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Minnie Paints the Dots Birthday Party

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Earlier this month, we celebrated CJ’s 3rd birthday with a Minnie Mouse painting party. CJ loves  all things art (I may have influenced her just a bit) and the hilarious Mickey shorts cartoons, so combining this with Minnie Mouse seemed like such a natural fit.

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As with her other parties, it was really important to me to make as many of the decorations as possible, or at least buy handmade. My cousin made her invitations, while my co-worker made the mouse ear signage with her name that we put on the dessert table. My mom made the desserts, including most amazing 3 tiered cake – complete with Minnie ears and a bow. I made the tissue paper mouse heads and a few banners that we hung around the room. I also had a failed attempt at a “photo booth” wall.

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I would like to point out that this is only the 2nd fondant cake my mother has ever made! 

 

The most important handmade thing we purchased for the birthday was CJ’s Minnie Mouse outfit. The amazingly talented Little Gun Tank made her a gorgeous Minnie outfit complete with a retro daisy hat like Minnie wears in the cartoons. The outfit was 3 pieces – a black top, polka dot skirt with crinoline layers, and white pantaloons. It was perfect! CJ also wore a polka dot bow from Mina Loves Bows when she was running around with her cousins.

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cheater photo because she was running around so much!

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We set up a table with easels and canvases for everyone to paint. This was my favorite part of the whole party. I got the table easels so cheap at Jo-Ann’s with 50% off coupons.  The kids, and many adults, had a blast. So many beautiful artworks were created!!

Surrounded by talent!!

We also had temporary tattoos!!!

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I had such a fun time planning this party. I cannot wait to see what CJ is in to next year to start planning her fourth!

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Friday Five: Disney World Preparation Edition

I think I may have mentioned before, that I am currently in graduate school and writing my thesis on Copyright issues and the Walt Disney Company. With graduation almost here, it is crunch time for my paper. I still have a long way to go and while I was hoping to get to the Walt Disney Family Museum to complete it, airfares to California are insane. Fortunately, I have a very thoughtful funny who is willing to drive me to Florida to get some first hand interviews at Walt Disney World. So, in a few weeks, we will be driving there. Lucky for us, the Flower and Garden Festival will have just started and crowds will be low because it is not yet Spring Break. Even though this is a “business” visit, we are still planning to pack as much fun into our short trip as possible. So, to get us ready for that trip, I bring you this week’s Friday Five – a look at some of the things we are bringing with us!

1. Le Ears Custom Ears – shortly after Halloween, I entered an instagram contest to win a pair of custom ears from the super talented Nancy of Le Ears. Nancy indulged my need for a pair of ears that reflected my graduate school work. Together, we came up with the most awesome (well I think they are), one – of – a – kind ears featuring Disney inspired fine art from Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. I have been waiting months to wear these to the Wonderground Gallery!

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2. Lost Boys Club T shirt – Hunny has a spectacular collection of Disney T shirts. Junk Food Clothing makes some great ones, but they are kind of generic. They all feature images of characters. Recently I stumbled upon Lost Boys Club shirts and I fell in love. These shirts are unique and perfect for die-hard Disney Fans. How can you not love a shirt that has a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar on it??

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3. Little Gun Tank Outfits –  Ok, so I know I have gushed about her before, but Charlotte is amazing. Thanks to her, CJ will have the most epic wardrobe for our very short trip. I am sure we will have to do 3 clothing changes a day to fit everything in, but it will be so worth it. Make sure you head to her instagram page and ask for a tag when she opens up for orders again in March. And while you are there, enter her 3,000 followers giveaway.

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4. Minnie Mouse Jamberry Nail Decals – I admit it. Unlike most women, I do not like to get my nails done. I can count on one hand how many manicures I have had in my adult life. I usually do them myself and the results are underwhelming. I always look online and see the most adorable Disney themed nails and want them for my trip, but don’t really want to deal with getting them done.  Jamberry nails have changed everything for me (I’ve mentioned this before). Earlier this month, the company unveiled their Disney line and they are EPIC! Gorgeous Disney nails that you peel and stick. No nail salon required. No hefty bill for gel nails or intricate designs. They are super easy to apply and last for about two weeks. Each sheet you order can do at least two full manicures. I purchased the Mickey’s Girl design for this trip (and for CJ’s Minnie themed Birthday party), but I cannot wait to order more………Ariel, I’ve got my eye on you!

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5.Customized Celebration Buttons – I love that the  Celebration buttons from the Disney Parks are free. If you are really on a budget and not buying souvenirs, you can still get a button to celebrate your trip. There are so many different Disney-themed celebration buttons for sale, but my favorite are the Child Identification / Emergency ones made by Crowley Castle.  The last time we were in Disney, CJ still was not walking. Over a year and a half later, and things are much different. Having one of these buttons with our information makes me feel a bit more at ease. The buttons are also able to be customized with any allergies or handicaps your child may have.

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While there are so many more things, I would love to buy for our trip, I think funny would kill me for spending the money! What are your favorite things to have during your Disney vacation? Let me know in the comments.

