Easter vibes

Easter 2020

With Easter coming up in just a few days, and an extra amount of time inside due to the shelter-in-place order and Texas’ bi-polar weather; I decided to try out a few different Easter looks on my tiny humans. I love to dress them up and they love running around while I attempt to add pants, a bow, or their other shoe. Both were bribed, with food, into staying still long enough to pose for the majority of pictures used in this post. #judgementfreezone Checkout our top three looks below.blush bunny dress

1. This blush bunny dress is one of Betty’s favorites. Paired with Black dragon scale T-straps and a blush bow out first look gives sweet and dressy vibes perfect for Easter service or lunch with the family. (Check out our favorite bow shop and use code Betty to save on your order.)

Bobby’s first outfit is khaki shorts, a light blue collared onesie, suspenders, navy sneakers, and a checkered navy and white bowtie. (use code Bobby1 to save on your bowties) One thing I’ve learned from becoming a boy mom is that girls have way more options when it comes to wardrobe. Which is why I love having any excuse to pull out boy accessories like bowties, suspenders, and hats. I also like the option of a collared onesie over a shirt because it stays tucked in.

2. Next up is the cutest bunny romper in the whole world! I love the pom pom accent on the bottom. It’s styled with pink sparkle tights and bubble gum bow. (Get your sparkle tights and romper here. Betty’s discount code BB10 saves on your order) Look two easily fits the Easter theme, but can also be worn the rest of the year. Just add a sweater or duster for cooler temps.

Bobby’s second outfit is a casual option and can also be worn anytime. These khaki pants and super soft blue t-shirt are worn with our favorite sneakers featuring super hero faces on them. This look is great for running around with cousins at family events during Easter celebrations.

3. Our third choice is my favorite! Betty chose bright yellow velvet bunny tail bummies, a white tank onesie, yellow ballet flats, and a yellow B3 bow (of course.) I love this outfit because it is so bright and cheerful. Plus Betty got a real kick out of matching the flowers and pretending to be a bunny. Look three is perfect for hunting eggs or pictures with the Easter bunny.

bunny boy

Bobby’s last outfit is a grey collared onesie, baby blue velvet bunny tail shorts, grey sneakers, and baby blue and white polka dot bowtie. The bunny tail on both sets of bottoms snaps on and off so there is no discomfort while riding in the car seat or stroller. It is also a convenient feature for laundry. Again a onesie is the best choice for look three, so the bunny tail isn’t hidden.

We are wishing y’all a very happy Easter weekend and hope that you’re able to make it fun and memorable for your families. Be sure to let us know how you plan to celebrate and which look you enjoyed most in the comment section.

Our first pandemic

pandemic 2020

The Coronavirus has changed so much in such a small amount of time. Things that used to be the highlight of our week are now considered dangerous activities. This is seriously such an odd time for everyone, and especially for littles. Not knowing how to explain why we can’t go to the zoo or see grandparents is tough. Bobby has handled everything like a champ, mainly because he is one and has no clue anything is even happening. But Betty is old enough to miss spending time with her cousin and going to play at the museum. Even though she is young, we believe honesty is always the best policy. We explained germs are everywhere and the places with more people have more germs. Which means we need to stay home for a while to keep from getting sick or spreading bad germs to friends and family. We may have over simplified but she gets it and, like everyone else, Betty is ready to get back to regular activities.

Toilet paper crisis

Because Betty & Bobby are so young and I stay home with them, the shelter-in place order hasn’t changed too much of our normal routine. The main difference is their Dad working from home. Which means we have to make an effort not to distract or disturb him 8-5. In toddler Time that’s like years, and since he is the fun parent the babes are struggling with this part. However, the effort has been made to spend a lot of time outside on walks, playing with bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and enjoying snacks.

