Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our Time4Learning Experience

My daughter (6 years old and in 1st grade) loves to learn! But, she also loves to be "self-taught," which can bring up some issues if we are not using the right curriculum in our homeschooling. We are a part of our local counties' homeschool program, which means we still have testing, field trips, and criteria that the rest of our county has, we just get to do our lessons from home. This has been great, but the curriculum they use is basically tons of book work for me, the mom/teacher, that I have to in turn teach her. This became a problem since my daughter doesn't like to be "taught at." She enjoys one on one time, but really thrives when she is able to lead herself in lessons and reading. When the opportunity came about for my family to try, we jumped at the chance! 

We were able to set her up for 1st grade in math, which is one of her more difficult subjects, but the areas where she thrives and is advanced in, like reading, we could let her do lessons in 2nd grade. This was great for us because we were able to really customize her schooling experience. She loved the animated and interactive lessons. They drew her in and really made learning fun! I loved the fact that in order for her to play games on the site (still semi-educational games) she had to really work on her lessons for at least 15 minutes. This gave her incentive to finish her lessons, and that made us both happy. I loved being able to see her progress and how she was doing in the parent's section. This type of learning really worked well for her independent nature.

I was also able to sign my son (4 years old) up for pre-k. He loved the games and songs, and they really helped him to retain what he was learning. The pre-k area is much more animated and silly, but at 4 years of age, it was perfect for him! He loved being able to go onto his "big boy school" just like big sis!

The system for Time4Learning is easy to navigate. I like that it keeps all the progress for you, so when it comes time for the yearly assessments, you simply print off what is needed. This experience was an eye-opening one for our family, and we can't wait to see where else Time4Learning takes us!

I was able to try out Time4Learning at no charge to bring you this review, but all the opinions are my own and completely honest. Thanks for learning.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Super Hero Party

Here is a breakdown of our Super Hero Training Party!

The Decor:
I wrote all about the decor and crafting I did over here!

The Costume:
I was so excited to throw my son and his cousins and friends one of the best "Super Hero Training" parties ever! I spent months crafting and creating fun decor and games, but wasn't sure exactly what we were going to do about his costume. While I love to sew and craft, I felt that he would want the "real deal" costume. I was able to work with and get my son an awesome Superman costume! I was worried because some of the reviews of this costume were less than favorable, but we were pleasantly surprised! The chest was a hard type plastic chest molded to look like muscles, and since it is the "Man of Steel," I thought this was perfect. My son enjoyed having his buddies punch his chest just to say "That didn't hurt at all!"  The costume also had lights around the "S" symbol, and this was a nice extra. The cape had velcro to attach it, but there was no part to actually velcro it to the suit, we solved this issue with safety pins.

Costumes4less was a pleasure to work with. We ordered my son the size we thought was going to work for him, since he is a bigger 4 year old, but quickly realized it was way to big! With only a week until the big party, I was worried we wouldn't get the new one in time. I was wrong! We were issued a refund to order the correct size as soon as we generated a return label for the one that was too big, and the new one arrived well before the party. Costumer service was a joy to work with, even when I was having a "crazy mommy moment!"

My son still enjoys dressing up and running around the house like Superman!

The Food:
My sister and I love to have good food at any party we throw, so this was no exception! We wanted to combine our children's favorite foods, while still offering healthy options. AND meanwhile, keeping with the hero theme.

*Hero Cupcakes- Cupcakes with candy melt symbols (I made them)  on top
*Thor's Hammers- sharp white cheddar cubes with pretzel rods
*Wolverine's Kabobs- pineapple and grape skewers
*Wonder Dogs- hotdogs
*"CRUNCH!"- chips
*"POP!"- popcorn
*Apple Crisps- Brothers-All-Natural bags of apple chips
*Apple Slices- Crunch Pak Apples
*Iron Man Punch- fruit punch and pineapple juice
*Captain America Energy Drink- fruit punch and blue Mnt. Dew

We were honored to have Brothers-All-Natural send us some goodies for our boys! The adults loved these!! They also offered a 15% discount coupon code for you guys! Just use DisneyParty15 and get free shipping anywhere in the Continental US!!

Crunch Pak was also gracious enough to send us some awesome coupons to pick up some healthy superhero snacks!!! The boys and moms loved having this sweet and healthy treat! We love the caramel that comes in the apple packs, it makes you feel like you are indulging while still being healthy!

This party was a thrill to throw, and the boys are still talking about it! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Super Hero Training Party Ideas and Decor- Disney Side @Home Celebration

For our second Disney Side @Home Celebration this year we decided to throw the special boys in our lives a Super Hero Training Party! This being because our Disney Side is all about Super Heroes with a 4 and 6 year old in the house, and Papi of course! We have had to postpone the party many times due to illness making its rounds through our family and friends lately, but are so excited to finally be throwing it this weekend! Here are some of the things we have worked on and have ready to go! I did receive a box full of amazing things to throw the perfect party, see the contents here, but for this party most of the things were handmade by me. :)

 These are some old jars that I decoupaged some tissue paper to the inside of. I painted the outsides to represent different heroes. I used a big pickle jar for Hulk since he is the biggest.

