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How to host a memorable playdate with some Disney Magic

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This post is sponsored by Disney as a part of the #DisneyKids Play Date campaign. All opinions are my own.

I love hosting playdates, so Miss Crankles and I decided to host a special Mommy and Me Disney Princess party for Mother’s Day a few weeks ago!

We started off by adding a bit of Mickey and Friends to our play space! We have a fantastic homeschool room that also houses quite a bit of our toys. It is right off our kitchen and made it so easy to have everything in one place!

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It would not be a princess party without princess costumes. As luck would have it, I had some extra princess dresses to share with our friends! I also cleaned out the craft bins to find some Melissa and Doug craft kits, some photo crafts from Michael’s, and some stamp sets from Target! We had a card making kit from HP, so we used that with our Mother’s Day craft!

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Next, I made sure I had some colorful finger food for the little ones. I was going to make cupcakes, but Miss Crankles wanted cookies, so I took my Disney themed cupcake liners and used them to put little treats that our small guests could easily grab!

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As our guests arrived, some of them dressed up in their finery!

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We had fun making crafts for moms!

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Someone was having fun pretending to be Cinderella!

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A few of the girls decided to have an impromptu tea party!

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Even their big sisters got in on the fun!

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The best part is that we all had fun! The girls had a magical time. I made sure to keep toys like play food, dolls, and blocks to inspire imaginative play. We kept the toys in the homeschool room, so it was fairly easy to clean up once the playdate was over. We made sure the snacks were easy and asked about food allergies before everyone arrived.

The most important thing to remember when hosting any playdate is to be relaxed and flexible. I love themed playdates because the focus is on certain toys or costumes. It is easy to get the kids engaged. At this age, organized playdates with lots of activities mostly falls flat. It is just too much for the little ones. I like to keep it simple to mostly playtime and sometimes an optional, yet simple craft because we moms should be able to have fun too (instead of finishing the crafts for our kids)! Keeping the food simple and in one place is nice because it means less mess. If you want your guests to eat food in only one area, just make sure you let them know when it is time to eat.

Most of all, have fun! Enjoy the magic of playtime and friends!

What are some tips that you could add to hosting a preschool aged playdate? Please feel free to add in the comments below!

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Disney Side Mickey Mouse Playdate!

*I received products from Mom Select and Disney Side to host this party, but all opinions are my own.

With winter being particularly awful this year, we haven’t gotten to see our friends that much, so what better way to get everyone together than with a Disney party! We asked our friends to come showing their Disney Side through costumes or accessories, and we prepared our house for a day of fun!

disneyside boxWe had a ton of decorations, tableware, games, and other fun stuff to get our party started! I am a huge Mickey fan, so we decided to go with a Mickey Mouse theme! Plus, Sweet Pea recently discovered Mickey Mouse Club House, so she was so excited to see Mickey around the house. In fact, I kept the decorations up after the party just for her!

disneyside decorationsI tend to hold onto all my decorating supplies, which comes in handy for future parties. I took some red fabric that I used for decorating at Christmas and used it to make a bunting for our treats stand. My awesome friend from Layla Ann Boutique made some funtastic streamers for the occasion as well! We went with a red,yellow,black, and white color scheme.

disneyside foodTo get into the Disney spirit, I put out some fun treats and used place cards to give them fun names like Queen of Hearts Heart Cookies, Minnie’s Pink Lemonade, and Daisy’s Sweet Treats. I try to provide a mix of sweets and healthy treats so that the kids don’t get sugar overload.The kids got a kick out of the silly names for the food too!disneyside funFor games, we played Disney Bingo, Disney Trivia, and some card games. We also did some activity sheets, and the kids got to make some terrific scratch art crafts from Bear Haven Boutique! The kids all got to take home some goodies too, like photo paper from HP to use for photos from their playdate or for crafts, nail polish, pencils, and candy!

The kids all had a terrific time, and some of our guests stayed and played the entire day! We loved showing off our Disney Side with our friends, and I hope that if you are planning a Disney themed party, that this has given you a few ideas for your next party!

