Monthly Archives: April 2015
|April 29, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under Adventures in Cooking, Life and Times in our House, Party||
For our Avengers Superhero Party we wanted to make sure we had some Captain America approved treats! The kids LOVED the Star Spangled Marshmallows that were easy to eat and deliciously food-allergy friendly. Another favorite treat of my two little ones has always been a cup of popcorn and with a little pizzazz we made some that all of our Little Superheroes were proud to eat.
3(large) Bags of White Air-Popped Popcorn-do not get a flavored popcorn-does not take color correctly.
1 lb Bag of each Candy Melt– Dark Blue, Light Blue, and Red.
Sidenote: Candy Melts are typically in the party decorating aisle and not in the easier to understand baking aisle. Who knew?
In glass containers melt your Candy Melt- following the directions on the bag-otherwise your Candy Melts will in fact burn and turn black.
Fill large containers with Air-Pop Popcorn(microwave doesn’t work as well). After the Candy Melt is a soupy texture you can drizzle it on to the popcorn, as even as possible.
As soon as the first layer is covered you can mix the popcorn up to get even saturation. Do not wait for the Candy Melts to dry on the popcorn before mixing… mix immediately.
The darker colors took the best on the popcorn but I still enjoyed having the extra layer of color with the light blue. The Candy Melts just up the sweetness factor which of course led the kids to love it just that much more. Definitely perfect for our Superhero Party!
As the weather warms up I know that I will definitely be breaking out the Patriotic Popcorn and Star Spangled Marshmallows for the Fourth of July! What a great way to celebrate with our family and friends. Plus it has been declared that all parties from here on out with have color-coded popcorn AND marshmallows. And the price point and time expense make this an easy one to say YES to.
What are your go-to snacks for parties? Any family-friendly options or “secret recipes” you would like to share?
Please and THANK YOU!
|April 24, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under Life and Times in our House, Party|
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias
First off we are HUGE fans of The Avengers in our house. HUGE! We celebrate heroes that make a difference and our kids aspire to be more like them! Plus, there are incredible teaching moments when you look at the personality of each hero and what they are capable of, what they choose to be, and who they choose to be. Being a hero is a choice. I think that everyone can aspire to be a hero to someone in their time of need.
With that we decided to host The Avengers Movie Marathon Party for our friends and family to celebrate-showing our love for The Avengers and the NEW movie coming out: Marvel’s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron (Plus Bonus Features) on May 1st!
First up? PLANNING. I wanted to make sure that we had enough food, fun activities, and MOVIES for our Avengers Movie Marathon to be a success. I started out by planning the meals, then activities, and the list of toys/costumes/movies we needed to purchase. The list may or may not have been four pages long(terribly big handwriting problems) but I was able to grab everything I needed at our local Walmart. Two shopping carts FULL to the brim with supplies and a happy toddler and preschooler clad in Marvel Avengers Hulk Gamma Grip Fists
and Captain America’s mask.
I’ll call that a WIN-WIN.
Our collection was bare so we bulked it up adding: Iron Man 1, 2, & 3; Captain America 2, Thor 2, and The Avengers. Wishlist for the future includes adding the last three missing movies: Captain America 1, Thor 1, and The Incredible Hulk. Raymond did the happiest of all happy dances when we previewed Iron Man 1 while I was creating The Hulk Smash Wall.
Our costumes/dress-up got a HUGE dose of TRUTH, a touch of LIGHTENING, and a major case of the MONDAYS– “You want to know my secret? I’m always angry.” So much fun adding in these with our current Hulk Costume Marvel Avengers Hulk Gamma Grip Fists, Marvel Avengers Thor Battle Hammer, Captain America Costume with our Red Shield, Iron Man Mask, Iron Man Goggles, Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron Hulk Mask… our kids are definitely blessed with hours of imaginative play in their future.
