Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Me Want Cookie

A Cookie Monster Celebration

As we know, I love to throw a good kids' party. Margo is obsessed with cookie monster and she loves her music class, so together we had a fabulous cookie monster themed second birthday party, complete with the terrifically talented Miss Marcia as entertainment. 

We LOVE Miss Marcia!

 I cannot stress enough her wonderful demeanor and talent with the under 8 year old sect.
Dare I say, she is the toddler whisperer
In the nearly six years I have known her as a Kids Music Round instructor, I have NEVER seen her have an off day. 
If you're in Southern New Jersey check her out.

Marcia provided the entertainment but the rest of the party revolved around COOKIES! 
I didn't want to go full heavy on the Cookie Monster theme at first, but damn you pinterest! There are so many cute ideas out there, I couldn't help it. 

In keeping with the traditional cookie monster palette, I used a royal blue and white color scheme. Streamers in white and blue were suspended in the dining room, while miscellanous photos and cookie monster quotes found their way throughout the house. Using cookie clip art , I printed out the image on white tag board to create the happy birthday banner. 

Moira helped with the decorations too, as she created an illustration of cookie monster to add to the ambiance. 

In addition, I created a cardboard cut out letter M. Using cookie crisp cereal I hot glued the cookies. Thus creating a quite adorable and potentially edible personalized mantle decoration. I also use various pieces of scrapbook paper and printed out the letters via Microsoft word, to create another Margo banner for the living room. 


Using blue lunchbags I purchased off Amazon and black & white construction paper, I created cookie monster goodie bags. 
Inside, for the little ones, they received a Cookie Monster book I found this fall from the dollar spot at Target and a cookie monster pouch from Earth's Best Organics. For the older guests, I purchased ring pops and packs of Chip's Ahoy chocolate chip cookies. 

 The Food

We provided a delicious lunch of mac & cheese and chili for our guests lunch. But as is the star of most birthday parties, dessert was the star of the show.

Cookie dough dip was divine! Paired with Nilla wafers, OMG!
Check out the recipe from Love & a Prayer here

The star of the dessert wasn't a cookie at all, but rather, a cake, a 
Cookie Monster Cake!

Using a round cake pan, some buttercream icing, and blue food dye, I was able to create this little Cookie Monster Smash cake. I had fun with the piping bag. I also used the white frosting center from oreos to create eyes and brown mini m&ms for the pupils. 

Margo enojoyed it! 

I cannot believe my baby is two! Where did the time go? 
I will say, it has been quite the trip and I feel so very lucky to be the mom to three wonderful little ladies. 

Turning Two is So Sweet!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thank you Mo'Ne Davis, or why not every girl wants to be a princess and that's okay.

My daughter, Moira is not a princess.

She is not into pink. 
She does not like dresses. 
She prefers sports, jerseys, and cleats to ballet, tutus and party shoes. 

She is a sporty girl. 

When I ask her what that means, she describes herself as "a girl that likes sports, you know, mommy? I like to play soccer and softball and wear my hat backwards. Oh, and I like to wear my comfy shorts. I like nike."

If I inquire about dresses, the response has been conditioned: 
"Only on Sundays, the first day of school, and when you make me."

I believe that her definition of a sporty girl is not that different than most young boys and girls.

However when I google sporty girls - this is what comes up:

Somewhere things have gotten all mixed up. 

I'm not seeing any comfy shorts, or hats backwards. I also find it incredibly improbable that the girl in the string bikini exposing portions of her breast could play a game of soccer or basketball in that attire. 

 How has the definition of sporty girl diverged so much between my 6 year old and google?

I don't get it and neither should you.

This is a sporty girl

This is a sporty girl. 

This is a sporty girl.

This is a sporty girl. 


Last night, my Mo watched this Mo pitch to a bunch a boys in the middle of central Pennsylvania. 

Doesn't sound like a big deal until it is taken into a account that this Mo, Mo'ne Davis wasn't just tossing a ball to a few friends. This  was the Little League World Series televised on ESPN. As she blanked the team from Tennessee in her first appearance of the tournament, I could see on my child's face admiration. She found another sporty girl like her.

Thank you Mo'Ne. Thank you Abby and Serena and Missy. 

Thank you to all those strong females practicing and playing, giving my strong sporty girl the images she needs. 

While I would like to think google has it wrong, I cannot negate cybermetrics. I can only hope as more and more young girls pick up a bat, ball, or throw on cleats, our communities perception of sporty girl will change. 

Because this is a sporty girl too and she deserves a community that sees her the way she described. 

"Like Mo'Ne mom, strong and beating the boys." 
on the pitch, the field, or the pool. 

