocktail. We bumped into Eric and entertained the bartenders with our midwest charm.

Terranea

IMG_5848Sea Beans  has the best selection of tasty treats! In addition to truffles, gelato (get the chocolate) and macaroons, Sea Beans offers a Pancake Station on the weekends.

I didn’t think I was a pancake person, but I may have to reconsider! Hopefully this was the only time I will spend $12 on a stack of pancakes that I could not finish. $10 gets you a stack of three cakes. Each topping is $1. That is not a typo. You want a heaping mound of chocolate chunks? $1. You want a spoonful of rainbow sprinkles? $1. Choose wisely.

 

Terranea

Pancake Station

I sware I snapped a pic of my plate of bliss, but I must have been too eager to EAT the pancakes, sorry about that. I chose chunks of chocolate (duh) and strawberries. Along with a large spoonful of whipped butter and syrup, lots of syrup!

Once my belly was content, we strolled to the spa. Who doesn’t gorge on pancakes before a romantic couples massage with their husband?! Eek!

The Spa…..

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We checked in, went to our separate locker rooms and found our robes.

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Before stashing my phone I took a selfie, but oh how I wish I would have kept my phone to get a picture of Jeremy in his robe. TOO CUTE!

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Don’t I look like a professional spa-goer? That should really be a job!

I opted for the Hot Stone and the hubby went for the Terranea Therapeutic. I got sizzling stones, he got elbows…suffice it to say we have different tastes in massages!

For the rest of the day I relaxed on the super comfy padded lounge chairs offered only at the Spa Pool. With a treatment the pool is ‘free’ for the day. Without a treatment, you can enjoy this pool for $40. Yikes!

Terranea

Spa Pool

The resort offers several daily excursions/programs that we did not take advantage of this time. We did get to see the ‘Bird Guy’ with one of his hawks he was using to scare away some crows. I am not a huge bird fan, but I will admit that hawk was cool. Check out a few of the extras you can enjoy while staying at the resort:

Terranea

Our stay came to an end at 3:30 Sunday morning as we loaded our bags into a cab and headed to LAX. I can now say that I have been to an airport before it even opens. 5:45am flights are rough, but it got us home in time to see Noah tear it up on the soccer field.

Thanks Terranea for a wonderful few days…….we will cross paths again!

Terranea

 

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

 

 

 

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Ohio State Football!

Posted On October 21, 2014| Leave a reply

Let’s Go Buckeyes!

OSU vs. Rutgers: October 18, 2014

OSU Football

The kids have been bugging us for a few years to go to an OSU football game. Noah attended the Spring Game when he was two, but he says that doesn’t really count. Natalie has a hard time being confined to a number painted on a metal bleacher and Noah never wants to leave a sporting event until the VERY END, so we were a bit hesitant, but excited. Thanks to my OSU loving friend, Alissa, we scored great seats. A-deck, row 20. And bonus, we had cushioned stadium seats WITH BACKS! We all did a silent cheer for those amazing things!

Natalie’s last soccer game was earlier in the day, which made our arrival to campus later than we had hoped. But, as I walked my kiddos through the tunnel of the French Field House and proudly heard them each start an OH cheer, well, I knew it was going to be a good day!

Here’s a peek of Natalie and Coach Daddy at her last soccer game….crazy socks and hair. Oh, and did I mention that she scored the only goal for her team? YAY NAT!

Crazy Hair

We were lucky enough to be there in time to see the cheerleaders, the band and Brutus waiting to run through the tunnel of fans on their way into the stadium. I hustled the kids over to the Drum Major for a picture….

OSU Football

They had no clue who he was or why they were getting their picture with him, but I knew they would understand once they saw him take the field,bend over backwards, touch his hat to the ground and lead TBDBITL. Let’s just say that they were pretty impressed and happy that they had met him earlier!

OSU Football

Watching warm-ups. Check out those comfy seats!

Jeremy hooked us up with hotdogs, kettle corn and bottled water. The Buckeyes took the field and we settled in for the butt-whipping!