Chef Betty

Making the best of things is a trait we’re actively trying to teach both littles. So we’ve been doing fun social distancing activities indoors too. Learning to bake and make treats has become one of Betty’s favorites (check out the Lucky charm treat recipe we tried here.) She has also been taking her dance class through zoom. We’ve done a ton of video chats with friends and family.  Although we cannot physically go to the zoo we watch story time from their Facebook page. Same for our favorite bookshop, Fabled, and trying activities from the Mayborn Museum’s website. We also have colored pictures and given them to a local volunteer who delivers them to residents of neighboring assisted living facilities. These residents are no longer able to see visitors or have guests, which is heart breaking. Our standard at home amusement like reading, playing dress up, building with Legos/ blocks and watching movies has stayed in rotation. However, it is not all fun and games around here. Betty & Bobby have been more involved in the household chores lately too. Bobby enjoys helping load the dryer and pushing the buttons to start it up. He also has become infatuated with the broom & Swiffer. Betty started bringing her dishes to the kitchen following her meals/ snacks and wiping off the table. I’m also happy to report that a lot of organizing, clearing out closets, and homework has been getting done on the Mommy side of things. wp-15858665761185867557227945545779.jpgOur most recent trip to the grocery store was pretty unreal. I still don’t get the whole toilet paper crisis, yet seeing bare shelves and people wearing masks and gloves felt so extreme. HEB is the best grocery store ever (you can’t change my mind) on this visit an employee approached me and asked if we happened to need wipes and we definitely did, but the shelf was empty when we looked upon arrival. She then handed me a small package of them and said they were the last in the entire store until restock and she’d been holding onto them in hopes of finding someone with a small baby to give them to. Bobby is often mistaken for Betty’s twin and far from small (94% percentile at our last check up,) but I was appreciative none the less. Thank goodness I’m a Virgo and our home usually stays properly stocked with cleaning supplies and toilet paper. 

wp-15858674780294531370733776203722.jpgKindness goes so far, in times like these I have high hopes that we as a people show compassion rather than competition. Our family is optimistic that everyone realizes how intense the pandemic is and that y’all are staying home as much as possible, this way we stop spreading the virus and can get back to living life out in the world. 

What are some activities keeping you and your babes busy during the shelter in place?  Be sure and let us know in the comments section. 

The Thinkery ATX

Waco is only a short hour(ish) drive from Austin, and since I lived in the area for almost ten years I jumped at the opportunity to accompany Nonnie there on one of her work trips. Catching up with friends and visit all of the cool and interesting places Austin has specifically for tiny humans, is what got me so excited to go. Our first stop was at the Austin Aquarium (read all about it here,) and on our last day we went to the Thinkery. The Thinkery is a children’s museum spanning 40,000-square-feet in the Mueller community, it is situated across from a playground and grassy area perfect for a picnic in the sun. I first became aware of the Thinkery while volunteering with the Junior League of Austin, which is a women’s organization promoting volunteerism and building leadership skills. 

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Our family membership with the Mayborn Museum got us free entry at the Thinkery through their affiliate program (the membership covers up to four people over the age of three.) The super friendly girl at the front desk asked the babes ages and suggested we start on the top floor and work our way down. After parking the stroller and having a quick snack downstairs, we rode the elevator to the top and started exploring. Betty led the way finding a pretend chicken coop, grocery store, and kitchen. The littles each picked out eggs from the chicken coop and walked them to the grocery store, grabbed baskets and quickly started loading them with faux food. Filling and emptying the baskets had to be the most fun as they did this several times before heading to the kitchen area to show off their chef skills. 

groceries at the Thinkery, ATX

Betty is a dress kinda gal, normally trying to get her into shorts or a pant of any style is like a battle royal and more often than not one of us ends up crying. However, I knew the Thinkery was a very hands on and active environment so although we could make it work it in a dress, I figured it would be way easier for her to maneuver if she agreed to something less formal. After some convincing she put on her new mint bummies, a simple black t-shirt, black sneakers and one of her signature B3 bows (don’t forget you can use her discount code: Betty when shopping their site) this way she would be able to play with less restrictions than a skirt or dress.  To my surprise she was diggin’ the look and feeling very confident in this outfit! Making my Mama heart so happy. 

