Anniversaries, surprises, and Orlando: a Geeky trip to Disney and Harry Potter.

On Monday, September 28 in the VERY early morning, I plan to wake up the Kid, and head to Florida to go to the parks at Disney and Harry Potter parks at Universal. Currently, she has no idea, and I’m not even sure I will tell her when she wakes up. I may wait until we get closer into the Orlando area. I really hope it will be a fun trip.

Monday also happens to be the 7th anniversary of the day I was admitted to the hospital 20 weeks and 5 days pregnant with our twins. Little did I know that I would still be in that same hospital bed 110 days later. What an interesting time that was for our family, but it took a toll on the Kid who was only 3.5 years old at the time.

The Kid has been having some self esteem issues due to someone close to her making her feel “less than”. I am hoping this trip, with just the two of us, will help her remember that being her Geeky self, is the best way to be.

The two Harry Potter parks at Universal and several parks at Disney are on the list of places to visit. What are your “must go to” places in Orlando? What are some SUPER GEEKY things to do at Universal and Disney? Let us know, and I’ll let you know how our trip is going on our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram page. Make sure to follow along!

DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frame

DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frames

DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frame

Isn’t this cute! A DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frame, Mickey style. It would make a great gift, and it’s so easy to make!

While prepping for my Art of Disney DisneySide Party, I started searching for an easy, eye catching project for the party. Since I knew that all of our guests doing the art projects would be under the age of 10, I wanted something that would be a great keepsake while being easy on my wallet. I had seen these DIY Marbled Mugs everywhere, but I wanted something that the kids could Disney-fy. Then came my idea, DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frames! HP, graciously, sent HP Photopaper as favors for my DisneySide guests, so it wasn’t too far of a jump to picture frames. It would be a perfect takeaway for my guests.

First, you need your supplies and make sure to set up in a WELL ventilated area:

–Disposable pan or container you can get nail polish on (I got mine at the Dollar Tree)
–Nail polish–Very warm water
–Frame with a smooth surface (raw wood won’t work). I got mine for about $2 a piece.
–Toothpicks (optional)
–Rubber or nylon gloves (optional if you don’t want to get your hands messy)

DIY Nail Polish Marbled frame

Frame supplies: Disposable or dedicated pan, warm water, nail polish colors of your choosing, and a smooth surfaced frame.

How to make it:

–Take the back off and glass out of your frame. You will be left with just the outside part of the frame.
–Pour very warm water into your pan or container. Make sure the container is deep enough and you have enough water to submerge your frame.–Pour your nail polish in the warm water. Drizzle the colors around to ensure you will have enough coverage of the frame. Blow the polish around if you want it to spread more. You can also use the toothpicks to swirl the paint.
–As soon as your last color is in, dip your frame into the pan. Repeat, as necessary to get the coverage you want on the frame.
–Take out and let dry completely. We used a hair dryer to speed up our process during our DisneySide party. Otherwise, the sun works nicely.
–Once dry, decorate with scrapbooking supplies, stickers, ribbon, etc, or leave it as is and enjoy your masterpiece.

Step One DIY Nail Polish Frame Project

Take the back off and glass out of your frame. Then pour the very warm water into your pan.

DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frame

Drizzle your nail polish on top of the water. I used black, gold, silver, and a glitter polish.

Step Three DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frame

Now, dip your frame into the paint skimmed water. The paint will wrap and adhere to the frame.

Final DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frame

Your frame will turn out swirled and marbled like this. Every one you do will be different and unique.

DIY Nail Polish Marbled Frame

We decorated with scrapbooking supplies and stickers. This has SO many possibilities.

DIY Nail Polish Frames

Here are just a few of the frames that the kids did. I love how they are all so different. Happy crafting!


DisneySide, party, 2015, Disney Parks

2015 DisneySide Party–The Art of Disney

Show Your Disney Side
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that one of my Geeks is all things Disney and to show my DisneySide whenever possible. After our trip last year to see the Mouse, this has only intensified. I was so thrilled to have another opportunity to host a DisneySide party this year. As usual, Disney Parks, and all of the other sponsors, were amazing to send all kinds of goodies to help us throw the party and show our DisneySide.

DisneySide Party Box Reveal

Check out all of the goodies that Disney Parks, Beyond Beef, Palace Pets, and Duff sent. The party box was filled to the brim with party supplies, cake supplies, party games, prizes, favors, recipes, and decorations.