OSU Football

The super cool thing was that a few weeks earlier we ran the Buckeye 4 Miler as a family and finished on the 50 yard line. So we ran down the same tunnel the team does….someone must have screwed up though, because we didn’t get any smoke! Here we are before the race and the kids relaxing in the end zone after we finished:

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Back to the game….the Buckeyes dominated and tallied up another win. The rain came right after halftime. Just a slight drizzle and we were prepared with raincoats! The band’s halftime show was A.W.E.S.O.M.E. It was a bunch of old school rock songs and their formations were out of this world. My favorite was the walking Frankenstein! Kids were impressed! Our littlest Buckeye was growing restless early in the 3rd quarter. I took her down for a treat. While we were snacking, the rain picked up and along came the boys. Noah was freezing and the game was a blow-out so we took off. Both kids say they want to go to another game next year and their OSU alumni mama will be happy to make that a reality! GO BUCKS!

OSU Football

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

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Cruising on the Disney Dream

Posted On October 20, 2014| 6 Replies

Team Mathis LOVES Disney.

Not a shocking admission for most of you, but it is true, we are happier when we are getting our Disney on!

Last November Jeremy and I surprised the kids with a Disney Cruise. And, well, we had such a great time we went back 10 months later! Did I mention we love Disney?

We have cruised before….Carnival, Royal Caribbean….nothing compares to Disney. I guess that is why their ships are named the Dream, Wonder, Magic & Fantasy!

We chose the Dream for the second time. We were already going to Disney World over our Princess’s birthday, so we gave her the choice of being on land or sea for her actual birthday. Smart girl chose the sea!

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Our floating home away from home!

I plan early. Really. Early. Yes, I love a spontaneous trip now and then, but with Disney I believe the success and ease of the trip all comes down to the planning. I booked our cruise in April, we sailed on September 25th. Early. Early. Early. Doing this allowed me to space out the payments and make my selections sooner. Now, if Jeremy gave me the OK to cruise again next week I would find a way to make it happen and all would be good, but I do enjoy the sense of calmness that comes over me when I know I have everything lined up months in advance. Go ahead and roll your eyes…it annoys even me at times! Become a member of the Castaway Club and book your Disney Cruise here.

So, booked in April. Set to sail in September.

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Sailor Pluto greeted us at the port!

Since we are Silver members of the Castaway Club, these fun gifts were waiting for us in our stateroom:

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The Navilighter, to highlight your Navigators!

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Tote Bag & Door Magnet

 

After enjoying a one-of-a-kind buffet for lunch, we changed into our swimwear and hit the pool.

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My little Quacks ready to swim!

The Sail Away Party was supposed to be on the deck by the pool, but by 4:30 it was drizzling and Minnie does not look good with wet hair, so it was moved inside to the Lobby Atrium. It happened to us last year too, so we were pros on where to stand!

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Disney Cruise

We watched from our secret location and then snuck out to high-five a few friends!

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The actual ‘sailing away’ is pretty cool!

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With about an hour before dinner we explored the ship a bit…

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A stop by the Pumpkin Tree.

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Getting their Detective Casebooks to solve a mystery while on board.

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Even the portholes are festive!

Our first dinner was in the Royal Palace.

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This is Cinderella’s restaurant. The servers are dressed like Prince Charming and no detail is spared. The napkins are folded like Charming’s jacket, the bread basket is Cindy’s carriage and the menu is fit for royalty.

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But it’s Disney, so fun is still encouraged:

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Disney Cruise   Disney Cruise

There are hidden Mickey’s EVERYWHERE in Disney. The kids, and to be honest, us adults love to spot them first and point them out to everyone else.

Check out this one:

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And this one:

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This was taken last year…she looks so young!

After dinner we headed back to our room for a quick minute and the birthday girl was quite surprised. In true Disney style (and planning on Mama’s part), this greeted us…

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Birthday wishes from Mickey and the gang!

While my kids don’t spend a whole lot of time in the Oceaneer’s Club (Kid’s Club), it is pretty awesome. There is a Monster’s Inc lab, Andy’s Room with all of his toys, a sweet dance floor with a giant movie screen, Pixie Hollow for crafts and dress-up…last year Natalie got to color with Tinkerbell herself! You will not get any parent guilt for dropping off the kids here!

Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise

 

DAY TWO:

Happy 7th Birthday Natalie!

The birthday princess awoke to a roomful of decorations…apparently the Birthday Fairy found us in the Caribbean! And she even had a few presents to open.

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We stopped to visit with Princess Minnie on our way to breakfast:

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The night before,  we wrote our names on pumpkin seeds and ‘planted’ them under the tree. Look what happened while we slept…

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We opted to stay on the boat while docked in Nassau. We got off last year and spent the day at Atlantis. We had a good time, but the early morning disembark time and shuttle commute turned us off. It ended up being a great decision, we had a magical day on board!

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Braids and lunch pool-side!

The Aqua Duck is a favorite of our’s. It’s a water slide that goes out over the ocean! LOOK!

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The Aqua Duck

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I seriously lost count of how many times we rode this slide! Well done Donald!

 

 

Once we were full of sunshine, Disney  movies on the big screen, cruising on the Aqua Duck and eating at least three ice cream cones, we got changed for dinner & met up with a few pals…

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Captain Jack Sparrow! He was in rare form this evening!

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Peter Pan! The kids asked him to crow and it was awesome!

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Vampire Mickey!

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Next up was dancing with some Disney friends and filling our trick-or treat bags to the rim at Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party!

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Disney Cruise  Disney Cruise

Our dinner this evening was at Animator’s Palate.

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This is our favorite restaurant on board. It is F-U-N!

Natalie was hoping Crush would sing to her and he did!

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Crush singing to Natalie. Last year he busted out the OH-IO cheer once he found out we were Buckeyes!

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Nat’s birthday treat. Plus all the servers sang to her!

Mama and Daddy needed a little Cruising Beverage after dinner, so we took the kids to the Bon Voyage lounge on Deck 3. Before you get upset, know that this is a family-friendly lounge. I will admit that it was a little odd to be bellied-up to the bar with my kids, but they had fun. No doubt Natalie will ask for a Disney Shirley Temple everywhere she goes!

Disney Cruise   Disney Cruise

DAY  THREE:

This day is true bliss. The ship docks at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

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The All Ashore for Castaway Cay is 8:30am and we were one of the families ready to explore the island as soon as we could. Leaving the ship early means a shorter line and a better beach location! We stopped to say hello to Olaf and Donald and then found the perfect place to call home for the day on the Family Beach.

Disney Cruise   Disney Cruise

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We practically had the beach and sea to ourselves for about 30 minutes!

We swam, floated on inner tubes, snorkeled, enjoyed the floating playground, jet-skied in the open ocean, exercised our legs on a paddle boat, filled our tummies at Cookie’s BBQ and just relaxed a bit. Some day we plan to take advantage of the stingray adventure, massages, sports area, glass bottom boat rides, parasailing…we need 2 days here!

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We were too busy this year to take the plunge on the awesome waterside, Pelican Plunge……. but check it out. The kids loved it last year!

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Natalie presents the Disney Dream!

The day goes so quickly while on this island. On the short walk to the shuttle pick up, we always stop by Mount Rustmore and say hello to a few old friends:

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Castaway Cay has it’s own Post Office. The kids buy a post-card at the She Sells Sea Shells Shop, compose a silly note to themselves and drop it in the mailbox. This post office is on island time, so we arrive home long before their cards! A fun souvenir!

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Our view of Castaway Cay from our stateroom:

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When choosing your stateroom, it really is worth the splurge for a verandah…

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We spend quite a bit of time admiring the sea!

Our last dinner was spent in the Enchanted Garden.

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This place truly is enchanted. The large wall mural changes color as the day unfolds. It goes from a bright blue during the daytime to a beautiful red for the setting sun and finally to a nighttime sky with twinkling stars. Ma-gi-cal!

Even if you don’t want ketchup with your fries, ask for it. Your server will create a hidden Mickey with the ketchup right in front of your eyes! May have to step up my ketchup presentation!