I am ALL about Photo-Booth Backdrops as a parent and party goer. One of the reasons I made our DIY Chalkboard Wall. Nothing cuter than kids going crazy with props and parents/teens getting in on the action. I picked up a pack of paper masks(much sturdier than I thought) and a set of photo props from the party section at Walmart. I actually had put down on my list supplies to make my own party props and my heart literally skipped a beat when I found these. Just saved an hour or two and they were MUCH better than what I was planning.
MAKE YOUR OWN SHIELD ACTIVITY
When thinking about our house and who was coming to the party I set up “stations” of different crafts and activities that people could pick from to participate. The Make Your Own Captain America Shield definitely was a hit with the young toddlers who colored their little hearts out. PLUS it made for a great party favor to take home! Simply print out a blank Captain America Shield. Pick up a set of Frisbees(these were under a dollar) and get some craft supplies out. The kids will go crazy and clean up was minimum.
THE HULK SMASH WALL
The Hulk Smash Wall was a complete labor of love. I will say that if you only pick one activity for your Avengers Party, that this is it. From the babies, to the toddlers, to the preschoolers, to the older kids and teens. I have never found something that EVERYONE could participate in while having the TIME of their lives.
WORTH THE TIME.
The Hulk Smash Wall took me three hours to put together and paint. Worth every single arthritic hand-ache.
We also made an Avengers Tower Cityscape AND a Pin the Star on the Shield Game for our front door. Once again I am all about back-drops for setting the party mood and the Cityscape did just that. Plus the Pin the Star on the Shield Game was great for the younger party goers.
STAR SPANGLED MARSHMALLOWS
Camp Size Bag of Marshmallows
Candy Melts- One Pound Bag of Each Color- Red and Dark Blue
Parchment Paper or Wax Paper- Two Sheets Will Work
I wanted an allergy-friendly option for my gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, preschooler to munch on and BOY did I find a keeper. I grabbed a Camp Size Bag of Marshmallows(who knew those even existed???) and two bags of candy melts(in the decoration aisle, not baking section) and used some sturdy paper straws. HINT: Do not use plastic- they slide right off.
You will need to actually read the directions on the Candy Melts to melt them. Please don’t make my mistake and glance at them while throwing them in a glass jar in the microwave. They can and will BURN and turn black. Not exactly the look I was going for. Thankfully I just used about 1/3 of the one pound bags and could throw out that first batch.
After warming the Blue Candy Melts you will make a hole with your paper straw in the marshmallow and then remove the straw. Place the marshmallow side down(the one with the hole) into the Blue Candy Melt. I let the residual candy drip off then placed the marshmallow blue side up on a baking sheet. I then IMMEDIATELY stuck the straw back in through the blue candy. This helps the straw stick as the candy dries and you don’t have to worry about cracking the candy goodness if you put the straw in later on.
Let dry. I was doing multiple party-prep items so this wasn’t so much me watching the candy dry as it was me multitasking.
Thirty minutes later(approximately) I warmed up the Red Candy Melts-the right way- and was able to hold onto the marshmallow part below the blue candy and dip it straight into the red candy. You do not want to use the straw to dip from because the excess Red Candy Melt sometimes is a bit too much weight and there could be a straw-tastrophy.
I kid. But really. Hold from the marshmallow.
You will then want to place the Red Candy Melt side down on your Parchment Paper or Wax Paper- I used one of each because either I was helping you all out or I ran out of both and used what I had…
Putting the Red Candy Melt side down on a baking sheet or glassware will cause the red to stick to the sheet or glass and will cause you to either ruin your marshmallow entirely OR you can simply re-do the red with the 1/3 Red Candy Melts that you have left.
Steep learning curve for this novice. But with these helpful hints you will be able to avoid my mistakes. These were the BIGGEST hit with the kids. So much so that I will always make a batch of color coordinated marshmallows for any and all future parties.
AND if you have any Color Candy Melts leftover? Simply drizzle on over air-popped popcorn and stir with a spatula. Delicious and EASY! I used Red, Blue, and Dark Blue Candy Melts to create Patriotic Popcorn.