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On the opposite side of the second floor is an area with a giant water table. This section  was easily Bobby’s favorite of the entire visit, he’d still be there right now splashing away if I’d let him. Barely tall enough to play in the water he gave it his all. Betty loved it too but did not enjoy being wet. She liked splashing and playing but afterward didn’t like actually having damp clothes on. There were all kinds of scoops, bowls, floating toys and even contraptions hanging from the ceiling. These contraptions (I’m sure there is a title for them on a sign somewhere) allow for a steady drip of water to flow from them. I showed the babes that we could fill up one of the bowls or start a beat by placing drums in just the right spot under the drip. They were intrigued for a bit and even re-arranged the items a little, but quickly went back to splashing and throwing things into the water. We were lucky enough that the area had cleared out a little and we were only sharing with 2-3 other kids.

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Bobby’s outfit of the day is our new favorite t-shirt reading straight up mama’s boy (get yours here and be sure to use bobby’s discount code: BB10 to save) comfy grey play shorts, and a pair of vans. this outfit was super easy to move and play in. He was able to toddle around and almost kept up with his big sister. You would think all the action in the splash area would have tired these little guys out but no, not even close. 

We made our way downstairs and found a neat little area full of random stuff, most likely activities above their appropriate age range but we tried our best. In this area we discovered floating balls, magnets, all kinds of cords and supplies for building and engineering. The babes really liked the fan shooting scarfs up into the air. We also played in a designated two and under play box that kept my babes giggling for what felt like hours. Eventually we made our way over to the light and shadow room, Betty had so much fun in there! There is a similar room at one of our favorite play spots in Waco – Little Land, so she knew just what to do. She grabbed pegs that lit up as she slid them into the peg board, and began filling up as many holes as she could. Her entire section was nearly full as Bobby came to “help” by pulling all of her pegs back out.  This room was empty the entire time we were in there, giving a very VIP feel as I was expecting it to be a mad house. 

img_20200306_144127-1693736019964114753.jpgimg_20200306_144133_mp-15906089597823197710.jpgBy this time I started noticing both toddlers were starting to slow their pace. So we headed toward the stroller parking, however Betty found a small area under the stairs that she dubbed the “rainbow room” large pieces of colored plastic caught sun and showered the hallway with a bright rainbow of colors. Betty spent the last ten to fifteen minuets running (mermaid in hand) through the colors with the biggest smile on her face I’ve ever seen. img_20200306_1457184736145642911882119.jpgI usually get anxious taking my littles to big attractions like the Thinkery. I almost expect big kids to run them over, but we hit it mid day and most of the field trips were headed to the park for lunch when we arrived. The bathrooms were clean and the nursing station a dream. Honestly it was a magical way to finish up our mini trip. Betty and Bobby were both asleep before we left the parking garage and didn’t wake up until we arrived safely at home. I definitely recommend a visit to the Thinkery if you find yourself in the area.  

St. Patrick’s Day

wp-15845090216958360990222004624962.jpgI am the cheesy Mom that is always trying to make things fun and exciting for the babes, especially holidays. St. Patrick’s day is no exception, even with a pandemic happening all around us. We started the day by reading The Itsy Bitsy Leprechaun by Jeffrey Burton.

Mom's lucky charm

But is it even a holiday if Mom doesn’t dress you in something festive?! Bobby geared up in a Mommy’s lucky charm, hand-me-down tee from Old Navy, distressed jeans, and checkered sneakers. Betty chose a sparkly monogram tee, velvet green bummies & matching bow (don’t forget to use code Betty when shopping their site) and Black dragon scale T-straps

It was a perfect 77 degrees with lots of sunshine so naturally, we headed outside to hunt for leprechauns and hopefully find some gold or a four leaf clover. Although our efforts were unsuccessful it was a good time filled with lots of giggles.