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Yep, that’s Natalie’s hand presenting the ketchup masterpiece!

The kids voted to skip the show after dinner on our last night. I would not normally recommend missing the shows, they are AMAZING. But, we had seen them all last year, so we felt ok about ditching it to ride the Aqua Duck at night! The pool area was deserted and the kids rode the slide over and over again. Jeremy and I sat in some comfy chairs and watched The Frog Princess on the big screen. A perfect ending to another magical adventure!

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Disney Cruise   Disney Cruise

The next morning we sadly left our stateroom, ate a few more Mickey waffles for breakfast, disembarked the ship, boarded the bus and headed to our next Disney destination. We have agreed that 3 nights is not enough. Next cruise will be longer….for sure!

As Cinderella says,  “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” and  the Disney Dream has once again made our hearts happy!

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Live Creatively,

mamaSig

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Favorite Things Party

Posted On October 13, 2014| 5 Replies

Brown paper packages tied up in string, these are a few of my favorite things…..

Thank your lucky stars that there is no sound byte attached to the lyrics above because I have been told by more than one of my family members that I should only sing in the car, preferably when I am alone! Yes, I still find it in my heart to love these people and clean up after them!

OK, so back in June, one of my besties, Michelle pitched me an idea for a party.

Favorite Things Party

Meet Michelle. Isn’t she adorable? LOVE HER!

 

A Favorite Things Party. I was hooked from the get-go! Here’s the idea…..

Gather 11 fun friends.

Each friend brings 10 gifts. These gifts are her favorite thing(s)….something she cannot live without. Something she uses every day. Something she is excited to share. The 10 gifts need to be the same item(s). So, you choose your favorite thing(s) and buy 10 of them.

We chose an amount of $20 per gift, so $200 total per guest.

Wrap them up real pretty (or not….and have your guest close their eyes while you pass them out)! When it is your turn, pass out your gifts and as the guests open them explain your item(s).

Here is what I chose and why:

Favorite Things Party

 

The Wet Brush: Love. It. I can use pretty much any brush. I have thick hair, so I have broken a few brushes in my day, but never really gave much thought to my grocery store brushes. Then God blessed me with a little girl who has very fine hair that seems to attract rats while she sleeps. And of course she wants Rapunzel hair, so we have tried brush after brush after brush. The Wet Brush has eliminated the tears from our morning routine! YAY! Natalie has two and Mama has one! Check it out here.

Essie Nail Polish in Chinchilly: My sweet friend, Barb introduced me to this polish years ago. She was rockin’ it one night and I loved it. It is the coolest gray color, I get loads of compliments when I wear it and Essie has some magical formula that makes the polish stick to your nails for longer than 2 days! I’m pretty sure I don’t want to read the ingredient list! You will not be disappointed. Check it out here.

Bath & Body Works CO Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm: Another sweet friend, Amanda changed my life when she let me borrow her lip balm a few years ago. I love girlfriends….who else would let you borrow their lip balm and not think anything of it?! This stuff is amazing. It really stays on all night and I can still feel it in the morning. I have tried so many chapsticks, balms, ointments, etc., because my lips dry out so much at night. This works. Once while at B&BW I panicked and bought all 12 they had on the shelf because I can’t imagine living without this stuff. And I may or may not have gotten my kids addicted to it as well 😉 Check it out here.

The Container Store Travel Pill Case: My name is Mandy and I am addicted to The Container Store. There, I said it. I can wander this store for hours and am always inspired to organize something while I am there. I came across this little beauty in the travel section and immediately scooped it up. My mom always has a stocked pill case in her purse. While I may have teased her a few times, she has cured many a headache, upset tummy and sore throat with her traveling pharmacy! Now I am just like my mommy! It has three sizes of compartments, is see-through and opens and closes very easily. Check it out here. FYI, I also bought the gift boxes at The Container Store!

Because I love old stuff and crafting, I made a magnet from a vintage-style pin. I dismantled the pin from the back and hot-glued a magnet in it’s place. Each of the 10 were different. Just a little something unique from Mama Mathis!

