Showing posts with label birthday
My thanks to Influenster and Hellmann’s® for sending me complimentary product to try and share my thoughts with you today. All opinions are my own. 
Lots of fun and happy things happen at our home around Memorial Day.  I took a week off work to help welcome the unofficial start of summer, the girls end another year of school, I celebrate a birthday (of course I am 39 again!) and we kick off grilling season, usually with big, juicy burgers like this one. 

burgers,fries,#Hellmann's, Mayo
Notice the mayo on that burger? My husband wouldn’t have one any other way, and his go to Mayonnaise brand is Hellmann’sWe use it on everything from burgers to potato salad this time of year but it is a challenge to get the very last bit out of a jar of squeeze bottle; until now. 
The nice folks at Hellmann’s came up with a new bottle design that will help put an end to the battle with your mayo container!

mayo, bottle, squeeze, flip, top, lid

About Hellmann’s new bottle: 
"Hellman's new and improved squeeze bottle provides a best-in-class squeeze experience with less waste, less mess and more control. Its unique design allows you to get more mayonnaise out without all the shaking, banging and mess and with the same unmistakable taste of Hellmann’s®. The new Hellmann’s® squeeze bottle allows you to squeeze more out, complete with three main improvements:
A Precision Tip, for pinpoint mayonnaise deployment
A Clean-Lock Cap, custom designed for a cleaner experience 
A Sleek New Design including unique slip agent technology for getting more mayonnaise out."

A photo posted by Linda Kinsman (@ismilefirst) on

I’m really enjoying the no mess feature! Making sandwiches for my girls or watching them make their own is no longer a messy task! Plus, the cap really does stay clean, so I don’t have to wipe it off or run it under water with each use making it a perfect go to Mayo container, for home, picnics, BBQ’s and more. 

I invite #SqueezeMoreOut this summer by learning more about this product by visiting Hellmann’s website where you can find recipes and tips and by following them on Twitter, or visiting them on Facebook

Please share in comments: What is your favorite summer recipe that uses Mayo?

A special thank you to Royal Canin and PetSmart for sponsoring today’s conversation. All opinions and love of my fur babies are my own.

Earlier this month our fur princess Dottie turned 8. Like all princesses, she deserved a special birthday gift.  If my non-fur children would have gotten their way, Dottie would have received a birthday party fit for a true princess. 

cat, fur baby, mature, health

I convinced them that a trip to PetSmart for a new toy and some special cat food would suffice. 

petsmart, logo, help, pets

We love going to PetSmart! Their staff is always so friendly and knowledgeable about all types of pets, not just our fur babies. We always look at the beautiful birds and fish before heading to our main department: Cats.

On this special occasion, I wanted to give Dottie a special treat that would also be good for her changing needs. No longer a kitten or young adult, we were noticing a subtle change in how Dottie ate and enjoyed her food. She was showing signs of discomfort after eating; I was looking for a food just for digestive health and nutritional needs for an adult indoor cat.

The Cat food section at PetSmart offers a variety of products for all ages, stages and nutritional needs.  As we walked down the aisle, we were drawn to the Royal Canin food section because it was one of the largest there.

pet, food, health, nutrition

Royal Canin is a global leader in pet health nutrition and they strive to bring the most precise nutritional solution for cats and dogs. Through extensive research, Royal Canin has identified the needs of our cats and dogs. 

They live by the conviction that, no matter how much we love our fur babies and treat them like family- our pets are not people and they require unique nutritional needs.

We decided to gift Dottie some Royal Canin for made just for the digestive health of a mature cat. Thankfully, Dottie loved her special gift and will buy her more on our next PetSmart trip.

pets, love, furbabies

Royal Canin and the PetSmart staff are here to help you make the best possible food choices for your cats and dogs as well. No matter if they are large or small, pure bred or mixed breed, there is a specially formulated food made just for them.  I invite you to visit PetSmart’s store locator to find a store near you. 

If you would like to learn more about all of the Royal Canin cat foods available prior to going to PetSmart, please visit their cat food page.

Please share in comments: Do you and your family celebrate your pets birthdays? If so, how?

On a recent mild Saturday afternoon, a group of happy tweens arrived at our home to help my daughter celebrate her 12th birthday.  They were full of energy and giggles right from the start!

The hostess ready to greet her guests #Disneyside #celebration

The birthday “Princess” was ready to greet her guests and make them feel welcome. For twenty minutes, we met girls and parents and exchanged pleasantries as one should. All went according to plan. That would be the last time I could say that with any real confidence! The great thing about tweens is their spontaneity!  So my first tip to hosting an epic tween birthday party is: Plan to not follow your plan exactly.

Show your #Disneyside #celebration
My next tip is to pick a theme that has a lot of wiggle room. While my daughter liked the “idea” of a Disney Villain style party, she didn’t want it to be over the top with decorations.  We went with simple purple, green, gray and black pieces and accessories. The clear favorite was the villain banner! Hello Ursula, Maleficent and Darth Vader!

#Disneyside Villain themed #party banner

After the girls had played outside for a while they came in ready for a snack. We had lots of on hand, but before I could get a photo to share- these girls descended upon the table with an appetite only a tween boy could rival! Which leads me to my next tween party tip: don’t take too many photos and never snap a picture of a girl with her mouth full of food! So, not cool Mom!

#Disneyside #party snack time

After the girls hung out listening to music and taking selfies (yes, the irony isn’t lost on me) they went totally off plan and asked to do hair, nails and makeup instead of the crafts and games we had planned. Tip number 3: Roll with it, when at all possible. 