Last year, our DisneySide party was full of fun, food, friends, and family, and it was LARGE! We had a blast, but this year, I wanted to keep it smaller. I wanted to focus on one of my favorite elements of Disney–the Art of Disney. Since the beginning, Walt Disney and the Disney Company have always put ingenuity, innovation, and creativity first. As a homeschooling parent, these are some of the core values that I try to instill in my children. One of the best ways that Disney shows these elements in what they do is by their art and design, so I decided that the Art of Disney would be my theme this year.

DisneySide, party, art party, mouse, mickey, decorations, rainbow, colorful, theme, party, disney parks

With the Art of Disney theme, our DisneySide was easily shown through a pallet of color.


DisneySide Art of Disney Party Decorations

There were Mickeys and more hidden Mickeys everywhere.

With the theme decided, I was able to come up with several ideas  for projects to do during the party. I decided on watercolor (with nail polish) picture frames, design your own cup, freestyle paintings, and to make sure the kids’ clothes stayed clean-ish (thanks to all for cleaning all of the paint off of the towels and shirts that it did get on), a decorate your own art apron–all with a DisneySide spin.

The aprons were a big hit! A friend was nice enough to make some iron-on mouse heads. It was really easy to iron onto the 3 for $5 aprons I got at Hobby Lobby. I have visions of Bubba using his to help me cook in the kitchen. He told me during the prep for the party that he would really like to be a chef at Disney since they took such great care of him and his gluten issues while we were there.

DisneySide; Apron Project; Mickey; Disney; Art Party; Design your own apron

The kids had a blast designing their own Mickey art aprons. They were all so different and colorful!

In the South, if there is a party, there has to be food. Lots and lots of food. Because the party was small, I didn’t have to go too crazy, but from the silence of the guests while eating, I assume that they liked it. Kids can always be a little picky, so as a parent, I always try to have a variety of food that I know most kids will eat.

Disney. DisneySide, food, party food, Mickey, Mickey Mouse, party food, art of disney, art party

You know, since I’m from the South, we had to have tons of food.

As you can imagine, they loved being able to decorate their own cupcakes. I wasn’t able to use the awesome Duff Tie Dye Cake Mix for our party, since my son could not eat those particular goodies, but I’m planning on using it for our pre-Spring Break fun in the Kid’s Irish Dance class. Oh, I have plans for that mix!

DisneySide Art Cupcakes

I’m not sure what they liked more, decorating the cupcakes or eating them!

We moved onto making our frames. This was so much fun, so make sure to check out the tutorial. Of course, you can make these with any sort of decoration, but why wouldn’t we show our DisneySide in everything we do! They turned out so wonderfully, and they were perfect for the HP Photopaper that we got in our box. I’m in the process of sending several DisneySide pictures to each family that will fit perfectly inside the frames.

disneyside frame nail polish marbling watercolor

Aren’t all of these amazing! They were so easy, a little messy, and a ton of fun to make. Make sure to check out our tutorial on how to make them.

Our next artistic ode to Disney was a super simple Dollar Tree DIY cup. Prior to the party, I used the provided interior paper and added a Mickey head sticker. The kids LOVED being able to show their DisneySide on their cups knowing that they would be able to take them home and use them immediately.

DisneySide Cup Project

It’s really important to get Mickey juuuust right.

Our last project was free painting. I showed the kids a few pictures of Disney concept art that illustrated many different styles of art. I explained that, at Disney, creativity drives much of what you see as the finished product in the parks and on the screen. Being creative and thinking outside the box are cornerstone’s of how Disney is run, and it was time for them to get a chance to be as creative as they wanted to be on a real canvas with real paint. They had a blast, and their creations were amazing.

DisneySide Free Paint

It was the first time most of our guests had ever painted on a canvas or canvas board. They had so much fun being creative however they chose.

Our DisneySide bingo and Pin the Smile on Mickey were so much fun. Everyone at the party loved playing those games, and it got seriously competitive. The amazing prizes included in our box made the games even more fun! The nail polish, Mickey card games, and Palace Pets were loved by all of our winners!

Pin the Smile on Mickey

Our DisneySide Pin the Smile on Mickey and Disney Bingo were highly competitive. The prizes included in our boxes were so amazing!

All of our guests went away with an awesome arty gift basket that had the DisneySide Word search, DisneySide Match Up, Disney Parks luggage tag, Disney pencils, Beyond Meat coupon, painting supplies, and some Disney soap and a washcloth…because, you gotta clean up after creating amazing pieces of art, right?

DisneySide Favors

All of our guests left with activities, crafts, and a few things to clean up the small messes that are sometimes made when you are as creative as they are.