Ellie Rose Sun & Sand Lotion: This is an Idaho favorite! I found this on one of my trips to visit my folks. They live in Sandpoint, which is about 50 miles from Canada. This lotion is made from goats milk by a stay-at-home mom. It is perfect for sensitive skin. The ‘sun & sand’ scent is my favorite, it smells just like Coppertone!  Check it out here.

Favorite Things Party

My brown paper packages tied up in string.

 

Each of us had a ball handing out our gifts. Some of the items given included:

Cabernet. Laura Mercier Primer. Sugarboo Lunchbox Notes. Joico Dry Shampoo. Olive Oil. The Candle Lab Pumpkin Candle. Sephora Sample Pack. Rodan+Fields Lotion. Hot Tea. Sour Jellybeans. Urban Decay Eye Pencil. Orbit Sweet Mint Gum. Chocolate. Iced Cookie (which was consumed immediately). Moroccan Oil. Heel Genius Foot Cream. Handmade Ponytail Ties. Zipper Pouch….look at mine:

Favorite Things Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few of the pretty packages!

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Let me tell you how so amazingly, off the wall fun this was! I had flashbacks of Christmas mornings as a kid! Here are the gals who participated…

Favorite Things Party

 

It was a great evening spent with fun girls sharing our favorite things. I am already looking forward to doing again!

This party can be adapted in so many ways. The cost of the favorites can be set to any dollar amount or the favorites can be home-made or recycled. Let your imagination run wild. Who doesn’t like to receive presents?! I would love to hear your ideas on how you would change this party and what are some of your favorite things?

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

 

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Noah’s 9th Arcade Adventure

Posted On October 7, 2014| 3 Replies

My video game junkie turned nine on August 6th!

Video Game Party

 

Noah is a gamer + He’s obsessed with Minecraft + His friends are gamers too = GAME TRUCK PARTY!

Noah had attended a couple Game Truck parties in the past year, so he was 100% certain of the theme for his 9th birthday. His mama was a little nervous at first (how could I maximize my creative energy into a party that centered around a giant arcade?), but once I embraced the theme there was no turning back!

I found the cutest invitation on Etsy…check it out HERE

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The shop owner was amazing to work with and even created a matching Thank You card and Cupcake Toppers. Look, I am not teasing when I say these were perfect.

Video Game Party

 

Video Game Party

 

I wanted to use more than just GREEN. Green truck, green Minecraft game…this party planner needed more than green. Hence the blue and red added to the invites and toppers! So, I had my theme and colors, which meant I was ready to plan!

The favors! I know you don’t need them and guests don’t expect them, but I love them! Realistically the giant arcade sitting at the end of my driveway would have been ‘favor’ enough, but I could not squelch the need to present each Gamer a goodie bag as they left.

Video Game Party

These were pretty simple, thanks to Etsy! They included:

Elixcir Bubbles (Clash of Clans), buy HERE

Diamond Boxes (Minecraft), customized, buy HERE. Fill with blue candy!

Mining Sanitizer (Minecraft), buy HERE

Bird Toy (Angry Birds), clearance section of Hobby Lobby

Arcade Candy (Space Invaders), Old Navy

Gummies (Angry Birds), Party City

Cookie (Pac-Man), buy HERE

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We started the day singing HBD to our always-smiling boy. He loves candles (well, fire) so we put candles in pretty much every meal during Birthday Week. See:

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Happy 9th Birthday Noah!

 

Next up was party prep. The Game Truck was scheduled for 2:30, which meant mama was in over-drive.

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Notice Jagger getting in on the party prep!

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Drink Station

 

Video Game Party: Creeper Juice     Video Game Party

Video Game Party     Video Game Party

I spent several hours learning as much as I could stomach about Minecraft and all of the items you can mine because Noah wanted a Minecraft Buffet. With the enormous help from Etsy I found these creative food tents which made me very happy. You can buy them HERE.