Here's my girls take on Maleficent nails.  We used black, green and purple nail polish- but you could use whatever darker colors you have on hand. I think they turned out nice!

#Maleficent style nails #Disneyside #Villains

Want to create your own Maleficent Villain style nails? Here’s a quick tutorial for you to follow.

Maleficent inspired nail art #Disneyside

After dinner, which included lots of pizza and veggies, the girls were ready to be frightened by playing flashlight tag! Living out in the country like we do, Mother Nature provided us with a very dark and mysterious landscape, perfect to frighten and amaze city dwellers! Maleficent would approve!

girls playing flashlight tag #Disneyside #tween party fun!

While down at our pond, these girls got themselves so scared, they ran back to the house and got us parents involved! It was a perfect, crisp, clear night on our land for flashlight tag. Even with all the flood lights on there was much screaming and laughter.

The hubby and myself have fun playing flashlight tag #Disneyside

I must confess- this older Princess had a lot of fun outside with her Prince.

Tip number 4: Let your tweens explore and push the boundaries just a bit. Their party is the perfect time to allow ghost stories and playing outside after dark (weather permitting) as long as you establish safety guidelines first. Parents, even if you don’t want to be seen- stay close where you can hear and see the kids. 

Later that evening, the girls decided to get to the games and crafts part of our party plan. The clear favorite was the jar painting craft!

Girls just want to have fun! #Disneyside craft time

They laughed and talked and joked and ate and laughed some more until it was movie time.

I cleaned up the happy mess as best I could and left the living room to them. Which leads me to tip number 5: let your child host, but set ground rules before guests arrive. Chat with your son or daughter about snacks and drinks allowed, which movies are approved for watching and what time the party must wind down so kids can go to sleep if you are hosting a sleepover party like we did.

As I was preparing breakfast the next morning, the girls naturally gravitated back to the craft area to finish up their jars before pick up time arrived. That's when I knew this craft project was a winner

morning craft time #Disneyside

Even though this was a bit of a messy endeavor, I think all the jars turned out as pretty and as individual as the girls who painted them.

painted keepsake jar #Disneyside party craft

My last tip on throwing an epic tween birthday party, one in which your child and their friends tell you how much fun they had and how Epic! the party was. It's simple- sprinkle your party liberally with laughter and a healthy dose of pixie dust style patience and you too can pull off a great tween party!

Pixie Dust for goodie bags #Disneyside

Disney wants you to show your #Disneyside by being happy and sharing what you love about Disney! Showing your Disneyside will look different for every family and that’s what makes life fun.

#Disneyside #birthday party fun

If you’d like to throw your own #Disneyside at home celebration, head on over to DisneySide Celebrations and check out all the amazing themes, tips, activities and recipes they have. I'm betting you'll be able to pull of an epic party too!

Please share in comments: What is your favorite Disney Villain character and why?

Disclosure: My thanks to Disneyside for providing us with a box of Villain worthy goodies to use how we chose to show our Disneyside. No compensation was given or wanted. We are happy to show our Disneyside as often as possible.

Easy kids birthday party craft using upcycled packing paper

in , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Thursday, October 02, 2014

From time to time my husband receives supplies for his cabinet business wrapped in long sheets of white packing paper.  He knows better than to recycle this paper (or any packing paper really) before asking me if I want it for craft and D.I.Y. projects.

This thrifty do it your self-er usually says yes!  Sometimes I get brown paper, sometimes I get tissue paper, but my favorite of all is the perfectly white pieces of packing paper.  I roll them up and squirrel them away for special occasions.

Inspiration struck when we were planning my tweens birthday party. Anybody who has ever hosted a birthday party/sleepover knows these wonderful tweens can power through activities almost as quickly as they can hoover a bag of Doritos. Almost. 

So a Mom’s got to be on her A game or she will hear the dreaded “I’m bored” or “what else can we do?” words. Not good when one is celebrating a birthday. So my daughter and I jammed packed their schedule, but my ace in the hole was letting them write on the table!

easy birthday party craft for tweens #upcycled paper
Doesn’t this paper just beg to be drawn and written on? Even our cat couldn’t resist it.

 Craft Set Up:

Setting this craft up was easy-peasy.  First, we placed a festive plastic table cloth on our dining room table. Then rolled out the white packing paper and taped it down on the ends and sides. Don’t worry if your upcycled paper has a hole or two in it, just tape over it. Next, set out your writing supplies. We had a bucket full of markers and a pencil case full of colored pencils and pens. There may have been a few crayons in the mix as well.

bucket of markers for craft time

You are good to go! Once all the guests arrive, let the birthday child announce that they can write on the table and be ready with your camera for their reactions! The girls attending my daughter’s party practically knocked each other over to get to the table to start. 

Out of respect for privacy, I won’t share their happy faces here, but I will show you the end product.

happy craft table

As you can see, these girls LOVED this craft. They came back to it again and again. They wrote and laughed and talked their way through dinner and dessert here. They came back after playing flashlight tag and they sat here again doodling while eating their breakfast and waiting to be picked up. 

The best part for me was seeing their faces. Once the party guests had gone home, my daughter and I saved a portion of the paper with special birthday messages on it. 

Finding free packing paper ideas:

If you haven’t started recycling the packing supplies that come in with your products, now is a great time to start with the holidays rapidly approaching. You can also ask your family members to save longer sheets of packing paper for you.  You could even ask a local business if they receive boxes with packing paper. I’m sure they would be happy to give you some as most businesses just recycle it.  

However you come by your paper, I hope you and your kids will get a chance to write on the table soon! 

Please share in comments: Do you set up craft/activity stations at your kids birthday parties? If yes, what kinds?