Thank you to all of the amazing sponsors and facilitators:

Disney Parks
Duff’s Cake MixHP Create Memories You’ll Keep
(got all of that paint out of our clothes perfectly!)
Beyond Meat

A special thanks to my friend Nathan McFarland for helping me take pictures throughout the event. Thanks to all of our guests, MomSelect, and Disney Parks. It wouldn’t have been as much fun without you! We all had the most amazing time showing off our DisneySide!

Disney sent some of the products you see for us to throw a party, mmm-kay. The opinions and fun had with my kids are all my own.




DisneySide Cheer Cards

It’s Party Time-#DisneySide Party Part 2

If you noticed in my first post about our #DisneySide party, I left a few things out. As you saw in my reveal post, Disney sent us all kinds of goodies for a Mickey themed party for a DisneySide Celebration. They also sent us runDisney cheer cards. Once I sorted out all of the surprises in our box, it took me several days to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with everything.

I definitely wanted to have a party with our close friends and family, but there had to be more. I felt the need to “pay it forward” somehow. Disney “pays it forward” in their own communities and around the world everyday. I knew that “paying it forward” was one of the best ways to really pay tribute to my DisneySide. Then it came to me! I would send party supplies, treats, and boredom busters to the High Risk Perinatal (HRP) Unit at Northside Hospital for the patients and nurses to enjoy!

You see, for 109 days (and no, that’s not a typo), I was a patient up in the HRP ward while pregnant with the twins, Bubba and Sissy. I was admitted on September 29, 2008, and laid in a bed until January 12, 2009 when I was whisked down the hallway on the way to the OR to deliver the twins. I’ll tell the whole story in another post, but as you can imagine, it was a significant event in mine and my family’s life. I’ve written recommendations, thank you’s, and cards, but it’s taken this long to gain the confidence to go back up to the hospital to say thank you in person. I was going to use my DisneySide and all of my Disney goodies to say thank you to the nurses and staff, and give a little encouragement to the patients in HRP.

Before my party even started, several of my friends and family asked if they could help with the party or bring something to assist with preparation. After thinking about it, I had an idea. Boredom Busters! When I was a patient in the hospital, the nurses always reminded me they had a bin full of Boredom Busters up at the nurses station if I needed something to pass the time. They had crafts, coloring books, movies, books, etc. I took advantage a few times, but my husband was very good about bringing me things to keep me busy. They also had a bin that had goodies for kids visiting their moms. It had crayons, coloring books, stickers, and games. I remember the Kid taking full advantage of this on a few of those days where a 3 year old just didn’t want to be confined to a hospital room visiting her mother. Honestly, I completely understood; I didn’t want to be up there any more than she did. So, I let my guests know if they wanted to contribute any small toys or games, that would be the biggest help they could give. By the end of our party, we had an entire bag of Boredom Busters to take to the hospital!

DisneySide Boredom Busters

Check out all of the amazing goodies that our friends and family contributed to our Boredom Buster bag!

If you’ve ever been to a hospital, have you ever noticed that the person laying in the bed faces a bulletin board and a clock? Seriously, a clock? I’m convinced that whomever designed those room layouts never realized the torture of laying in a bed literally watching the seconds tick by. After the first few days, my husband and I realized that we needed to put something on the bulletin board below the clock to keep my eyes occupied on something besides the clock. I remembered this feeling, and I realized exactly what we needed to do with the runDisney cheer cards. We needed to cheer up and cheer for the patients in HRP!

DisneySide Cheer Cards

Check out the amazing Cheer Cards our guests made for the ladies on the HRP ward at Northside Hospital. Many of our guests walked through that journey with our family, and it was a blessing to have them help us out with our DisneySide project.

We decided to take some crispy rice treats and the party supplies to the nurses. We also decided to treat them to dinner with a TwoSmiles gift card. This was actually one of my favorite elements of our surprise since it was so easy! I got to print out a card/gift certificate combo right from my printer with the photo paper that HP provided.

DisneySide Surprise Bag

We loaded up our gift card, treats, party supplies, Boredom Busters, and Cheer Cards and headed to the hospital!

When we arrived at the hospital, I had to steady my nerves. Spending almost 4 months in a hospital room will make you never want to voluntarily enter a hospital again. This time, it was a happy occasion. All of my children were with me, and they were excited to donate some happiness to the patients and nurses.

Kids at HRP

Here are the kids just outside the HRP ward. The little ones, Bubba and Sissy, wouldn’t be here with us if it wasn’t for the amazing nurses, doctors, and staff that flow up and down that hallway everyday. I owe them a lot!