Thank you Mo'Ne from my Mo and her Mama. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Imagine having a fever, and then suddenly looking at your limbs and noticing red spots. Taking a deep breath in, pain begins radiating down your throat as your tongue finds sore after sore.

Is it the plague?

Oh my God, you have small pox!
Not quite.

Bird flu?

Are you dying?
Don't be a drama queen.

What is this feverish hell you ask? 

Ladies, and gentleman may I present the joy that is HAND FOOT AND MOUTH disease!

Margo day 5 

Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease is a virus, and like all viruses, the only thing to make them go away is time.

That means, no pill or shot. Just day after day of quarantine, because until the fever disappears it is highly contagious.




Yes. The highly contagious that would spread from one child to the other and then the other.

Three girls within five days suffering a high fever and varying degrees of sores.

It was bad.

There were sleepless nights and round the clock doses of Motrin to help with the pain. There were oatmeal baths, and repeat applications of Aquaphor.

Popsicles. Milkshakes. Milk. Gatorade.

And even a few applications of magic mouthwash - equal parts liquid Maalox and liquid Benadryl dabbed on mouth sores. It does live up to the name. 

I thought the five days of quarantine were bad and then Bryan came home with a fever.

Usually I am one to make fun of the "Man Cold" or "Man illness" but in this case, the sores on his hands, feet and mouth have made me a little more sympathetic.

Here he is, day 6 walking in pain as the sores on the pads of his heels and feet pop open, wincing as his fingers hurt. I feel bad.

But not bad enough to want to get it too. As of today, I'm fever free. I have no sores and I pray to God I remain this way.

So, if you think you are having a bad summer, it could be worse.

Your house could be taken over by Hand, Foot, and Mouth.

The above photos were taken day 1, and yes Margo is rocking her beads, because nothing says "I have a contagious virus that hurts like a mother" quite like purple Mardi Gras beads. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Surviving Sesame Place

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? 

If you, like me, hear this song more than you care to admit, or if you have children under the age of 8, I highly recommend putting a visit to Sesame Place on your summer bucket list. 

