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    16 Beauty and the Beast Inspired Party Ideas

    Beauty and the Beast Inspired Party Ideas

    Beauty and the Beast Inspired Party Ideas

    I have such fond memories of watching the Disney’s original Beauty and the Beast, which first hit movie theaters in 1991.  I fell in love with the music and it was one of the first musicals that I memorized the entire soundtrack from start to finish.  When Lily was born, Beauty and the Beast was one of the first Disney movies that we watched together and since the age of 2, Belle has always been one of her favorite princesses.

    Lily and Belle at Epcot

    Kids with Belle on Disney Cruise

    We love the live Beauty and the Beast Stage Show down at Hollywood Studios, too!  We are so excited to see the live action Beauty and the Beast movie that will arrive in theaters this March.  I am especially thrilled to see Emma Watson take on the role of Belle – that makes the Harry Potter fan in me SUPER happy!

    What better way to celebrate this movie release than compiling a collection of Beauty and the Beast Inspired Party Ideas!

    Beauty and the Beast Inspired Food

    1. Make “The Grey Stuff” from the song Be Our Guest.  (This recipe is a copycat of the one served up in the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom in Disney World.)

    Grey Stuff Disney Be Our Guest Read more

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    10 Easy Ideas for Throwing a Fun Beach Party

    Birthday Party Inspiration

    Beach Party Ideas

    Last year when we decided to through a joint birthday party for the kids in the summer months (Lily’s birthday is in September, Landon’s is 10/1), they decided on a beach party theme.  Our swimming pool provided a great (free!) activity for most of the kids (and some of the adults) in attendance.  It also served as the perfect backdrop to our party planning.  Once we had our decorations and food planned, the only thing left to do was to cross our fingers that the weather cooperated.  Cooperate it DID and we had a hot and sunny day that was simply perfection for a beach themed pool party!

    There were so many budget-friendly ways that we saved a lot of money on this party and I wanted to share them in case you happen to plan a beach party of your own!

    Right off the bat, we saved a lot of money by having a party at our home.  When you cut out the overhead of having a party elsewhere, chances are good that you’re going to save.  If space isn’t an issue, it’s a great way to limit your spending.  We did not serve alcohol at the party, saving another tidy sum.  (4th of July and other hosting events we do usually serve alcohol, but typically leave it off the menu for the kids’ parties.  It’s not a rule set-in-stone, just our typical pattern.)

    Check out these other ways that we threw a fun party with great decor without breaking the bank:

    1.  We kept the menu super simple.  See some of our snacks and drinks below.  We had the party in the middle of the afternoon, between major mealtimes.  We ordered a bunch of plain pizzas from the local restaurant and they gave us a discount for ordering several pies.

    2.  We used an inflatable kiddie pool to hold our ice and bottled water.  Buy these cheap online or at a local store.  Even better – grab one during summer clearance sales if you know you’re having a beach party well in advance. We picked this up the year before for $1 at a beach store in OBX!

    Bottled Water in Baby Pool

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    10 Adorable Christmas Eve Traditions to Start with Your Family

    Christmas Eve Traditions

    Traditions are a wonderful way to spend time together with your family.  They are the stuff that memories are made of and many times these traditions are handed down from generation to generation.  Christmas time is the perfect time of year to start traditions!  Check out this list of some of our family’s favorite things that we look forward to every year on or right around Christmas Eve.

    1.  Make a Christmas Eve box

    Christmas Eve Box

    2. Make reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn for Santa’s reindeer.

    Magical Reindeer Food

    3. Make some extra room in the play room before Santa arrives.  Have your kids take the Christmas Toy Challenge – no elf required!

    A Christmas Toy Challenge

    4. Take a car ride around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights!  We call this “Griswolding.”  We put the kids in their pajamas and serve up popcorn and hot chocolate in the car.  We crank up the Christmas tunes on the radio and drive around for an hour or so looking at the lights!

    This local light display is in Harleysville, PA.

    harleysville lights

    5. After Santa has visited your house, set the crock pot up with this Slow Cooker Candy Cane French Toast recipe and wake up to a breakfast that has cooked itself!  (Note: You’ll want to start it later at night and on the lowest temperature so it doesn’t overcook.)

    Candy Cane French Toast

    6.  Take pictures of the kids silhouetted against the Christmas tree lights.  I have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to do this!!  I finally took some time this year to practice and then practice some more.

    Here are the settings I used while shooting on manual mode:

    ISO – 1600
    F – 3.5
    SS – 1/10

    A tripod is handy, though I didn’t break mine out for this picture.  The kids will have to hold still, so if all else fails, I suggest a little bribery.  ;)

    Kids in Front of Tree

    7. Set up a hot cocoa bar.  You can make it as simple or as extravagant as you want, as long as you have the hot cocoa, you’re in business!  We love throwing together some marshmallow snowmen for our hot cocoa bar!

    Marshmallow Snowmen

    8.  Have an indoor snowball fight!  Our kids (okay, the adults too) can’t get enough of these!

    snowball bucket

    9.  Capture the moment with a chalkboard sign.  Big or small, handmade or store-bought, chalk or markers – it doesn’t matter what you choose.  Write the date on your signage of choice and snap a pic!

    Kids on Christmas Chalkboard Sign

    10.  Make a gingerbread house (or village)!  Okay, you can seriously pick these kits up for just a few dollars at stores like ALDI, AC Moore, Michael’s, Walmart, Amazon, etc.  Landon and I made this gingerbread house together at his preschool.  His teachers had already assembled the houses by simply hot glue gunning some graham crackers onto the top half of a cardboard milk/juice container.  So smart!!