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It’s no secret that I have an Instagram obsession. I’ve “met” so many wonderful moms and fellow Disney lovers on the app. Instagram started my vintage clothing obsession for CJ, too. I do a lot of shopping via Instagram and I enter every single contest that I can. I’ve won some pretty amazing things, but nothing ever can or will top winning CJ’s Halloween costume this year.

Late this past summer, I stumbled across a fairly new Instagram account, @littleguntank while looking at the explore page. The photo was of the cutest ever dress made out of a pair of vintage pink Princess Jasmine sheets, exactly like I had on my bed in my late teens/early twenties. I clicked on it immediately and scrolled thru all of the photos and fell in love. Across the world, in Australia, was another Up-obsessed, Disney fanatic, who made the most gorgeous children’s clothing out of fabric that reminded me of my childhood. I immediately contacted Lottie, the genius behind little gun tank, and asked to be put on the waiting list for one of her creations. She was so accommodating and made the ordering process so easy.

Little Gun Tank, named after a nickname Lottie had for two friends from school, is not her full-time job. This amazing woman, creates such quality clothing in her spare time when she is not working as an animator for children’s programming. Lottie is one of the lucky ones. She gets to get up every day and go to her dream job, then come home and immerse herself in Disney movies, her favorite being  Tarzan. Lottie’s pieces have a nostalgic feeling to them. She has always been obsessed with older styles, in particular clothing from the 1950s, and it shows in her work. She meshes this appreciation for vintage clothing with her love of Disney, which adds a whimsical and fun element to the pieces. Lottie knows how much Disney and the company’s characters mean to the fans. Knowing that some of these pieces will be worn in the parks or by children who love Disney means a lot to her; “getting to be part of that magic makes me incredibly happy.” Like many of us Disney fanatics, Lottie turns to Disney whenever she needs a pick-me-up. “If I’m ever having a rough go of it, or feeling blue, watching a Disney film or listening to the soundtracks can really turn my day around. It’s got a lot of happy memories attached to it.” She truly encompasses Disney Magic!

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The attention to detail on this dress is incredible. Lottie indulged me with an embroidered collar. The bow on the back is already formed and sewed in place. It attaches to the back of the dress with velcro (GENIUS!).

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Lottie is unlike any other seller I have ever come in contact with. Not only is she generous (donating items to multiple auctions for various causes), but she also gives so much back to her followers. Lottie is constantly holding giveaways on her page and offering chances to win (FOR FREE!) one of her gorgeous creations. Her prices are more than fair. The work that goes into them is unlike any I have ever seen. We were lucky enough to win CJ’s Timothy Q. Mouse Halloween Costume from @littleguntank and there are no words to describe this piece. As if the attention to detail on the dress was not enough, the hat Lottie made was absolutely perfect. It was really a piece of hand crafted art. CJ was so excited to wear her costume. She shouted to everyone we passed, “I’m Timothy Mouse.” It made her day. There is no way that we would have ever been able to afford such a high-quality costume and we are forever grateful to have won it.

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If you would like a chance to win a costume, you are in luck! Little Gun Tank is holding another Costume Contest on her feed. Just head on over and look for the image of CJ as Timothy Q. Mouse, then clock on it for information on how to enter! Good Luck. If you stop by her page, Congratulate @littleguntank on hitting 2,000 followers on Instagram!

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Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse 

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse 

Mickey Mouse turns 87 today! On this day in 1928, Steamboat Willie was released and Walt Disney gave us our favorite character (and with this short film, the subject of my M.A. Thesis). 

In the current state of the world, there is a lot of sadness and separation, but Mickey Mouse, and the rest of the Disney family, help to bring us happiness. I have met so many wonderful people on social media simply because of our shared love for this mouse and everything he represents. It is not childish. Rather,Mickey  keeps us young at heart and helps us to find the good in life. 

Thank you Mickey and enjoy your birthday! 

Friday Five: Happy Halloween

Happy All Hallows’ Eve. Halloween is a big deal in our house. There are two ways to do Halloween. There is the cute costume, get some candy and be in bed before the big kids come out way. Then there is my way. Watching horror movies all month until you can’t sleep and then going out late and raising some H. E . double hockey sticks. What better way to get into the mood than revisiting the most terrifying disney villains of all time? Here is our Halloween Friday five!

1. Lady Tremaine: Cinderella’s Step Mother: what could be worse than this lady? Her cat is named after the devil (Lucifer). LT makes Cinderella a slave, forcing her into doing all the chores waiting on the two step sisters and even her demon pet. Then LT gives her the glimmer of hope that she might go to the ball only to let the step sisters tear her dress to pieces as they were about to leave. Let’s not forget the most overlooked detail: there are no magical powers at work here. Tremaine could 100% exist in the real world.

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2. Stromboli: This villain has only a few minutes of screen time, but is not easily forgotten. I still have nightmares about this wine soaked, villainous Italian. He is larger than life, charming a true showman with a rage inside him rivaled only by his appetite. He buys Pinocchio and locks him up with the sole purpose of using the wooden boy to make money. Stromboli wants all that he can get from Pinocchio and once he gets too old, he intends to use him as firewood.