The Facts 
  • Sesame Place is located in Langhorne Pennsylvania, approximately 25 miles outside of Philadelphia
  • It is owned and operated by Seaworld Parks and Entertainment
  • It is open from May through December, daily from Memorial Day until Labor Day. 
  • The park itself is 14 acres and has been open since 1980.
  • From mid-September to the end of October, the park is decorated for the Count's Halloween Spectacular, closes then reopens around Thanksgiving through the end of December for a Very Furry Christmas. 
  • Kids under 2 are free, and discounts are available if you purchase your tickets online prior to your trip, or through AAA. There are also discounts for members of the military.
  • The park is comprised of various dry and wet rides, three theaters, and numerous dining options.
What to Pack 
  • Bring sunscreen, and sunglasses! It gets hot as most of the rides have limited shade and there are barely any trees, leaving you standing in the sun.
  • Fill a reusable lunchbox or small cooler with snacks, and drinks. 
  • Bring your own stroller, or wagon. 
  • Traveling with an infant? Be sure you pack socks or something to cover their feet. It is mandatory for the carousel and they will check. 
  • Characters are readily available for meet and greet photo opportunities throughout the park. Bring the camera. 
Tips of the Trade
  • Attending on a warm day? Wear your swimsuit and cover up and pack a change of clothes. It's so much easier. 
  • If possible, plan your trip for a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. The week immediately after Memorial Day and until mid-June sees small crowds, as most local children are still in school. The end of August crowds thin as some districts head back to school. 
  • Leave your valuables in your locked car or consider renting a locker. Reservations can be made in advance either online or via the phone. 
  • Either get to the park at 10 am for opening or delay your trip until 3. The crowds seem to thin out dramatically after the 4 o'clock parade. Coming in at 3 pm still permits 5 good hours of meeting characters, seeing shows, and enjoying the various rides.
  • Consider starting with the wet rides, and then move onto the dry. Most guests do the opposite leaving the dry rides with less lines in the afternoon, and making the water side of the park more crowded in the afternoon. 
Surviving the Rides
Honker Dinger Derby 
  • Before you arrive, check the height limits and age restrictions and compare them to your children's height.  Most rides require an adult to accompany a child under 42 inches.
  • Sky Splash (i.e. the big Rubber Ducky ride) at the front the park usually has a long line by afternoon, consider riding it early. 
  • Vapor Trail - Sesame Place's roller coaster also located at the front of the park requires guests to be at least 3 to ride with an adult, and to ride alone they must be 44 inches and 7 years old. 
  • Getting there at opening?  Head immediately to Cookie's Monster Land. As it is the newest park, the lines on these rides seem to be the longest. Good news, however, because it is located towards the back of the park, most guests make it there later on in the morning.
  • Honker Dinger Derby requires all riders to be at least 42 inches high, thus most of the riders are five years and older. 
  • Coming with more children than adults? Be mindful of ride restrictions. The following rides one adult can ride with multiple children: Peek-A-Bug, Sunny Day Carousel, Monster Mix-Up, Sky Splash, Oscar's Rotten Rusty Rockets, and Blast-Off. 
  • Ernie's Waterworks, Teeny Tiny Tidal Waves, and The Count's Splash Castle are more open and great places to spend time and cool off. 
  • Big Bird's Rambling River has two entrances. Most guests are unaware of this and will gravitate towards the entrance near the Parade Route. Walk over the bridge, near the Island Cabanas and find the other entrance. 
Shows and Character Interactions
  • I recommend viewing the early show of Elmo Rocks! This theater is large, with limited shaded seats,  making it really hot midday. This rock and roll themed show features Cookie Monster, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Bert, and Ernie. 
  • Elmo the Musical! is the only air conditioned theater of the three. I recommend saving it for after lunch, when the heat is at its hottest. The show itself is my least favorite, but it's nice to cool off. It showcases Elmo, Dorothy his fish, and Cookie Monster. 
  • Let's Play Together is the show to see if your little one loves Abby Cadabby. While an outdoor theater, there are large ceiling fans offering some relief. The show showcases Abby, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, Elmo, Grover, and Rosita. 
  • 123 Smile with Me is not a show, but a chance to meet and greet various characters. This is the only location outside of the shows or the parade, where one can interact with Elmo. This season the Honkers and Dingers are available for photos too. You are permitted to use your own camera to photograph in this location.
  • Characters are a plenty for interactions on the parade route and in Sesame Neighborhood and they rotate a lot, so be sure to check back throughout the day to ensure your little one meets Oscar, Abby, Super Grover, and all the rest of the friends except Elmo. 
  • Dine With Me offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner character dining plans. Check out more character dining experiences here.
  • Sesame Place also offers unique entertainment experiences for other outside performers and preschool favorites. Check the calendar of events  as performers such as The Imagination Movers, Max & Ruby, and the cast of LazyTown have scheduled performances. While most events are included in ticket price, some do require reservations or an additional ticket fee. 
Other Good Stuff 
  • Sad to say, but there is no alcohol in the park. They do have Starbucks and ice cream. 
  • Got a bunch of friends with kids? Consider purchasing your tickets together to get the group rate. You do not need to go the same day to purchase a group plan.
  • Historically, at the beginning of August season passes for the next calendar year become available for purchase. Meaning if you go August 1, you could purchase a pass for the 2015 year and get the remainder of 2104 too. Might be something to consider. 
  • Re-entry on the same day is okay, so consider leaving for mealtime and returning. 
  • Forget anything? There are plenty of stores in the area surrounding the park to purchase items. 
  • There are hotels offering shuttle service to and from the park, so consider making it an overnight. 
  • When purchasing season passes, consider your family needs. Remember to include at least one person as a Big Bird Season Pass holder to ensure you get free parking. The Super Grover Passes do include entry for one calendar year to all of the Seaworld Parks. Find more information here. 
  • Keep your drink and popcorn container year after year. The park will refill previous year containers for the refill rate. 
While Sesame Place is an amusement park geared towards preschoolers, kids of all ages can have a fun time together. Hopefully these tips and words of advice can help make your trip an enjoyable one. 

Have any other good advice or tips? Please share!

Sesame Place did not compensate me to create this post. After three years as season pass holders these ideas are my own. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

It's Good to be Green! (Garden Update!)

Move over Martha, apparently Mama (and Daddy) have a green thumb.

We may have been a little overzealous with the seeding, however, we did yield a few radish. The rest of our crop is due to be harvested throughout mid-June to mid-July. 

After close to 5 hours of pruning and weeding, we decided to use some hay to try and prevent the weeds from taking over. Since our first post, we've added a chicken wire fence to the perimeter of the garden to keep the pesky groundhog and rabbits out.

What has been the best part of the garden thus far has been the level of interest shown by Moira and Maeve. Almost daily, when we arrive home from school or other adventures out, they enjoying racing down to check on the garden. Maeve was the first to spy the purple blooms of pending eggplant and Mo has helped weed among the zucchini and squash.

While I am unsure how many consumable vegetables our garden will ultimately produce, I am excited that as of today is looks the part!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How does your garden grow?

Our yard has been a work in progress.

When we first moved in nearly five years ago, it looked like this.

It was scary. 

Dare I say, forest like? I will admit, I had zero desire to spend any real time out there. 

Slowly but surely things are looking up. 