Make sure to pick up MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron snacks! I found Cheez-It baked snack crackers, The Avengers Dr Pepper and Diet- Dr Pepper, Doritos and Kellogg’s Fruit Snacks on your shopping trip!
The Kids took the fruit snacks home with their new Captain America Shields as party favors. YUM.
Cheez-It baked snack crackers made it’s way into our Stark Party Mix with our Nacho Cheese Doritios.
And the adults grabbed a cold can of Dr Pepper and were able to sit down, relax, and WATCH the movies while the kids were able to make, build, smash, and snack!
FOOD & SNACKS
My husband and I made-up all of the corresponding names for the food that we got for the party. Definitely made for more than a couple laughs and high-fives from our guests. I was able to download The Avengers font to brand all of our activities AND food cards.
It’s the little things that take the party to the next level.
Cheez-It baked snack crackers and Nacho Cheese Doritos
Banner’s Gamma Ray Cooked Cake- Protected from Gamma Radiation with State of the Art Glass Container
Mark 44( What Tony Stark calls all of his Suits- Mark ##)
Black Widow Bites- What Black Widow uses to Electrocute her prey- SHOCKING- Sour Patch Kids
Star Spangled Marshmallows
Taste of Victory- definitely more than a few people yelled that they, “Must have a TASTE OF VICTORY!”
Fruit Snack Party Favors
I called this Miu-Miu as they do in Thor 2. But chose the correct name for the place card.
Put the HAMMER down. Marvel Avengers Thor Battle Hammer
Hawkeye’s Arrows- Carrots and Celery
Arc Reactor Fusion- deliciously fruity.
Cap’s Vita Juice
Thought that was fitting to use at the front door for our guests to see as they came in.
Photo-Booth Wall Fun
NEVER FEAR! The Hulk and Captain America are HERE!
Who doesn’t want to appear larger than life? Loved that all the kids were able to take pictures using the costume pieces we have with their favorite superhero!
We moved The Hulk Smash Wall outside like any good parent would know to do. AND BOOM… I mean it was a SMASHING success.
Literally, a SMASHING success. The kids built towers, walls, cities and SMASHED their little hearts out while the movies were playing. We watched The Avengers and moved onto Captain America 2 by the end of the party.
To this day I don’t think I have EVER seen Emma Marie laugh harder nor longer than when she was destroying The Hulk Smash Wall. Kids love to destroy things. She was wearing her Hulk Costume(by choice) which seemed quite fitting after seeing how much pleasure she takes in the destruction of property. #HulkSmash
Hours of entertainment. Hours. Seriously, you can not have a Superhero Party without The Hulk Smash Wall.
Snacks & Crafts: Toddlers Dream
My little Captain America
Star Spangled Marshmallows- Food Allergy Safe and Captain Approved
She may be tiny… but you don’t want to see her when she’s angry!
We ended the night with a game of Pin the Star on the Shield with the toddlers and preschoolers. The older kids were finally joining in on the Movie Marathon with the adults and settling into a Hulk Smash(sugar coma).
I am thrilled that with a little planning, a bit of craftiness, and a touch of baking goodness resulted in an EPIC Superhero Party celebrating our favorite Superheros and the much anticipated MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st!
My husband and I already have a date-night planned so that we can go watch the movie! Are you going to be headed to the theaters to watch?
Who are your favorite Superheros?
What activities or games would you add in to make our next Superhero Bash an even more SMASHING success?
|April 23, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under Life and Times in our House|
Today was glorious! We spent the morning going Peach Picking at one of our favorite local farms. The weather was perfect for a long stroll to grab the biggest, juiciest peaches we could find. Emma Marie thought the smallest ones were the best…
Schnepf Farms Peach Festival
Last year when we went Peach Picking at Schnepf Farms, it was WAY too hot and toasty to stick around. Plus I was carrying around an extra 45 lbs-so I was HOT all the time and an emotional mess that comes with working out and not seeing any results. But I digress…
Today was all sorts of fun! Plus Raymond and Emma Marie were begging to go back to “the real farm”, as they like to call it.