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3. Maleficent: The darkest of the dark, Maleficent can turn into a dragon or whatever else she wants and has the coolest sidekick in her Raven (Diablo). If those fools just invited her to the party, then maybe she would not have cursed the royal family. Personally I would do anything to stay on her good side.

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4. Chernabog: This Demon King of the mountain  torments the town in the valley by raising the dead. Fantasia’s “Night on Bald Mountain” segment is absolutely terrifying and can give adults nightmares all these years later. Chernabog controls fire and brimstone and makes it rain down on the people below.

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5. Oogie Boogie: Don’t let his singing voice fool you. Mr. Boogieman himself is nothing short of pure evil. Being the worst of the worst in Halloweentown really says something. He has not one redeeming quality  ok maybe one he can belt it out) and his insides are made of bugs. He was spawned straight from the darkest parts of our nightmares and wants to take Sandy Claws down.

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Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

 

 

Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts

We love the Haunted Mansion in Disney World. You might even say that we are slightly obsessed with it. It is a ride that we must go on numerous times each trip to MK. In fact, one of the reasons that I bought a sewing machine and want to learn to sew is so that I can make the most fabulous tightrope walker costume ever! CJ has been on the ride several times and we are pretty proud that she likes it so much and is not afraid.

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We were excited to have our photos taken with the Hitchhiking Ghosts at MNSSHP in September. This was one of our “must-dos” of the party, along with meeting Jack and Sally. The line was very short, so I assume that a lot of people did not know about this feature offered by the photo pass photographers. The photographer was located on the walkway in front of Rapunzel’s bathroom (across from Peter Pan’s Flight) right before the Haunted Mansion. I did not see a photographer in this location during any of our other Days in the Magic Kingdom, so I assume this is a Halloween Party exclusive.

Unfortunately, we missed the opening of the Haunted Mansion shop, Memento Mori, by a week. You can check out some photos of the new store here. The merchandise looks great and it is definitely an incentive for us to book our next trip!  The Disney Store has a pretty good collection of Haunted Mansion items for those of us who cannot get to Memento Mori.

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Friday Five: Disney World Vacation Highlights

After 9 awesome days in Disney World , we came home Tuesday a little sad that it ended, but filled with some great memories. Here are the top five highlights from our trip.

1: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – MNSSHP is by far my favorite thing to do at Disney. If you can schedule your vacation around one of the nights of this annual fall event, do it. It is so much fun. Disney goes all out for Halloween. Gorgeous decorations are put up throughout the park and on party nights there are extra special touches, like Halloween themed balloons (Jack Skellington), characters in costumes and special character appearances. Meeting Jack Skellington and Sally was awesome. My husband and I dressed up like young Carl and Ellie and CJ was Kevin ( I told you we were Up obsessed). We got to trick or treat around the park and we saw so many cool costumes. MNSSHP is a ticketed event. It is approximately $60 to attend the event, but it is well worth it.

 

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2: Dapper Day – Although not run by Disney, Dapper Day is a fashionable event that takes place twice a year at three Disney Parks – Disneyland, Disney World and Paris. Dapper Day aims to get people to dress in their fashionable best and head out to the parks in style. There were so many gorgeous outfits and hairstyles in Hollywood Studios that day. I had as much fun being dressed up as watching all of the stylish participants. We Disneybounded as Wall-E, Eve and the stars. It was a fun way to incorporate some Disney into our Dapper Day outfits.

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3: Memory Maker – At $149, The Memory Maker  was the best money we spent the entire trip. We have hundreds of photos from our vacation that were taken by the talented photo pass photographers. Even with having my own camera, I would have never been able to capture all of the moments without the memory maker. I was able to be in the photos and we now have the digital copies of them to use anyway we want. The money is well worth it for the peace of mind and ease of not having to take my own camera.

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4: Puerto Rico Marketplace Booth at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival – Everything at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival was delicious. I love the idea of bite size food. You can have a little bit of everything without overdoing it.  The Carne guisada con arroz blanco (Slow-braised beef with Puerto Rican-grown rice) was my absolute favorite. The portion was generous and the flavors were fantastic. I will think about this meal for a long time. Hopefully, the Disney Dining blog will post a recipe!

 

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5: Baby’s First Haircut – CJ doesn’t have a lot of hair. Up until a few weeks ago, I would consider her to be close to bald.  This has been extremely upsetting to me. I am not a huge fan of those giant baby headbands. Small ones are fine, but I long to put her hair in pigtails. She did have this fabulous mullet, though. Bald on top, long in the back. Ever since I was pregnant, I knew her first haircut would be in Disney. There was no hair to work with the first two times we visited with her, but this time we had something! I loved everything about the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street. They clearly cater to kids. CJ got the first haircut package, which included personalized Mickey ears, a first haircut certificate and a sample of her hair with some confetti to take home. Her hairdresser, Diane, was a lot of fun and made CJ feel comfortable, which made us feel great. Harmony Barber Shop is small – three chairs for haircuts and a small corner to wait, but it is a great experience. Harmony doesn’t only cater to kids. CJ’s Uncle Chris got his haircut that day, too!

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