 For one of our training activities, the boys will throw Thor's Hammer as far as they can. This was super easy to make. I used a floral block, purchased at Dollar Tree, and carved a little of the ends to give it the shape of Thor's hammer and painted it grey. I also painted a paper towel roll brown and inserted it into the block with some hot glue as well. I don't have a picture, but I ended up wrapping some ribbon around the "handle" to give it a leather looking effect.

These are favors for the boys to take home. We will be taking group photos of the boys in their Hero costumes with a Polaroid which will fit perfectly in the frame! These were wooden frames bought for $1 and then I used old comic books (which I got for .50 at a local comic book store) and Mod Podged them to the frames! So easy and a true keepsake!

 This is the cupcake tower I made from cardboard boxes wrapped in tissue paper and then decorated with construction paper buildings, spider, and Superman symbol.

 This "Phone booth" was made from an old refrigerator box, thanks to my dad, and painted red. I just cut out some windows on the door and painted on some fake windows as well. The heroes will enter this box dressed in their "regular" clothing and emerge in their Hero outfit!

 This was my attempt at free handing a Spiderman. Once cut out and put on the wall, he actually looked kind of cool!

 Here is one of the Training Kits each boy will receive. They contain notebooks and crayons, for taking top secret notes, a can of silly string, for our Web Slinging challenge, a light saber flashlight, hero dog tags, and much more!

 This is our city scape, made from old cardboard boxes and a table cloth,  for taking some awesome photos of the Heroes in action! The yellow lantern will have a Batman symbol on it soon! :)

 These are the cupcake toppers that I am still trying to perfect! I am outlining them in melted candy melts, remember the smoother side is better, but the Superman will only be able to be used right side up unless you flip the image!

 I used Dollar Tree boxes that I just hot glued some felt pieces on to make hero symbols. These will hold party favors and odds and ends for the party.

Here are some felt pillows I "threw" together to decorate the lounging area of our party!

 These are some wooden pegs I bought at Hobby Lobby, remember to always check for the 40% off coupon before going, and then I just hand painted them. I actually used clear finger nail polish to seal them and give them a nice shine!

We used the HP packs I received to create the invites. The invitations for the party went out in an envelope with this stamped across the front to make it more "authentic!" All the boys really loved these invites!

I can't wait to see all the boy's faces when they see what we have in store! I will follow up with some pictures of the actual party as soon as it is over! :)

Big Hero 6 Viewing Party- Disney Side @Home Celebration!

I was so excited to be chosen to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration again this year and receive a box full of awesome things to throw a great party! If you missed the post about all the contents of the box just click here.  This year we decided to throw not just one party, but 2!!! The first of which was a Big Hero 6 viewing party for the release of the movie. Here are some of the things we did to celebrate one our family's favorite Disney movies!

 I printed out some Baymax faces and laid plastic wrap over them and traced his eyes in melted chocolate and then used royal icing to fill in his face.

Then I transferred the royal icing faces to some yummy sugar cookies to get the perfect Baymax cookies! :)
 This was my first attempt at cake "carving" and decorating. I printed a template of Suited up Baymax and cut my cake to the shape. I used Twizzlers and some melted chocolate for the details.

 The menu was very laid back and casual, a BBQ!! We enjoyed grilling out in the beautiful weather and then after dinner we were all set for the main event, the MOVIE!

 We snacked on cake and cookies while enjoying Big Hero 6 on the big screen!

Oh, and we had fresh popped popcorn as well! Honey Lemon couldn't resist!!! :)

Disney Side @Home Celebration

I was so excited to learn that my family was selected to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration again this year! We were so honored to participate last year and this year is no different! What this involves is throwing a party for friends and family that showcases your own personal Disney Side. I was sent a box full of goodies to help out with the party! We received the Cars Preschool party kit and my 4 year old couldn't have been more thrilled! We are still in the process of throwing the party, due to some family illness, but are hoping to have it this weekend! :) 

 Here is a picture of the contents of the kit I received for throwing a Disney Side @Home Celebration.

 Here is a close up of the goodies for the grown ups! I received delicious Twinnings Tea, Wisk Laundry detergent, HP photo packs, chore charts, Pin The Smile on Mickey, luggage tags, planning info, and much more!

Here are some of the goodies for the boys and to help throw the perfect party! Cupcake tower, decorations, cups, plates, napkins, table cloth, treat boxes, sandwich bags, sprinkles, cake mix, cake pan, place mats, coloring book, crayons, stickers, bingo game, puzzle, watch, and my son's very favorite thing the Mega Bloks Hot Wheels truck!!  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ponytail Hacks- Pinterest Try Out

So, I decided to give these Pinterest ponytail hacks a try! I hope you enjoy!