Loved going in and saying hi to everyone.
Raymond headed right to “our bench”- where we always take one photo a trip. Love seeing them grow through the seasons, and now years. Today they were sending us out-way out past the normal orchards so we actually got to get back in our car and take a dirt road through the historic part of the farm to the back orchard. I could not believe that there was no one else there.
We were able to park right next to the orchard on a dirt path so I left my backpack I had packed to the brim with supplies that would’ve been necessary on a long hike out to the usual orchard and instead just got to carry my camera and ENJOY the moment.
Raymond helped carry the crate and took off finding the PERFECT tree for picking.
We hiked to the very back of the farm and he found THE tree.
The smaller, the better… she actually picked quite a few and didn’t take a bite until after Raymond asked if he could eat one. Thankful that this year no one took a bite out of every single peach-which led to a peach-tastrophy of ripened peaches at home that were needing to be eaten in one day. A good problem to have-yet I’m glad we will be able to eat these over the next couple of days.
They gobbled down a peach and we headed back with our goods.
They ate through three more peaches in the car on the way home, a piece. Loved our adventure to the farm today. When we got home before getting a fresh batch of clothes on(for all) I cleaned out the car as they ran around with their trucks and created rock sandcastles. Awe, the life of a kid. Our sugar-soaked clothes are in the wash and the car is wiped down. Now all we need is to take a trip with the whole family so that we can grab a couple more.
Messes make memories.
Sweet, sweet memories.
Do you go peach picking in the spring? Or apple picking in the fall?
We would go apple-picking in the fall but apples are one of Raymond’s allergies(he immediately throws up upon ingesting)- hoping he grows out of that allergy because I would love to add apple-picking to our list of family traditions!
|April 22, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under Baby, Toddler||
Most of our days are spent out and about- honestly with a toddler and preschooler it is a NECESSITY. We are incredibly lucky to be able to be outside every day of the year here in sunny Arizona. Unfortunately, some of those days are 120 degrees, but sprinklers can be run and baby pools filled up with ice. PLUS am I ever excited about our Slip & Slide.
One of the places that we spend a lot of our time is our local Rec Center. Tumbleweed Rec Center is an incredible source of free and cheap entertainment, kids activities, and health fairs. Huggies has let us nominate a community project in our area with their #UltraHug Campaign on Social Media. Tumbleweed Rec Center could sure use the extra $2,000.
When Raymond was little we attended a fabulous Health Fair and were able to score a FREE bike helmet for our little tike. That was two years ago and due to budget cuts they have not been able to Spread the Love recently.
I am ALL about Bike Safety and am a huge advocate for practicing what you preach. Seeing as if you follow me on Instagram you will find that ALL of us wear Bike Helmets when we ride. Helmet hair is much cooler than head trauma. All day, every day.
Now that Emma Marie is starting to ride the balance bike we are glad that she willingly obliges us with putting her helmet on, every time. Being a good example helps. When EVERYONE else is doing it? Much better. In the eye’s of a stubborn toddler that can be the difference between smooth sailing and a complete meltdown. I would love nothing more than for other families to be able to ensure that their kids are covered. I will definitely be posting on Twitter AND Instagram about Tumbleweed for the #UltraHug Campaign.
Spread the Love with YOUR Community
As kids, nothing beats spending a day in the sun. The playground was your castle, the ocean was a monster trying to swallow you up, and hiking with your family made you feel like a great explorer.
What places in your community do you look back on with nostalgia? Or, what places do you and your family currently enjoy hanging out just appreciating each other’s company?
As they say, “The best things in life are free,” and this applies to many of our local parks, playgrounds, beaches, and rec-centers. These places bring us so much joy, and now it’s time to give back with Huggies!
Nominate your community project by uploading a selfie of you and your baby to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UltraHug. Be sure to include details in your social posts about the project you are nominating. In your story make sure to share why the local community project you selected is important to you, and how it will impact those in your community.