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All that running around wore us out and after about an hour we headed inside for nap. My little lad & lassy woke up fully rested and ready for more fun. We went straight to the kitchen and made rainbow cupcakes, added some sprinkles, and then took them to the pool to enjoy in the sun. After lounging for a bit we thought the best way to finish our St. Patrick’s day fun was by chasing bubbles until Dad got home from work.wp-1584509058936898096283559414925.jpg

We are already homebodies so the social distancing hasn’t put too much change in our routine. Normally on beautiful days we would run around the zoo, park, or meet up with friends. Due to Betty & I having a cough plus sneezing (no fevers thank goodness) we decided it would be best if we did all the fun things here at home on our own. Even without the threat of a world wide virus, we intentionally stay away from other people when feeling icky.  Holidays are really only as fun as you want them to be. Although it wasn’t a fancy or grand celebration, we had a total blast.wp-15845090887094859583656221857568.jpg

 

Austin Aquarium

Austin, TX

The babes and I recently tagged along on a mini road trip, with Nonnie, to Austin, TX. She was attending a housing conference for work, but we wanted to explore some of the fun activities the capitol city offers for kids. Betty was born in Austin, but Bobby was a first time visitor.

We met up with some local friends at the Austin Aquarium. I grabbed our tickets on my Groupon app before hand, I like using the app because what extra cash I save can contribute to fun stuff like snacks and souvenirs. If you use groupon please keep in mind children two and under are given free entry with a paid adult ticket. Betty’s father and I brought her to the aquarium a few months after she was born and to my surprise they have made serious updates to the facility, since then. This visit was much more hands on and they have added lemurs! Bobby immediately noticed the ring tailed lemurs in the aquarium’s lobby. His eyes widened and then started enthusiastically pointing at them, which set the tone for our entire visit. Both babies enjoyed seeing the variety of fish and animals. First thing our friends showed us was a large iguana with a sign that indicated gentle touches were welcomed. Watching them take turns petting this guy blew my mind. In a larger section of the same display were several smaller ones. A specific iguana was perched on a limb at Betty’s eye line. To all of our shock that little guy made an escape attempt by leaping straight forward in Betty’s direction. Thankfully he landed safely within the enclosure, but Betty jumped and let out a yell. She was surprised but recovered quickly once she noticed the nearby jellyfish tank.

I was so impressed by the variety of animals on display. A large eel, star fish, and an octopus really caught our attention in the first room. To top it off a staff member came by asking if we’d like to pet the bearded dragon he had in hand. The same staff member came by a second time offering a snake but Betty politely declined for all of us.

The next room held a large tank full of sting rays. I was amazed to see them swarm toward us as we approached. This was definitely one of Bobby’s favorite sections. Betty on the other hand was on the hunt for a mermaid and not interested in feeding or petting any wildlife. Although we didn’t find any mermaids on display, we did come upon a giant clam prepped for a mermaid to lounge in, complete with sparkly pillows. Betty’s aquarium outfit included: a White tank/onesie (she got a kick out if it glowing in black light) Mauve/ pink fringe skirt, Strappy tan sandals, white beaded mini purse, and white B3 bow: Use code Betty to save when shopping their site.

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As we continued through the aquarium we saw several large tanks with multi colored fish, found an area with tables for snacking, games, and even a slide! The next sections included fish and more lemurs. These lemurs looked different and whooped/ shreeked so loudly that both Betty & Bobby clung to me and started to cry. I’m not sure if the lemurs were hurt or just playing, because we skipped them and headed to the next exhibit. Home to a large tortoise (that I got to feed,) ducks, and another of Bobby’s favorites – fuzzy chickens. This aquarium is great for little humans due to the displays being low to the ground and so interactive. Bobby was only walking for about two weeks before his visit and roamed through like a pro.

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Bobby’s aquarium outfit included: an Olive green t-shirt, Dark jeans, and Black high top sneakers.

We found a hallway with snakes, parrots, and more fish; that led to the shark room. Bobby especially enjoyed this area because he could watch the sharks swim so closely to his face. This was the last stop before the gift shop, where Betty finally found her mermaid.