For more Mickey Mouse party ideas, be sure to check out my board on Pinterest!

Follow Bear Haven Mama’s board Mickey Mouse Party on Pinterest.

*I received products from Mom Select and Disney Side to host this party, but all opinions are my own.

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Face Paint Review

*I received the kits used in this review from Face Paint as compensation for the review. However, all opinions are my own.

Face painting is a great activity to add to a party, a playdate, or a rainy day activity. The kids and I love to get creative which is why we were eager to try out some fun products from FacePaint.com.

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I have used different face stamps in the past for parties that I have done, and kids really love it! It’s a fun activity to do when everyone is arriving to keep them occupied. Sissy was so happy to have a day of trying out these face stamps on me and her. She made sure that she put on her favorite tea hat just for the occasion!

facestampcollageThese particular face stamp kits are great. I liked using the paints over the markers that I am used to using because the markers dry up whereas these paints can have a bit of water added to them. The sponges are soft, and the paint washes right off in the event that you mess up, which I often do because I don’t always have the steadiest of hands. It is completely non-toxic, and the paint shows up nicely as you can see demonstrated on Sissy! I can’t wait to bust these stamps out for our next big playdate with our friends!

Bubby, Sissy, and I also experimented with the Glimmer Body Art Party in a Box. These kits are great and easy to use!

glitter tattookitThe Glimmer Body Art Party in a Box comes with everything you need to make fun glitter body tattoos, and the kit is easy to use! You apply the stencil, peel, apply the body glue, remove stencil, brush on the glitter with the small brush, and brush off the excess with the large brush. I practiced on Bubby and did a star in gold glitter. My first attempt, as you can see turned out okay, but when I did the pink tattoo on Sissy, it turned out much better! We had a lot of fun making glittery art on our arms. These tattoos will last up to seven days too, which the kids loved! The only suggestion I make is that when you use this, make sure you have a plastic tablecloth or something down to catch the extra glitter!

facepaint71We had a blast trying out these kits from Face Paint and can’t wait to try out some of the other products on their website! Face Paint carries everything from face paints, to powder makeup, and tattoos. You can find them at www.facepaint.com and also on Facebook and Twitter. Their kits and supplies would definitely be a fun idea to add to your next event!

*I received the kits used in this review from Face Paint as compensation for the review. However, all opinions are my own.

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How to Make Your Candyland Party Pop!

Create a fun Candyland theme with these simple and fun ideas!

Create a fun Candyland theme with these simple and fun ideas!

Candyland is a very versatile party theme for all ages! You can use it for fans of the game, but you can also use it for candy lovers or even as an alternative to a princess party! I actually did the latter one year for a client to try something new. I even dressed up as Queen Frostine and had the guests as my ladies in waiting! If you are looking to do a Candyland theme, here are a few things to think of adding to your party!

These lollipop decorations are fun and easy to make!

These lollipop decorations are fun and easy to make!

Decorations:

Decorations can be done pretty easy without breaking the budget. I have a lot of candy decorations that I picked up on the cheap at Target after Christmas. You can also try looking online in the clearance section at places like Oriental Trading. You might be able to find some fun decorations that coincide with gingerbread houses and such.

You can also make your own like these fun lollipops. To make them, take disposable plastic plates and hot glue a dowel rod to them. Decorate with paint and voila! Instant lollipops! You can also take colorful cello wrap and wrap balls in them to make them look like candy and hang them from the ceiling. Streamers and colorful paperchains work as well.

Food:

Obviously, you are going to have CANDY! However, you can also make colorful fruit kebobs to offset the massive amounts of sugar. Keep the food colorful and have fun with it! Label it with fun names!

If you are making a cake yourself, you must check out the tasty cake mixes by Duff! There is this Tie Dye Cake mix that would be perfect for Candyland!

cake2Add some frosting, some colorful sprinkles, and maybe some more candy and then you have a Candyland cake. If you want to let the kids be creative, use the cake mix to make tie dye cupcakes and let the guests decorate them.

