Maxton’s Bubble Guppies Party

On Saturday we celebrated Maxton’s third birthday, with a Bubble Guppies themed party (he doesn’t actually turn three until the 24th). Bubble Guppies is probably his favourite TV show, and has been for a while so I figured it would be something he would enjoy.

I see this TV show multiple times a day, so I had a pretty good idea on what I wanted to do and the colours I wanted to stick with.

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You will have to excuse the picture quality. I was racing around minutes before all the little guppies arrived, and wasn’t paying much attention to the settings nor did I do a great job at centering the photos.

The party was supposed to be outside, but just like last year for his party, it poured rain. It had been threatening rain all week, and it literally started to pour five minutes before his party started.

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The Bubble Guppies characters I purchased from Party City. They actually came in six, 6ft strands, but I thought I would get creative and tape them through the streamers to make it look like they were swimming in water.

The sign I made myself from scrapbook paper from Michaels. I love making the signs, it is so much more fun than just buying one.

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The plates, napkins and orange paper straws I purchased from Dollarama, with the exception of the Bubble Guppies plates; they were from Party City.

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It was fun coming up with funny little names for the food – makes it that much more fun.

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The cupcakes I made myself, and the cupcake toppers I also did myself. I printed them off of the Nickelodeon Junior website, cut them out, and taped them to the back of toothpicks.

The cake I had made by “Not A Cupcake“. She did an amazing job and only charged $35. Most importantly, Maxton loved it, and it tasted delicious!

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He was so excited to blow out the candle!

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So serious – he loved his piece of cake though!

Overall, despite the fact that we had to cram 40+ adults and kids into our house, it turned out great and Maxton had a blast.

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I hope my little guy enjoyed his Bubble Guppies party. I still can’t believe he’s almost three…

Cruisin’ to END MS

Today, August 21st, visit any A&W across Canada and purchase a Teen Burger, and $1 of the purchase will go to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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In 2013, Cruisin’ to END MS raised over $1.5 million for the MS Society of Canada. This was the largest single fundraising event for MS in Canada. Amazing!

As you know, my Mom has MS, and any fundraising event to help find a cure for this disease means a lot to me. So my Canadian friends, head out to A&W today and purchase a Teen Burger or two. Every $1 counts!

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(Images courtesy of A&W and the MS Society of Canada)

Summer Day Trips in Ontario

We haven’t really done much this summer. I try to take the kids to different parks, zoo’s and lakes while Steve is at work, without getting in over my head.

Steve is off the last week of August, so we are planning to do a few day trips then. With me being off on a small extended maternity leave, we are on one income, so we don’t have a lot of extra money to spend.

Here are five great places to visit in Ontario with your kids this summer:

Centreville

Centreville on the Toronto Islands, is a great place for families with young kids to visit. A short ferry ride from Toronto Harbour brings over 30 rides and attractions including: Bumper Boats, a petting zoo, Twirling Tea Cups, a Ferris Wheel, and much more!

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There is no admission fee; however, you must purchase tickets to enjoy the rides and attractions.  To enjoy unlimited rides all day it is:

$37 for over 4′  ($34 if purchased online)

$25.95 for under 4′ ($23.95 if purchased online)

A family of four all day ride pass is $111.80 ($106.13 if purchased online)

You can also purchase sheets of tickets for rides, as opposed to the day passes. It is definitely a little pricey, but worth it if you plan on spending the day and enjoying the rides.

Great Wolf Lodge

Okay, I know this is more of an overnight trip, than a day trip; but I had to mention it. Great Wolf Lodge is a chain of family indoor waterparks – the one in Ontario is in Niagara Falls. There are rides and slides for adults and kids of all ages – complete with a toddler area. In terms of sleeping accommodations, they have everything from basic suites to elaborate lofts. The accommodations are quite pricey (prices vary), but Groupon is a great place to hunt for deals for this resort!

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Niagara Falls

Although I just mentioned a popular place to visit in Niagara Falls; the falls themselves are a great place to visit in the summer.

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In addition to viewing this spectacular sight, there are other attractions you can visit with the kids. Clifton Hill is known as Niagara’s “Street of fun” and has the Guiness Museum of World Records, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, The Hollywood Wax Museum, and even a bowling alley! There is also the Journey Behind the Falls attraction or the Butterfly Conservatory – fun for all ages!