We had a blast at the aquarium and really enjoyed getting to spend time with our friends. If you ever find yourself in North Austin, we recommend a visit to the Austin Aquarium!

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Waco Central Library

Books before kindergartenOur family is full of book enthusiasts, we’ve got teachers, librarians, academic bloggers, writers, the list goes on and on. So there is no surprise that Betty and Bobby also love to read. One of the babies’ favorite things to do is visit the library, we typically head to the Waco Central Library due to weekly Toddler Time and their 1000 books before kindergarten program.In order to encourage a love of reading and to help prep little minds for school the library encourages families to read 1,000 books with their children before starting kindergarten. In this program, the children are given a paper filled with stars on both sides, after each read the child colors in a star representing the book they just finished. I really enjoyed that they count each read over each book because once Betty gets attached to a story, she wants to read it over and over. If fact, we read so often Betty has memorized majority of her books, and can frequently be found “reading” them out loud to herself or to her little brother. After completing each page (100 stars) we head to the children’s section of library to trade it in for a new blank page, and start the process all over again. The librarian then moves Betty’s name card to the next section on the wall, and lets Betty choose a prize.img_20200130_1007294796612338338260784.jpgBut this visit went a little differently, this round Betty’s name was moved from the 900 club/ section on the wall to the wall of Fame! She then posed for a photo (above) which will eventually accompany her name on the wall of fame; and finally, her favorite part, she chose a book of her very own to take home! Betty picked the Knight and the Dragon, by Tomie DePeola. Which we promptly took to a comfy chair to read.img_20200130_1049343258399453900420811.jpgimg_20200130_1013296033355116677986061.jpg the Waco Central Library also has a pretty awesome children’s section, rows and rows of books, comfy reading chairs in all different shapes and sizes, computers, puzzles, a play kitchen complete with pretend food and cooking tools, and Bobby’s favorite – soft blocks. Both kiddos could spend hours and hours there. (sometimes we do!) I wanted Betty to be confident for her wall of fame photo so I let her pick out what she was going to wear. She chose her “Books before boys” sweatshirt, pink fluffy tutu, and her new favorite conversation hearts bow from B3 Wraps (use code: Betty to save on your orders!) It was a chilly 54 degrees so I added long grey socks and her grey leopard print boots. img_20200130_1007185286076935806060489.jpgPrograms for children, teens, and adults are also available at the Library, but this one was perfect for our family since the babes are still little enough to participate. It really got Betty excited to read books and color in the stars, plus she extra pumped up for trips to the library; knowing her name would be moved and a prize would be chosen. We grabbed Bobby’s first blank page of stars and have already started his 1000 books. I am so excited to watch him go through the process and grow his love of reading.img_20200130_1046543342876346509209108.jpgIf you find yourself in Waco with your kiddos be sure and check out one of the libraries, they are awesome for learning, fun, and making friends.wp-15804502887629103355239900692634.jpg

Baby’s first birthday

Making it through the first twelve months is such an amazing milestone for both baby and parents. Baby has blossomed into a toddler becoming more and more mobile and vocal. As a mom, seeing my son turn one was bitter sweet: I’m so excited for how far he has come, but also so sad that my little baby is growing up. 

When I hosted my daughter’s first birthday party I got stressed and even overwhelmed at some points. Don’t get me wrong everything turned out fine and we had a blast, but I knew that I wanted to take a more laid back approach to my son’s party. With that in mind I started planning Bobby’s wild ONE party when he was about six months old.

The idea was to choose a theme that would work for a Texas January. Which means it could have been anywhere between 35 – 65 degrees. So a lodge/ forest wild ONE seemed the perfect fit. Plus we can re-use some of the buffalo plaid decor at Christmas. For my daughter’s party, I made many of the decorations on short notice which contributed to being stressed. This round we grabbed balloons, table cloths, and banners (more banners) months ahead of time, for less than $40 (including shipping). It was a good thing we ordered so far in advance since shipping from this site can take six weeks or more. To save ourselves some time and stress we decorated the afternoon before the party. Seeing everything in place made it very easy to make a list of items we still needed to grab before the party. We did the standard 1- 12 month photo banner and added a “my first holidays” banner (not pictured.) Table cloths went down on the sign, snacks, and goodie bag tables; and our wild one balloons hung above the gift area. Other than that we didn’t do much decorating, we figured with the majority of our guests being under ten they would most likely be on the floor or outside in the bounce house. 