Out of the privacy and respect of the nurses and patients, we didn’t take pictures after this point. We were able to speak with the manager of the HRP Unit and the Patient Relations Liaison. They were incredibly kind and interested in our donation. We let them know about the DisneySide campaign by Disney, and they loved the Cheer Cards and lithographs. We were able to talk about some of my old nurses, some of whom are still there. The nurse that is responsible for getting me into an OR in order to have the twins safely just retired in December. The manager of the ward speaks to her often, and assured me she would relate my gratitude to her. When they asked me how long I stayed in HRP, I let them know. They said that I probably held a record for a while, but last year a mom was up there for over 120 days. To that mom, I salute you!

Thank you to Disney, runDisney, and all of our guests at our DisneySide party for the help in “paying it forward”. Today was a good day. If you are interested in showing your DisneySide or throwing your own DisneySide Celebration, you can! Check out the DisneySide Celebration website for ideas, recipes, themes, and more.

Disney sent some of the products you see for us to throw a party, mmm-kay. The opinions and fun had with my kids are all my own.


DisneySide party decor

It’s Party Time! #DisneySide Party -Part 1

After showing y’all all of my goodies that Disney sent us to host our very own #DisneySide @ Home Celebration, I am super excited to show you the details of our party!

A few weeks ago, I decided we would invite several family members and friends, who are like family, over for a little Mickey get together.

DisneySide Invitations

This was our guests’ first hint at what was in store for them!

I had a bit of a hard time figuring out exactly what we were going to do for our party to really show off our DisneySide. I hadn’t thrown a big par-tay at our house in about three years, and I wanted to make sure all of our guests would have a great time. Because we had such a range in ages, I wanted to make sure Mickey was well represented, but I also wanted to ensure that our teenagers felt cool enough to enjoy the day. Needless to say, I also wanted it to be EASY!

First, I checked out to see what sorts of Mickey ideas they had for me. Bubba loves the new Mickey Mouse classic type cartoons, so I definitely wanted to have that kind of feel. Then, I decided to go to the fabric store to see if there was anything that inspired me, and Voila! there it was. A red felt Mickey fabric next to rolls of cheap burlap and different black and white fabrics. I was in heaven. Did I mention I like lots of pattern? I got a few yards of fabric, and the rest took care of itself.

DisneySide party decor

A little glimpse into our party. A Mickey wreath to greet you at the door and hidden and not-so-hidden Mickeys everywhere.

Once everyone arrived, we got right down to the food! It’s my favorite part! I think my favorites were the super easy Mickey cupcakes. My DisneySide likes cute cupcakes!

DisneySide Food

Come on. You know you wanted to see the food. Right? Check out our Mickey Mix. It has Craisins (provided by Ocean Spray), Mickey popcorn, and chocolate covered Mickey pretzels. Yummy!

After everyone was sufficiently full, it was onto the games!

At our parties, we always have a large jar of candy of varying shapes and sizes. Anyone can take a guess at how many pieces of candy are in the jar. I always use different shapes and sizes of candy, and occasionally, just to be super sneaky, I tie several candy bars together and hide them in the middle. Everyone writes down their guess, and you can’t change your answer once it’s written down. We always announce the winner, the person closest to the actual number, at the very end of the party. Let’s just say it can get very mathematical around our house as our guests try to estimate close enough to be able to take home the candy. Who knew math could be so tasty?!?

DisneySide candy jar

The jar of candy requirement. Trust me. Guests of all ages LOVE this game. If they win, they keep the candy.

We also had everyone try to draw Mickey’s head. I had no idea that adults and kids would all get so competitive over sketching little ole’ Mickey. It was vicious, y’all!

DisneySide Game

Who knew that drawing Mickey would bring out such competitiveness? See those serious faces?

We also played the #DisneySide trivia that was sent in our box, and I took a few of the song questions out of our Disney Beat the Parents board game to play Disney movie song trivia. We all had so much fun, and everyone loved their prizes. All of the winners’ names were placed in a hat to win our grand prize, a Night at Home at the Movies! I got a popcorn container and filled it with candy and a box of popcorn. My amazing friend and Disney travel agent for Joyful Journeys, Lisa Lacey, provided the movie, Enchanted.

DisneySide prize baskets

I think our prize baskets might have encouraged a little too much competitiveness out of some of our guests!

All of the kids had a blast taking snaps in our #DisneySide photo booth. I think the mustaches and hats were the favorite accessories. As you can see the kids ranged in age from 19 months to 18 years old. They are all such wonderful people, and I love it when they can all see each other and hang out at our house.