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This buffet was so much fun! Many of the items were purchased from the grocery store. I made the ‘lava’, red jello shots (non-alcoholic, of course) a few days before. The ‘dirt grass’ was a double batch of Rice Krispie treats with green icing. The TNT was Twizzlers cut and half and wrapped with TNT paper (included with my food tents). I ordered the golden gum balls (golden apples) and colored rock candy from HERE. Please do not make the same mistake I did and order clear rock candy for diamonds….Minecraft diamonds are BLUE. Let’s just say I heard about it from Noah and one, or two, or three of his gamer friends! Who knew?!

We did not see much of the boys for the two hours the truck was parked in my street. Every once in a while a gamer would emerge from the darkness, eyes shielded and wobble up to the buffet for an energy boost. I must admit the truck was pretty cool. I had a small vision of an adult only retro gaming party (with real jello-shots!).

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All smiles in the dark, air conditioned rolling tomb of gamer paradise!

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These boys take their gaming seriously!

After two hours the game truck pulled away and there may have been a few tears shed…but I will not name any names! Ok, it was Jeremy…because now we had to entertain 16 zoned-out boys! EEK! Good thing I had a plan. I knew the boys would need to burn off some energy after staring at pixelated screens for two hours. I also know that these boys love Minute-to-Win-It games. I decided they needed to earn their dessert. In Minecraft there are 9 ingredients you need to make cake. Perfect, huh? Nine ingredients, Noah is nine, we were serving cake! Sometimes the party gods deliver a gift on a platter!

Find the Ingredients for Cake Scavenger Hunt/MTWI Challenge:

Video Game Party    Video Game Party

Video Game Party    Video Game Party

Video Game Party    Video Game Party

1-transferring 9 tic-tacs from one cup to another with tweezers

2-stacking cans and paper plates

3-wrapping the birthday boy as a mummy

4-cereal box puzzles

5-tipping over bottles with a baseball in pantyhose

6-moving cookie from forehead to mouth without hands

7-bouncing ping pong balls into plastic cups

8-unrolling toilet paper rolls 2 at a time

9-blow a Solo cup across the table to their partner and back again

A clue was given for a certain location. At the location the ingredient was found with instructions for their MTWI game. While they were finding the clues, we were setting up the  next MTWI game. I had all of the game supplies in different baskets so it was a quick set-up each time!

I made this ‘Ingredient Board’ where the boys taped the cake ingredients when they found them.

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When the board was complete, the cake (cupcakes) were served!

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Here’s the whole Gamer Gang:

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Future members of Video Gamers Anonymous

 

And it is crazy how popular these little guys were. I found them at Brother’s (boy side of Justice) and almost didn’t buy them, because I thought they would be considered ‘babyish’! Boy, was I wrong! I even had a few boys ask if they could take them home! Look how cute….

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Noah and his cousin creep it up!

 

And as you have probably figured out…I am a stickler for themed shirts for our parties. I love how my whole family plays along!

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You are SO loved, Noah!

 

Live Creatively!

mamaSig

 

 

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Natalie’s 7th American Girl Gala!

Posted On September 19, 2014| 9 Replies

 

My American Girl has turned seven!

Official birthday is September 26th, but we opened ‘Natalie’s Doll House’ on Sunday to celebrate her inner star with 16 of her closest doll-obsessed friends.

American Girl Party. Welcome sign.

Welcome to Natalie’s Doll House!

This party was born almost a year ago. Haters, be kind. I am a planner and details are what make me happy, so a year is a must! Thankfully I have children who can stick with a theme once it is chosen!

If you are the parent of a little girl, no doubt you have been to the American Girl store, scrolled through their website and rushed to the mailbox when the new catalog arrives. It is hard not to love these dolls and all of the insane little do-dads (that’s a funny word, huh?) that accompany them. I hear a lot of grumbling about AG, but I have chosen to embrace this time in Nat’s life.  She plays with her dolls a lot and well, they make her happy. I know it is just a phase and I know they are crazy expensive, but I plan to re-sell a bunch of the ‘goods’ when she moves on! We gave Natalie her first AG doll (a Bitty Baby) when she was three. Thanks to her older friends, Molly & Sydney she was immersed in all things American Girl at a young age. The Bitty Twins came a year later and then her first official AG doll a year after that….in case I lost you:

Bitty Baby at age 3. Noah named this doll Alice, because Natalie’s birthday theme was Alice in Wonderland that year. My boy is CRE-A-TIVE!