    Preschool Gingerbread houses

    Remember!  It doesn’t matter how many traditions you pick or to what extent you do them – the only thing that matters is that you spend some quality time with those who are the most important to you!

    Merry Christmas!

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    Christmas Traditions with Kids

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    DIY Jingle Bell Christmas Tree Decoration

    DIY Mini Christmas Tree

    This weekend I had an unprecedented HOUR to wander the aisles of my local craft store.  Alone.  No kids.  Armed only with a Starbucks latte, a coupon and an insatiable thirst for ALLTHECRAFTSUPPLIES.  Not only were there some fantastic sales going on, I had one of those almighty 15% off regular and sale purchase coupons.  Carpe diem if I ever saw it.

    I was finishing up my spree of t-shirt, melting chocolate, candy cane and garland buying when I rounded the corner and saw the most adorable little trees.  They were little fake evergreen trees, roughly a foot tall, with the bases wrapped in burlap.  Normally $4.99, they were 50% off and then I used my coupon on top of that discount!  Final price for the tree was just $2.12.  (Yes, I grabbed several of them!)

    The wheels started to turn as I thought about different ways to decorate them.  I found a pack of small silver bells ($2.54 for 36 bells, I used about 6 on the tree) and then a pack of sparkly glittery balls for $2.72 (I used about 1/4 of the pack).  When I got home I grabbed my trusty hot glue gun and got to work!

    I found some similar decor online if you can’t get to a craft store: tree, bells, ornaments.

    DIY Christmas Tree Materials

    Glitter Balls Jingle Bells

    I used the hot glue gun to glue the ornaments and bells onto the tree branches.  Just a small dot of glue held them perfectly onto the tree.

    Here is the finished tree, made for about $3.50 in material!

    DIY Christmas Tree Project

    Glitter Christmas Ornaments

    DIY Mini Christmas Tree

    I’ll be making more of these and using them as decorations around the house.  They would make incredibly festive hostess gifts, gift card holders, etc!  I even bought a pink/blue/silver set of the glittery balls to make a “girly” tree for Lily’s room.  It will have all of her very favorite colors – she’s going to love it!!

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    DIY Jingle Bell Christmas Tree

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    DIY Indoor Snowball Fight Bucket

    This post is sponsored by Pro World Inc. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% our own.

    DIY Indoor Snowball Fight Bucket

    We LOVE a good snowball fight! They are so much fun, get everyone up and moving, and always lead to a lot of laughs. Of course, traditional snowball fights require real SNOW, which during any given winter season we seem to either have plenty of or not much. The other downsides to outdoor snowball fights include the cold, wet, freezing mess that comes naturally with those snowballs.

    So this year I decided to switch things up a bit! I made this adorable Indoor Snowball Fight Bucket which the kids are going to go crazy over. (It would also make a fantastic gift!).

    To put this kit together, I used the following supplies:

    snowtime-anytime-indoor-snowballs

    buffalo-check-fabric-tote

    proworld-htv

    How to make:

    1. I cut a snowflake design out of white Siser Strip Flocked Heat Transfer Vinyl on my Silhouette Cameo.  I LOVE how this vinyl has a fuzzy look and feel to it.  It is the perfect addition to the fabric tote!

    snowflake-flocked-htv

    2. Using my iron, I ironed the snowflake onto the tote.  It only took a couple of seconds to press and I placed a piece of parchment paper between the tote and the vinyl.

    Flocked HTV Snowflake on Buffalo Check Tote

    3. I filled the bucket to the brim with the Snowtime Anytime snowballs!

    Indoor Snowball Fight

    This will make such a great surprise.  I have a feeling that our dear Elf on the Shelf will be gifting this snowball fight kit to the kids sometime soon!!

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    diy-indoor-snowball-fight-kit-in-bucket

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    DIY Christmas Ornament Shadowbox Tutorial

    DIY Christmas Ornament Shadowbox

    Last year we got a steal of a deal on one of those fireplace heaters for our kitchen. We use it daily in the winter as a heater and even when it’s not cold enough to use the heat, I like to turn just the flames on because they’re pretty!  This is our first Christmas season with the fireplace heater and I have gone back and forth on how to decorate it.  Last week I shopped all of those great sales on home decor and grabbed this garland and these fairy lights from Target.  I bought a 7 pack of flameless candles from Kohl’s.  I arranged everything on the mantel today and it looked great, but there was just something missing.  I had a project in mind that I thought might complete the look.  Thanks to a delightful afternoon-long Landon nap, I was able to get in some craft time!

    Here’s what you’ll need to make a similar shadowbox:

    • a fairly deep shadowbox (ours is a 9×9 inch box from IKEA)
    • ornaments (we used these mini ornaments from Target)
    • background for picture frame (we used a piece of glitter heat transfer vinyl.  Other ideas include scrapbook paper, fabric or tissue/wrapping paper)
    • words cut out of vinyl (I cut oracal 651 vinyl on my Silhouette Cameo)

    glitter-htv-and-ornaments

    How to make:

    1. Cover the shadowbox insert with whatever background material you decided to use.  I used gold glitter heat transfer vinyl.  I didn’t really want to waste my pricey HTV but it was SO sparkly and the color was perfect, so it made it a little easier to sacrifice.
    2. Fill the box with however many ornaments you’d like.
    3. Place insert on the back of the shadowbox.
    4. Wipe down the glass front with rubbing alcohol and then affix your vinyl.
    5. I tipped my shadowbox back and forth until the ornaments were sitting how I wanted them.
    6. Place on shelf or wall and admire the simple beauty!

    christmas-mantle-mc

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    diy-christmas-ornament-shadowbox-tutorial

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