DisneySide photo booth

Looks like all of the kids had a good time at our #DisneySide photo booth! Thanks to Nathan McFarland for helping out with picture taking duties!

Before everyone left, all of the kids got goodie bags, and each family got a great packet of travel information from Joyful Journeys about Walt Disney World, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Cruise Lines. Those also included one of the HP Photo Packs that HP generously provided that would let the families print out pictures from their next Disney vacation.

DisneySide Gifts

Check out the kids’ gift bags with their goodies! The Dollar Tree and the Dollar Spot at Target really helped out on this.   Lisa Lacey helped us with our family bundles. Great info, and the HP Photo Packs were a perfect add!

So, now you want to throw your own party, but don’t know where to start? Check out the DisneySide and DisneySide Celebrations websites. They show you everything you need to know about all of the ways to show your DisneySide and throw your own par-tay! Have fun, and come back here to show me what your DisneySide looks like!

Thank you to the following sponsors of the #DisneySide @ Home Celebrations and our party:

Disney Parks
CraisinsThe Chew
Ocean Spray Craisins
HP and TwoSmiles
American Tourister
Muppets: Most Wanted
Joyful Journeys

Is there more? You betcha! Wondering what I did with the rest of the stuff that Disney provided for our party? Well, that’s the other half of our celebration. Click here to find out what we have in store for some people who really deserve a party!

Disney sent some of the products you see for us to throw a party, mmm-kay. Joyful Journeys provided the movie Enchanted for a prize basket. The opinions, obvious issues with chevron and burlap, and creativity are all my own.

#DisneySide @Home Celebration–Goodies Part 2

*I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.*

I am finally ready to show you all of the goodies that arrived in my special box the other day. I had an idea what to expect since others had been hinting at all of the goodies, but it was so much fun to look inside my own fabulous #DisneySide box.

Suitcase Craisins Lithos

All of my goodies came in this fab American Tourister (Mickey colors natch) suitcase. With many fun party favors!

See that amazing American Tourister suitcase? That’s what all of the amazing goodies came in. It’s a 20″ Skate Spinner in traditional, old school Mickey Mouse colors–red and black. It’s likely the nicest piece of luggage I’ve had in while, and it will come in extremely handy on trips to Arkansas and Disney later this year.

Inside of the suitcase, are there goodies? Oh, yes, there are copious amounts of #DisneySide magic for everyone. We received those amazing pink Minnie and Mickey lithographs that are in the bottom right picture. We will probably keep one for ourselves to have Minnie and Mickey autographs when we visit the parks in October, but I have big plans for the others though. There are runDisney cheer cards, Craisins, an iPhone 5 cover, and some great measuring cups and recipe cards from The Chew. Many of these will be used for little gifts and prizes during the party.

DisneySide Party Supplies

They thought of everything to throw a fabulous #DisneySide party!

More? There’s more? YES! All sorts of amazing Mickey Mouse party supplies that anyone might need to throw a #DisneySide bash. There are plates, cups, tablecloths, napkins, balloons, decorations, and cupcake liners. One of my favorite things in the goody bag are the Mickey cookie cutters. There are also Muppet calendars, games, a face painting guide, stickers, and a Disney Vacation Guide DVD. The HP Photo Card Packs are probably the favorite party supply, though. I have amazingly fun and wonderful plans for these. I can’t wait to show you what is in store!

*I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.*

DisneySide Celebration

#DisneySide @Home Celebration–Goodies Part 1

DisneySide Celebration

Our #DisneySide @Home Celebration Box

*I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.*

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Freely Educate that was asking for homeschooling parents that might be interested in applying to host a #DisneySide @Home Celebration. Honestly, I can’t remember much after that because I saw Disney and started imagining all of the cool things that I could do. Needless to say, I applied, but never, in a million-trillion years, thinking that I would be selected. You see, I’m not exactly an influencer. An influencer in the social media world is someone who engages lots of people on many different social media channels. Yeah, me, not so much. Maybe in my professional life, but not as just…well, me. Not yet.

Much to my surprise, I received an email about two weeks later letting me know that I was chosen to host one of the parties. What?!?! I had a rush of adrenaline and a little panic. What’s the best way to show our #DisneySide? Would it be Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, or Mickey? Just so many things to think of.

So, I joined the hostess Facebook group, posted and talked with many other anxious and excited hosts, and waited. None of us had any idea what was in the box we were scheduled to get. The boxes came in waves, and the other hosts were so good to not spoil the surprise for others. Finally, our box came! Isn’t it just a bundle of coolness? I’ll let you know what I found inside tomorrow!

*I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.*