Happy Valentine’s Day!

by ilene on February 14, 2016 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized



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Glowstick Valentines

by ilene on February 9, 2016 · 1 comment

in holidays, valentines day


These are the valentines that Zoey is bringing for her friends at school this year- glowstick valentines!  Easy, cheap, not sugar and fun for the kids!

No joke, it took me about 75 snaps to get one decent photo of Zoey. I used photoshop to add the text:


Materials: printed photos, glowsticks and hole punch. It doesn’t get any easier:


Punch one hole each at the top and bottom of the photo and string a glowstick through. Tada!

Glowsticks are pretty cheap, about $1.50 for a dozen.  I got the 4×6 photos printed at Costco for 17 cents/photo so each valentine ended up being about 30 cents each.  So affordable!  Zoey helped me put the cards together. She can’t wait to pass them out to her friends!

Need another easy fast valentine idea? Check out the bunny valentines we made last year!


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Happy Chinese New Year!

by ilene on February 7, 2016 · 1 comment

in holidays, Skylar's First Year

Happy Chinese New Year!!  We have hung up our red lanterns, handed out red envelopes and now ready to eat some yummy Chinese food.



This holiday is especially special to us because Skylar was born last year on Chinese new year.  Its one of those holidays that go by the lunar calendar so it came a few weeks earlier this year.  We can’t wait to introduce all the traditions to Skye this year!chinesenewyear_skye2


Happy year of the monkey!!  From my two little monkeys:chinesenewyear2016_1


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Read Them and Eat Books

by ilene on February 3, 2016 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized

My amazing mom friend Kendra just launched a Kickstarter campaign for her new line of books, Read Them and Eat Books.  The books are made for children who are picky eaters, just like Zoey!  In fact, we got to test the books out on Zozo  when Kendra was just in the development stages.  Zoey, who is 3 years old, loved them and gave them two thumbs up!  There are two books available, “Sally Strands and Her Wacky Hairstyles” and “The Most Delicious Train Ride”.  The concept behind the books is pretty fun.  Parents read the stories to their kids while the kids act out the storyline with food and eat along.  For example, spaghetti is used to make Sally’s hair and cucumber slices represent the wheels of a choo choo train.  The children are literally playing with their food and unwittingly feeding themselves as the story progresses. Because Zoey is such a difficult child to feed, we have tried all sorts of tricks to get her to eat something/anything and meal times are a nightmare.  These books were a creative, entertaining way for her to eat.

Check out the Read Them and Eat Kickstarter campaign and be one of the first to get your hands on these interactive books. You may see some familiar faces in the intro video, too.  😉


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In my last post, I shared the details of Zoey’s 3rd birthday party, a drive in movie theater.  In this post, I’ll share how I put together the cardboard cars for the drive in.  The cars made the whole theme come together.drivin_title2


To make the cardboard cars, I searched everywhere to find the perfect affordable cardboard boxes that were the right size and in the right quantities.  Boxes can be pricey and I needed 18 of them.  I also wanted them without any logos on them in case it would show through the paint.  Originally, I bought the medium size moving boxes from Lowes but found them to be too deep. When Zoey sat in it, she couldn’t see out of the box!  Taking measurements, I found that the boxes couldn’t be taller than 14 inches for an average height 3 year old toddler sitting down.  I ended up finding the perfect size and quantity of cardboard boxes on Amazon.  They were 20″ long, 16″ wide and 14″ tall. And a steal at only $1.63 a box.  They ended up being great quality and really sturdy.

Originally I wasn’t planning on painting the boxes because, seriously, who has the time to paint almost 20 boxes?   I’m really glad I did though because the paint really transformed the cars from ordinary cardboard boxes to adorable little cars.  I used huge bottles of regular acrylic paint and used the largest foam brushes that I could find:


I needed a lot of paint since the cardboard really soaked it up. I timed myself and each box took about 10 minutes to paint. The yellow boxes needed two coats so those took 20 minutes each. Every night, I would try to paint 3-4 boxes after I put both kids to bed. Jeff thought I was nuts. Especially because I was trying to hide what I was doing from Zoey so I had to wait and make sure she was sound asleep before I took out all the supplies, laid out all the tarps and then cleaned it all up before the kids woke up the next morning.  We live in a small condo in the city with very little space so I  strategically stacked each box to dry in our kitchen:



After the paint dried, I used colored duct tape to make racing stripes down the front of each car:cardboardbox1

You can now buy colored duct tape at Michaels, Target and even Lowe’s.  Such an awesome product.

To assemble the cars, I folded three sides of the box flaps down and left one side up for the “hood”. The hood is held up by two pieces of tape underneath.  For the wheels and steering wheel, I used 7 inch plastic plates that were hot glued on:


Each car was personalized with the guest’s name on a license plate. I drew these license plates  in photoshop and downloaded this license plate font. I printed them out on full page sticker labels so that I could just peel them off and stick them on the back:licenseplate

Here are all the mini cars all lined up  for their little drivers:


Before the movie started, kids could decorate their cars. Each kid got a little red and white striped popcorn box with stickers and markers. This is how the birthday girl decorated her car:


Because our home is small, I kept all the cars folded up until the party.  We transported all the boxes while they were flat and stacked and then assembled them at the venue.  My friends S and A were rock stars and worked frantically before the party to get the cars ready to go. They used painters tape to tape the hoods up and and hot glue to adhere the wheels and steering wheel. Big thanks to S and A for getting these cars assembled in time!

Because we used painters tape to tape the cars, the tape was easy to pull off and guests were able to collapse their cars easily and take them home with them.

Here is Zoey and her friends enjoying the movie:


Whew! That was a lot of info! Hopefully this is helpful to someone out there!




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