Activities:

Do you want to keep  your guests busy and provide party favors at the same time? Here are a few ideas to try:

Cotton Candy Stuff a Plush Party Kit for 6 from Bear Haven Boutique

Cotton Candy Stuff a Plush Party Kit for 6 from Bear Haven Boutique

These stuff a plush kits come with everything you need to stuff a soft, cuddly bear to take home. You can substitute for other plushies as well if not everyone is in love with pink bears!

Sand Art:

Melissa and Doug Sand Art Kits packaged together for groups of 6 from Bear Haven Boutique

Sand Art is colorful and provides a fun, inexpensive activity that can be displayed afterwards. Just make sure you have a tablecloth down for easy clean up!

For more tips and ideas, I have pinned several ideas for you to check out! Do you have any ideas to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments below!
Follow Bear Haven Mama’s board Candyland Birthday Party on Pinterest.

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Fun Hot Wing Ideas for your Next Tailgating Party

by Bear Haven Daddy

A fun idea for a football weekend stay at home tailgating party is making hot wings. While they can be a bit messy, it is a fun project for the whole family. I have been making wing for years at home and I prefer to bake them in the oven. My experience with ordering wings has been that they are often over-cooked and dry. The method I use keeps them moist tender and delicious. I have served my classic wings to rig crews and have received many compliments on how good they are.
The first step is buying your wings. Usually I buy whole wings fresh and cut them myself. You also need to remove the wing tips because they will more than likely burn when cooking. You will need a heavy knife and you need to cut the wings at each joint. Once you have done so they will start to look more familiar. Another option is to buy pre-cut wings usually found in the frozen section of a super market. This saves time in cutting. However, you will need to defrost them if you plan to brine the wings (see below). Place all the wings into a 6 quart pot and if you have time soak them in a salt brine overnight. Drain the brine and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. You can add the wing tips to this and if you plan on using it for a soup stock.
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Next, place the wings on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place in a 450 degree oven and cook until the wings are golden brown on the top side. This takes about 15-20 minutes in my oven. Remove the wings from the oven, turn them over, and repeat. Watch them closer because they tend to cook faster the second time around.

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Here is where kids can get more involved. Every family member should have a sauce picked out for the wings, or if you want to keep it simple, just make one or two sauces. My two favorite ways of coating the wings are using a bowl or an old plastic gallon ice cream tub. The bowl is pretty simple. Just add the sauce and then the wings. Using a spatula carefully stir/roll the wings from the bottom to the top to cover all the wings. You may have to do it in batches. The ice cream tub is a bit easier. Just add the sauce and wings. If I have my kids helping, I secure the lid with tape and have them shake the tub in a rolling motion to coat the wings.
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Serve hot and enjoy. Make sure to have plenty of celery and/or carrot sticks as well as ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Below are a few different ideas you can use for sauce for the wings. Take note the Old Bay and Taco Spiced wings are coated before they are baked. With all the others just toss the wings in them like the classic hot wing sauce.
Classic Hot Wing Sauce: ½ cup Franks Red Hot, 1/3 cup butter or margarine. Or just buy Franks Red Hot pre-made hot wing sauce.
Variations on the Classic: Add another hot sauce to the mix to bump the heat up a bit, such as Tobascco, or a few drops of your favorite harbano or ghost chili sauce. You could also add a drop of liquid smoke to give it a smoky flavor.

Creamy ranch: This one is great for kids. Use 1 cup ranch dressing, 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese. To make bacon ranch add 1-2 tablespoons of real bacon bits. You can also mix the classic wing sauce and the creamy ranch.

Old Bay: 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon Old Bay. Toss 2 lbs of wings to coat. Bake and toss in classic hot wing sauce.

Garlic Butter: Mix 1/2 cup butter and 2 tablespoons lightly sautéed minced garlic.

Soy Honey: Toss wings with 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce.

Chipotle: Purée 3 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 1/4 cup each  of apple cider vinegar and honey, 3 tablespoons melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin.

Teriyaki-Orange: Bring 3/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce to a simmer until reduced by half. This should take about 15-20 minutes.