Part of the cash we saved on decor went toward a cake smash photoshoot with Willie + Rose Photography, which has become a family tradition. These photos will last forever so I definitely think it is worth getting them done by a professional. We used our favorite shots for his party invites and thank you notes. Another budget efficient tip we used was only mailing invitations to out of town family and opted for a Facebook event for the remaining guests.

Keri’s Kreations makes the best custom treats in Waco, TX; they are almost too beautiful to eat. Keri did the cake & cookies for my daughter’s birthday so naturally she is who we chose for Bobby’s forest themed cake and woodland animal cupcakes to serve at the party. Both the the cake and cupcakes tasted like heaven. Bobby did not dig into his smash cake as expected, which was a bit of a bummer but I think he was taken back by seeing everyone sing to him. 

Although we we’re aiming for a laid back celebration, I’m a sucker for a good theme party and always looking for a reason to bust out a costume. Bobby’s first outfit has been dubbed the little stinker. He was such a good sport with this one he loved the little footie paws and kept rubbing the fuzzy section on his belly.

Bobby really enjoyed this little skunk outfit gifted to him at Christmas (thanks Uncle Nat), but couldn’t keep it on for the whole party. He started getting a little sweaty about an hour in. Assuming things would get messy we brought something to wear for after cake. Comfort is key, so we chose buffalo plaid joggers from B3 Wraps (using the code “Bobby” saves on your orders) and a custom birthday T-shirt from Hustle Darling. This was also one of the outfits from his birthday shoot.

Originally I hadn’t planned on doing goodie bags. I read an article about parents not wanting cheap little toys that break and the risk of food allergies or anti-sugar households and basically all the things that could go wrong, but my mom found the cutest little Pinterest project a couple days before the party, and I couldn’t help myself. So we put our own spin on it and made s’more kits with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and teddy grahams. The mix was put in snack bags and I added tags made out of cardstock. We thought a cheesy-yet-adorable bear pun would put it over the top, so I made stickers from mailing labels with my Cricut. I think they turned out super cute!

I told Bobby’s dad the day before the party that I felt much less stressed preparing for this one. To which he replied “second child syndrome” and chuckled. He was obviously joking, but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t sting a little. As a mother to siblings I strive to give both babies the same amount of effort and affection. I’d like to think that Bobby’s party was less stressful because we were able to use the knowledge gained from hosting Betty’s first birthday to make it easier for everyone involved to focus on the fun. The lesson I learned from hosting both is that the best part of any party is celebrating with people you love. Seeing all of our friends and family play, smile, dance, and laugh in honor of Bobby’s birthday was the highlight of the day. All the decorations, costumes, and gift bags are useless when you don’t have anyone to share them with. Our little family is so incredibly lucky to have people that show up for us and our babies.

 

Christmas lights in the village

Mayborn Christmas villageSince today is the last day of 2019, I figured if I wanted to squeeze a Christmas post in, I better do it now or forever hold my piece. My daughter and I added a new tradition to our list this year, the Mayborn Museum‘s Christmas lights in the village. Baby Bobby was sick so he & his Dad had guys night in, while Betty and I headed out.

Betty chose to wear her favorite holiday outfit. Which just so happens to be a dress (shocker) this one is pink with vintage Santa and holiday stocking pattern. We scooped it from a local boutique, here in Waco, called Junque Queen’s. We paired white knee highs and soft pink Ugg boots. We got these adorable boots from a friend, and have no shame in our hand me down game.  The look is finished with a coordinating B3 bow (don’t forget to use code: Betty to save when ordering from their website or the VIP group on Facebook.) It was pretty chilly so we added white, a faux fur, crop jacket to stay warm.