May I present our newest addition to our yard, 


Bryan has put a lot of blood, sweat and even a few tears into building the walls around the garden. The former owners at one time or another had had a dedicated garden space behind the garage. Over the years, it had fallen into disrepair and overgrown with weeds and such. Bry took it upon himself to pull up the old railroad ties which served at the former border. He then took a shovel and some elbow grease to turn over some of the earth. Purchasing the bricks at Lowes, he and his old wheelbarrow spent a long afternoon creating the wall. 

 We have a good group of yard guys that brought in a few tons of mushroom enriched soil and friends, our garden is here! This year we are planting a lot of different fruits and vegetables. Since we are unsure of our spot and the earth, we figured we'd do a little bit of a lot and she how things turn out. 

I really want the girls to be active participants in the garden. They came with us to the local garden company to pick out some sprouts and seeds. We got them their own gloves to help with weeding and pruning, and were great at planting. They are quick to remind me to water, and have taken turns manning the hose. 

As a final addition, they painted seashells multiple bright colors. We had collected these a few summers ago from the beach, and prior to their home in the garden, they just were sitting out front in our flower bed.  Each was painted a different color and then I marked the plant's name in paint pen. 

Like I mentioned earlier, this garden is an experiment. 
We have never grown anything before, but I am eagerly optimist that we will be enjoying the fruits of our labor later this summer. 

Stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Supercalifragilstic Shindig or two

"Go Big or Go Home." 
This time, we went big at home. 

This year, as Moira turned six, she begged. She pleaded. She prayed for us to invite her whole class to her party. In addition, she could not celebrate the big 0-6 without inviting her other friends and family. 

I am never one to shy away from a challenge, especially related to birthday celebrations. This year, crazy came home as we hosted not one, but two Mary Poppins themed birthday parties back to back. 

Mo has been Mary Poppins' biggest fan since she first saw the movie at 3 years old, and still watches it over and over today. 

We hosted the first party from 11:30-1:30 for fifteen of her Kindergarten classmates. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, so we were forced to do most of the activities in the house. I hired my two favorite fifth graders to serve as party helpers. 

This seriously is the best $30 I spent!

Our timeline was set, and we stayed pretty much on task. Kite bookmark craft,  pin the bow tie on the penguin, lunch, freeze dance, tuppence toss, Happy Birthday, dessert, and then a Spoonful of Sugar relay. By 1:35 every child was picked up, and by 1:40 the two fifth graders were heading home with pizza, cupcakes and money in their pockets. 

Whereas, we had a much more laid back and less structured party later. Coloring, making kites, pin the bow tie on the penguin, dinner, freeze dance, tuppence toss, Happy Birthday, dessert, and then a Penguin pinata. This second party began at 3:30, and consisted of our family and friends we consider family. 

Overall, this theme lends itself to lots of great decorations, food choices, crafts and games. I do believe we had quite the supercalifragilistic shindigs. 


There are not a lot of Mary Poppins specific decorations to purchase, therefore I created a bunch myself. Using a black, white, and red color scheme we added pictures, and banners throughout the house.

Personalized Mary Poppins T-Shirt
"Practically Perfect in Every Way"
Courtesy of Caramel Designs

Mary Poppins Toy

Guests joined the party at 17 Cherry Tree Lane
Image courtesy of The Artful Wayfarings of Kelsey Carlson 

Finding this image from the Musical, we used this as on the online invitation and on the favor bags. 
Banner courtesy of Shanty 2 Chic
Using precut letters affixed to the window frame, we spelled out supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

For more printable images, check out my Pinterest Board here. 


The children colored then assembled foam bookmarks from Oriental Trading Company

Pin the Bow Tie on the Penguin

I made the penguin out of tag board. The kids took turns attempting to pin the bow tie on the penguin's neck. 

Freeze Dance

Using various scenes from Mary Poppins, the children took turns dancing to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Step In Time, and Spoonful of Sugar.

Tuppence Toss

Inspired from this site,  Moira, Maeve, and I took a piece of white tag board and colored various circles. At the party, the children each received handfuls of pennies. Taking turns, they attempted to toss their penny and make in land in the circle. Each penny that made it in the circle, the kids were able to keep. Those that fell off the board or landed on the white, we returned back to the "bank". 

Spoonful of Sugar Relay

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures from this relay. However, with the large group it was really successful. I split the party into two teams. Using big spoons, which I found at the dollar store, they would scoop from a container of sugar (really it was play sand), run across to the their team's container, dump their spoonful in, and then run back to their team, passing the spoon to the next person in line.

Penguin Pinata 


Chocolate, Vanilla, & Chocolate Chip cupcakes with buttercream icing 

Chimney Sweep Marshmallow Pops

Spoonful of Sugar Cookies

These parties were both exhausting and exciting. 
We had a fabulous time as it was quite a supercalifragilistic celebration.

Find my pinterest board here: A Supercalifragilistic Shindig