(I remember visiting the Butterfly Conservatory as a kid and being terrified when the butterflies started landing on me. I ran out of there crying, and haven’t been back since…True story.)

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)

The CNE  is located in Toronto, and runs from August 15 – September 1, 2014.

Children 4 and under are free

Children 5 to 13 years of age are $14 and

General Admission ages 14-64 is $18

There is so much to do/see for all ages. Enjoy rides, various forms of entertainment, shopping, food trucks, a garden show, a casino, and so so much more! This place is always PACKED, and it can be a little frustrating to maneuver a stroller through the crowd (especially a double stroller), but it’s only once a year and has been going on since 1879! (The CNE is easily accessible by public transit from the east and the west.)

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Ripley’s Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium is located in Toronto, and is somewhere you need to visit at least once. This is great for all ages, especially kids. The admission is:

$29.98 for Adults

$19.98 for ages 6-13

$9.98 for ages 3-5 and

Children 2 years of age and under are free

We went in April and Maxton had a great time. He loved exploring the aquarium and seeing so many amazing fish up close – not to mention the sharks! We would definitely go back.

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Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, no matter what you do!

Not-So Cake Smash

On Everly’s first birthday we did a cake smash with her. The cake was made for free by “Not A Cupcake” who also made her first birthday tea-pot cake. You can read all about that here. I did the pictures on my own at home – and set up a not-so-fancy back drop.

We never did one with Maxton (I actually hadn’t heard of them at the time), so I was looking forward to seeing what Everly would do with her cake.

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Here are some of my favourites from the shoot. You will notice that she barely touched it before she decided crawling through it would be a good idea.

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Such a dainty little lady she is.

Maxton couldn’t wait to get in there with his fork. Such well-mannered, clean children I have. 🙂

Tea Time for ONE!

The weekend before Everly’s first birthday, we had a tea party for her at our home. As a little girl, I loved having little tea parties. I am sure she will enjoy having them too, and figured I might as well start her young. Right?

I did a lot of prep work beforehand, and it still felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut-off, the morning of.

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The pom-poms I made myself out of tissue paper – they were super easy to make (I will post on how to make them soon). The banner I also made out of scrapbook paper, and the balloons were ordered from Party City.

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The first birthday stat board was surprisingly easy to make, and fun! I purchased a piece of white foam board from Michaels for $4.99, and covered it with black chalk board paint. I also purchased some chalk board markers, which were $19.99 but I had a 40% off coupon (for Michaels). I planned out the design on a piece of paper, and in some places I sketched it out lightly in pencil first. It turned out pretty good!

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The tea cups and saucers were one of my favourite parts. One of them was Steve’s grandma’s, which I chose from her collection when she passed away; and the other three are my Baba’s, and I chose them when my mom packed up my Baba’s belongings before she moved in with my Mom. (The spoons are also hers.)

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The plates/napkins and cutlery were from Dollarama, the paper straws I got at Target, and the candy I purchased from Bulk Barn. I thought it was a classic touch to put them in my fine china (which never gets used). After all, it’s a tea party; might as well be fancy!

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The shortbread I made myself, and picked up the cookie-cutters at Michaels. The Raspberry Jam Thumb-Print Cookies I also made from scratch and they were a big hit! I will be posting the recipe for that as well. The best part about them was the jam was homemade!

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Oh the cupcakes…mmm. I also made these myself, the night before her party. I feel like it was a bit ambitious to use coloured icing as it was more time-consuming to make separate batches of buttercream, but it was definitely worth it! The piping turned out alright – overall, I was quite pleased with how they turned out, and I think the tea party guests would agree!

I still wanted Everly to have a full-sized cake, at least for her first birthday. I found a local home-based cake business by the name of “Not A Cupcake” and she made an amazing tea-pot cake. It was much larger than I was expecting and I really didn’t need to make the cupcakes, but it was fun to have both. The cake only cost $40, and she threw in a free “smash cake” for her (details on that to come). I was so impressed with it – she did an amazing job on the design, and it was delicious!

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I wonder what was going through her little head…

A few more pictures of the afternoon…

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It was a great birthday tea party!