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After paying the entry fee, we were given glow in the dark necklaces, and headed to meet up with cousin Claire & her parents. Betty received a family membership to the Mayborn as a gift for her birthday, so going to the lights was just $5 per person for us (member rate). Once we made our way outside the girls were shocked by all of the lights, especially the tunnel at the entrance to the village.

After running through the light tunnel we made our way to a couple of cute photo opt areas set up by the staff. First was exciting for the girls, because they got to sit in Santa’s sleigh. The second included hay bales and an old timey wagon. I loved that all the guests were willing to take photos for each other, helping to preserve the night’s memories. Christmas may give people the warm and fuzzies, but I like to think their is a kindness built into the people here in Waco.

We continued through the village noticing cute Christmas activities offered at each of the village’s tiny buildings. Since the girls are unable to write legibly, yet, we skipped writing a letter to Santa at the schoolhouse, however it is a must try for next year.

We soon made our way into the line for Santa and only had to wait a few minutes for our turn. Betty always claims to be ready to meet him until it is actually her turn, at which point she very clearly wants nothing to do with the poor guy. So no Santa pic this round. But, I was able to snap a photo of my favorite cousin duo scoping out the pioneer home while waiting in line.

We saved the best part (personal opinion) for last, the petting zoo!!!! I’m about 98% sure if we would have tried the petting zoo first, other activities would have received zero attention and no participation.

There were donkeys, piglets, bunnies, goats, llamas, chickens, and even fluffy little puppies! I’m sure I left some off the list, but it is not my fault I was totally overwhelmed by their cuteness. All of the animals were well behaved. Only one of our group members, got poo on their shoe.  one out of five isn’t too bad. The puppies completely stole the show for me. So soft, fluffy, and friendly. Both girls gently pet each animal and had smiles as big as their faces would allow.

After sanitizing our hands we regrouped and headed toward the exit. Only to find the fox and the crow jammin’ out along the path. Our little ladies immediately started dancing their tiny hearts out. Unfortunately, we caught the tail end of the song and a break was announced. The band noticed how crushed our tiny princesses were and suddenly a Christmas miracle occurred, the singer asked if they’d like to hear Jingle Bells! Of course they did, so it was played specially for them and the dance party continued just a little bit longer, which made our entire night.

We passed snack and hot cocoa vendors on the way out, and decided on chips & queso from Fuego, before venturing back inside the museum. Fun fact: Betty loves chips & queso above most other foods, and requests it at every restaurant we go to.

There was no chance of making it all the way to the car without these two stopping to check out the enormous Christmas tree in the lobby. So we had a mini photo shoot and let the girls explore the beautiful ornaments. This was such a wonderful experience, I cannot wait to see what next year’s version is like. Fingers crossed everyone is in good health next year and the whole family can enjoy it.

Healthy Eater’s Perspective

Healthy Eater's perspective: ThanksgivingFor many years I have attempted to stop eating foods that contain health risks, such as any processed and canned foods. It’s so hard to know where all your food comes from without doing research. This definitely includes fast food, so now I just avoid and try my very best to stay clear from places who buy cheap food and poorly sourced products.

image-from-rawpixel-id-435669-jpegNow I know that not all people feel the same way I do. For example; my mother in law buys canned food and uses it for dishes served during family functions and in everyday meals. To be polite, I don’t say anything but I also don’t eat those types of foods, so I try my best to make my plate look full without touching the processed food. Last Thanksgiving I made a green bean casserole (I absolutely love GBC!) and I made it from scratch with fresh organic ingredients. My mother in law rudely told me it wouldn’t taste the same. Boy was she wrong! It was a huge hit! Everyone loved it and kept asking who made it.

So, my point is, if you eat healthy don’t sacrifice your beliefs or your dignity… instead, just make it yourself or offer to be the one who does the grocery shopping.