Bitty Twins at age 4. Twins were named Jack & Jill….yep, the birthday theme was Mother Goose.

McKenna at age 5.

Saige and Kit joined our family at age 6 and Sunday we surprised Natalie with ice skater Mia who was retired years ago.

Hint: buy your dolls from your neighbors who are cleaning out their daughter’s bedrooms! I scored a used box from a different friend and voila, Natalie was in shock as to how we found Mia because “she is not even in the stores anymore”! I love it when a surprise pans out! One point for Mama.

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Natalie meets Mia!

Sorry for the sidebar….back to the PARTY!

I began saving boxes, bags and tissue paper and stock piling the free star stickers they give out at the store over a year ago. I had a vision of using 7 doll boxes with a picture of Natalie in each one.  My original plan was for a picture for each year of her life. I changed my mind at the last minute and used all current pictures. So glad I did. I LOVE how it turned out and even Noah told me that it was very cool. Another point for Mama.

American Girl Party. Doll boxes with photos.

I used a hot glue gun to create my box art. The party guests were hoping the boxes were filled with gifts for them! And the gum ball tubes made the perfect favors. Natalie chews gum ALL.THE.TIME…and the stickers from the store made them ‘official’ American Girl gum balls! Get the gum ball tubes HERE.

American Girl Party. Gum ball tubes.American Girl Party. Box art.American Girl PartyAmerican Girl Party. Box art.

 

A close up of the favor tag…I was pretty impressed with myself for coming up with that saying! Although I had to explain it to Natalie so I am sure it was as equally lost on her guests. Minus one point for Mama. Hopefully a mom to two appreciated it.

American Girl Party. Gum ball tube tags.

 

As the little dolls arrived they began decorating t-shirts for the doll they brought to the party. I had two tables set up with the t-shirts (cardboard already inside and ready to go) and the pens. Order your doll t shirts HERE. (Her shop link is broken, so type in RoaringKids in the search box from Etsy.)

 

American Girl Party

When the t-shirt was complete we dressed their doll in their new shirt and a tutu and party hat. My super creative mom made the doll tutus and party hats! She rocks….really! Check them out…she is taking orders, email me for her contact info! You know you want to!

American Girl Party. Dressed dolls.

In case you are wondering what we did with the clothes the dolls came in, well… I had the tutus and hats (and some AG stickers) in a bag labeled with each girl’s name. Their doll clothes went into their bag and I am happy to report that nothing was left behind. Whew!

American Girl Party. Box art, favor bags and doll decorations.

Again, I used the stickers from the store for their goody bags! FREE!

It’s not a party without games! We played Doll Bingo and Pass Kit! Jeremy was an excellent Bingo caller and was very patient as the girls found the right doll on their card! I was racking my brain as to what to use as markers for the Bingo cards. At first I thought of something edible, but I didn’t want to ruin the cards (I will use them again, I’m sure of it!). Buttons? Pennies? Beads? They would have all been just fine, but the DETAIL OBSESSED part of me was not content. The Bingo gods spoke to me and I remembered the bucket of doll house miniatures that belonged to my Grandma Dortmund that Natalie loves to play with….perfect! The girls were so into the little items and it made the game much cuter! Buy your custom Bingo cards HERE.

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Party snacks! Since kids are always hungry, except for a proper meal, and everyone enjoys some good party eats the snack table is always a priority to me! And I am glad I was prepared because about 15 minutes into the party (starting time of 3:30) one little guest announced that she was ready for a snack! Here’s what we served:

Teddy Grahams (two flavors of course), Pretzel Rods (love how they can be displayed), Bagged Apples (with caramel dip…bonus!), String Cheese and Grapes. Easy peasy! The girls were happy once their plates were full.

American Girl Party. Treat table. American Girl Party. Treat table.