Ginger-Scallion: Add 2 tablespoons of each of grated ginger, butter, soy sauce and mirin to a sauce pan. Add 3/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and sesame oil. Heat until blended. Add 1/2 cup minced scallions. Toss with wings.

Taco-Spiced: After boiling the wings, pat them dry, and toss with 3 tablespoons taco seasoning and roast. Serve with salsa.

Pizza: Toss the wings with salt and 2 teaspoons dried oregano; roast 30 minutes. Divide 1/4 cup sliced pepperoni and 1/2 cup sliced onion between the 2 baking sheets; roast 15 more minutes. Toss with shredded mozzarella and serve with warm marinara sauce.

Garlic Parm: Mix 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon onion salt, and black pepper to taste.

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Star Wars-Themed Breakfast Ideas

Sunday for May the Fourth (be with you), I decided to surprise my kids with a Star Wars-themed breakfast! Here are some simple ideas you can use to create your own Star Wars breakfast for your kids or favorite Star Wars fan!

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Sorry for the one and only image. Unfortunately, another website stole my images from the original post

Grape Yoda:

Arrange grapes on a tray to look like Yoda. For the eyes and mouth, you can use banana slices. I used Craisins for the eyes.

 

Princess Leia Buns

You could make your own if you have time, but if you don’t, just pick up a can of cinnamon buns and bake as directed.

 

Twin Sun Eggs

Fry up two eggs together and you are done. However, if you have picky eaters, grease the bottoms of muffin tins, crack an egg for each muffin slot, add salt and pepper, and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

 

Dagobah Swamp Juice

If you make green smoothies, you could make one to go with this breakfast. However, in a pinch, Naked Green Machine works great! The best part is that you don’t have to tell your kids that they just consumed good stuff like brocolli and wheatgrass!

 

Death Star Pancakes

I didn’t make these, but if you want to substitute the cinnamon buns for something else, this is a great choice.

I hope you liked these suggestions. They work great for fun breakfast ideas or could be put to use in a Star Wars-themed party!

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Penguin Make Your Own Stuffed Animal Birthday Party

Penguins are always a hit for winter birthday party themes, and since I have these really cute penguin kits, I thought this might be a good time to show how you can put together a fabulous penguin party for your child!

First off, make sure you purchase your Penguin Stuff a Plush Animal Kits early. I usually recommend ordering three weeks in advance just in case of warehouse backups or bad weather. Each kit comes with some type of carry-home bag which can be decorated with stickers, markers, and other decorations as part of a party activity.

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Stuffable Penguin Kit by Bear Haven Boutique

Next, you want to find fun decorations. Catch My Party has some printable ones that they found on Etsy that are perfect for a Penguin Party!

Penguin Party Printable Decorations found on Catch My Party

One thing you might want to add as a centerpiece or decoration is a Hot Cocoa Bar (or an Iced Cocoa Bar if you want to do this as a Christmas in July type of summer birthday party). Yellow Bliss Road has some great chalkboard printables to go with this idea!

Hot Chocolate Bar with printables on Yellow Bliss Road

Now that you have some decoration ideas, let’s talk games! Pink and Green Mama came up with some great ideas for party games!

Homemade Penguin Bean toss game and other fun party games at Pink and Green Mama

For some other fun Penguin Themed game ideas, About.com has a nice list as well including musical ice blocks, magnet fishing, igloo building, relay races, and more!

Once you have finished playing games, the kids will enjoy making their stuffed animals and decorating their bags. The best part is that it not only works as an activity, but it doubles as the party favor for the children to take home. These DIY stuffed animal kits are great party favors because they won’t end up in a landfill soon after the party ends.

Once you are done with your games, activities, and making penguins, you are going to be ready for food! Now if you used the hot chocolate bar idea, you will have some warm drinks. If you are feeding your guests lunch, you might want to consider cold weather favorites like grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

I hope these ideas have helped you come up with some fun things to do at your penguin party! Do you have any additional ideas for a penguin party? If so, feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to follow Bear Haven Mama on Facebook for more fun and ideas!