 

Step-by-step cake topper: Stranger Things

Custom cake toppers are one of the most ordered items from Hustle Darling, and are so much fun to do. My most recent client requested a birthday topper for a Stranger Things party. Her only request was that the topper include the birthday girl’s name and new age ( Avery/ 13) My boyfriend and I immediately re-watched season one and started season two for inspiration. This show is awesome! No wonder Avery wanted it as her birthday theme.  After some marathon watching I came up with the design below.

Stranger Things topper

In order to turn this computer version into reality you will need the following:

SUPPLY LIST:

Feel free to use similar items, supplies do not need to be exact.

First thing I like to do before cutting anything out is to double check my Design Space image and make sure it is welded. This welds all the pieces of our topper into one large image and will ensure that it is cut out in one piece, instead of several little ones that will need to be glue together later.

Second step: Duplicate the image four times. The first three duplicates will become the center of your topper. You may want to add or remove a layer or two depending on the desired thickness. I like three layers because it ensures the topper will stand firm without being too heavy. The last duplicate will need to be flipped (this is a design space feature) horizontally so it is a mirror of the main image. This mirrored cut will be the back of our topper.  I like to keep the center cuts a different color than the front and back, so there is no confusion when assembling. Once duplicates are created, flipped, and color coded you may begin cutting with your machine.  You can see my results in the in the photos below.

Final step: Assemble your topper! I have two beautiful babies at home who love to get into stuff so anything having to do with spray adhesive (or paint, epoxy, ect…) gets done outside. Even if you don’t have babies or pets in the house you should probably do this outside because FUMES and spray adhesive could get all over your space and that could get real gross real quick. Grab a glove, the center cut outs (the white ones shown above) an empty diaper box, and head outside. My favorite spray adhesive is Easy-Tack, IMG_0238I prefer it to regular glue purely out of convenience. I do not want to brush on glue and wait for it to dry in between each layer. That’s just a personal preference, at times I’m inpatient. The glove goes on my left hand, this way I can sit the cut outs on the glove and spray with my right hand. If you are left handed I recommend wearing the glove on your right hand. Doing this inside the empty box helps keep spray adhesive off of my patio rug and plants. Once all of the core pieces have been attached to each other remove the glove and use both hands to ensure the pieces line up correctly. The Easy-Tack takes a few seconds to sit before it becomes too sticky to move, so if you’re quick you can slide the pieces a bit until everything is lined up accurately at the edges.

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I like to wait about 10 min before attaching the front and back pieces. This ten minuets should give you enough time to grab the remaining cut outs and let the center section dry enough to support the front and back pieces. When adding the last two sections back piece should go on first, the mirrored/ flipped image. I choose to do the back side first because the glove is usually sticky from previous spraying and if we start with the front there is a risk of getting sticky-ish smears, when holding it against the glove to add the back. No one wants glue on their topper near the food, so be delicate with the last two pieces.  Hold the center section in the gloved hand, spray the back side with adhesive, and add the flipped cut out. Then slide it to line up the edges, letters, and images. Let it sit for a min or two before doing the same to the front side. When finished, I like to sit the topper under a heavy object like a thick book for an hour or two so that it dries flat. The pressure from the weight of your object will help smooth out any awkward sections of the topper. Be sure the edges of your topper are free of glue or it could get stuck to your object. My results are below.

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I made sure a little of the center section showed through on this one to cause a shadow. Stranger Things is a little spooky, so I thought this would be a cool touch.

What you maybe asking yourself is where is the stick? I recently switched from wooden skewer sticks to clear card forks. This choice came after a client mentioned preferring a clear option for ascetic reasons, and another said the skewer wasn’t long enough for her cake. Which led me to the card forks, they allow the cake topper to slide into the fork and be removed easily.  Prior to switching I was hot gluing the skewer stick to the middle of the center cut outs then  assembling the rest as described above. The new clear forks offer my clients the option of cutting it to fit their cake size. They also create an option to easily reuse the topper in the future.

Cake toppers are a Hustle Darling favorite. Really fun to make, and even more fun to customize for our clients. Have a party coming up? Feel free to reach out to us for custom cake toppers and party decor.