Natalie requested Dippin’ Dots, but man those are not cheap! Kroger came through for me with their generic version thank goodness. And, it’s not a party without cake, right?! My friend Angie is a Cake Goddess.  Really she is. I send her a picture and she always exceeds my expectations. Order your own awesome cake from her Facebook page, ohmygoshCake.  Seriously, look:

American Girl Party Cake. Facebook: ohmygoshCAKE

And here we are singing to the Birthday Girl…

DSC_7497 she actually hates to be the center of attention (or have her picture taken, but that is a blog post for another day), so the yearly, “Gather around Natalie, stare AT her and sing TO her” announcement most likely makes her cringe. She is a good sport though and even managed a smile during her special song. It might be the adrenaline rush of the party or the teeny, tiny reminder that she cannot open her gifts unless she smiles for my pictures!

I am a sucker for iced cookies, anyone else? Once upon a time I made them myself and spent endless hours perfecting my decorating skills. Let’s just say  that decorating cookies is HARD! I have decided to leave it to the professionals. My Cookie Diva can be found HERE.

American Girl Party Cookies. www.cookie-crumbs.com

A few other buffet table decorations:

American Girl Party. Utensil jar. American Girl Party Flowers American Girl Party Gum balls.American Girl Party. Box art.

Let’s talk drinks! Natalie loves lemonade and its cheap and easy so I said yes! A couple of years ago it was mini cans of Fanta, so I was super excited about lemonade! I’m a big fan of lids when little ones are involved and actually started using the Mason jars before they were blowing up Pinterest 🙂 I am pretty sure I got the idea from my Grandma Dortmund…she was a thrifty lady! I strongly suggest you buy a case of jars for your future parties. You will save tons of money in the long run! Add some fancy lids and colored straws and sit back and pat yourself on the back! I added stick-on chalkboard labels for this party. A few girls begged me to take their glass home. Sorry sisters!

American Girl Party. Drink glasses.

A few years back my very creative friend, Sarah from Pennsylvania celebrated her American Girl with a star-studded affair. Sarah likes to throw over the top themed parties too (one of the many reasons we are friends!). This particular party included a life-size doll box for the girls. I stole her idea and Jeremy and I set out to create a box for Natalie. It is adorable if I do say so myself….

American Girl Party. Life size doll box. Life size doll box.

Wanna make one for the doll in your life? Head to U-haul and buy a Sport Utility Box. Next, stop by the hardware store and buy a couple cans of red spray paint, a small jar of white paint, a few rolls of white electrical tape and you have the fix-ins for a one-of-a-kind doll box! We measured Natalie for the face hole and Jeremy’s circle cutting skills did not disappoint. Thank goodness he listened in math class and was able to MacGyver some sort of contraption with string, a thumbtack and an Exacto knife and I was presented with a perfect circle. I love a man who is not afraid to craft! I used a cross stitch hoop (I grew up with a sewing mama, so these were on my radar) to make the perfect circle around the face hole. I had nightmares about stenciling the stars on the sides of the box, but JoAnn Fabrics saved me the day before the party. Moment of poor planning…I finished the box about 20 minutes before the party started! YIKES!! Anyway, I bought adhesive paper in pink and white, traced some stars and slapped them on the box! Since I am a tech idiot and could not figure out how to download the American Girl font to my computer I did the next logical thing and cut the logo from one of their bags and taped it to the box! We took a picture of each party guest in the box and will include a copy in their thank you note. The girls loved the box! One friend asked if she could borrow all my ‘stuff’ for her party. This same guest told me that I had really “upped my game” this year! Little girls crack.me.up!

I always take a group party picture. My kids LOVE looking at them years later. It’s fun to remember who celebrated with them. This year we had to include the dolls…and silly faces!

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We ended the evening with dinner from Donato’s, a few cold beverages for mama and daddy and lots of fun presents to open! My American Girl went to bed happy and loved. She fell asleep with her arms around my neck after thanking me for her ‘best birthday ever’!

DSC_7560 WE LOVE YOU NATALIE!

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

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