On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.
Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers at Walmart
Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers offer long-lasting leakage protection you can count on, so you can focus on all of your baby’s daily adventures. The range of sizes fit babies from newborn to 35 lbs. Only Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers have a new, unique quilted liner to lock away wetness better.
They have a conforming, gap-free fit to keep your active baby dry throughout the day The trusted Leak Lock® System has quick-absorbing layers for up to 12 hours of protection.
How to Enter the #UltraHug Selfie Contest
• First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug
• In your same post, make sure to include a text nomination (approximately 100 – 120 characters) including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.
You can check out for yourself how these diapers are essential for our Top FIVE Bedtime Tips and Tricks with a Baby & Toddler. Seriously, life-changing. I treasure my sleep. And SLEEP is essential for my sanity. I think most parents would agree with that assessment. We also are THOSE people that have a successful nighttime routine that we’ve had in place now for YEARS. Goodness did my mom heart just skip a beat. We’ve been parents for close to four years.
Time is no parent’s friend.
What project would you like to nominate in the Huggies #UltraHug Contest?
Who in your community could put $2,000 to good use?
Are you a fan of the nightime bedtime routines?
|April 20, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under Life and Times in our House|
The Hulk Smash Wall will go down in history as the most-loved party game to date! I have yet to find something that people of all ages enjoyed more… seriously, causing chaos and destruction is just too much fun! Add a Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron Hulk Mask and Marvel Avengers Hulk Gamma Grip Fists?!?
Match made in history.
When we decided to throw an Avengers Movie Marathon we wanted to incorporate our kid’s favorite superheroes: Captain America and The Hulk. After writing down our shopping list we concluded that The Hulk, our daughter, must have some monstrosity to destroy.
Conclusion: The Hulk Smash Wall.
She relished each and every moment causing destruction in our backyard. Our tiny yard echoed in maniacal laughter that is usually reserved for Super Villains.
Apparently, destroying things can be a family affair.
12-15 Medium-Large Cardboard Boxes
3-5 Tiny Cardboard Boxes(The Toddler’s rejoiced in these)
Brick Red Paint- 1 quart(a quart is completely necessary)
Black Paint-Paint Sample Size
Time: 3-3.5 hours
You can’t really put a price-tag on PURE JOY but the price and labor were more than worth it! I mean toddlers, preschoolers, kids, and teens played with the Hulk Smash Wall continuously for three hours. THREE HOURS. Even with an entire table full of sugary treats they rarely rested for more than five minutes before attacking the wall again.
Raymond helped me assemble the boxes right before nap time.
During nap time I was able to paint all sides and tops of the Hulk Smash Wall. One light coat(not perfect because who are we kidding it is going to get smashed to smithereens) and if I were to do it again I would have painted the bottom too. The boxes dried super fast and I was able to line them all up on three rugs and our dining room table and paint away.
Had it not been 90 degrees outside I would have much rather painted in the backyard. Fumes were not a problem, but toddlers waking up while I paint the last side are.
I painted the “Brick” on the Hulk Smash Wall after the kids went to bed.
Took less than twenty minutes and BAM-er… it was a SMASHING success!
There was no “one right way” to build the wall and the varied sizes of the boxes made it easy for all of the kids to create their own.
You don’t want to see him when he get’s angry. #threenager
Boom goes the dynamite.
Both of our kids SMASHED til their little hearts delight. Hours of fun and no injuries to report.
I definitely recommend a section of destruction at your next Superhero Party! It goes without saying that you should be careful and make sure that you always watch your little ones while they DESTROY the WORLD.
That felt good.
Now all Superheros were allowed to Smash their own way. Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Iron Man SMASHED equally awesome. At least that’s what a bi-partisan party goer believes. I have my favorites…
Put the HAMMER down-Marvel Avengers Thor Battle Hammer
What party game has been a SMASHING success for you?
I would love to hear other options especially as we gear up for hosting our two little ones birthdays this summer and fall! Thanks for sharing!