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.




Ridley Pearson Speaking

The Kid Enchants Another Author–Ridley Pearson Signing and Kingdom Keepers

A little more than a week ago, The Kid and I went to the Ridley Pearson signing for the latest Kingdom Keepers novel. The Kid, well, she thinks authors are cool. Actually, in her eight year old world, authors are like rock stars. The Kid’s GEEK is reading. She doesn’t just read; she reads copiously. She devours 700+ page novels in just days. She remembers characters and conversations from books verbatim. She lives in her books. She laughs out loud and cries with her characters. This is her thing, her geek, and because of that, there are an abundance of books in our house.

It was time to reward her for some serious reading she had been doing for the last few months, and when I saw that Ridley Pearson was going to be just up the road at Fox Tale Book Shoppe signing his new Kingdom Keepers book, I knew this was the perfect reward. However, it had been a little while since she read the first 5 Kingdom Keepers books, and we needed to make sure that she was up to date. It was about 10 days from the signing, and I made her a deal. If she could read the first 5 books before the signing, I would buy her the last two books, and we would go to get them signed. That was pretty much all I had to say.

The first book, Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark, was re-read in the first 24 hours (340 pages). The second book, Kingdom Keepers: Disney at Dawn, and third book, Kingdom Keepers: Disney in Shadow, took another 3 days total (900+ pages). The fourth book, Kingdom Keepers: Power Play (449 pages), took a little while longer, about 4 days) since it was a nice weekend outside, and she wanted to play. She finished the fifth book, Kingdom Keepers: Shell Game (560 pages) in the 36 hours just before the signing. That is some serious reading time in just 10 days.

I didn’t know much about the books themselves. I knew about the Kingdom Keepers Quest at the Magic Kingdom for groups of 10+ people at Walt Disney World. I also knew that the books take place inside the parks at Disney World and on one of the Disney Cruise ships. I knew vaguely about villains and the kids that are pitted against them in the books, but that’s about it. The Kid quickly gave me a more in depth overview during lunch, and off we went.

Ridley Pearson Speaking

Ridley Pearson speaking about the final installment of the Kingdom Keepers series at Fox Tale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, GA on April 8, 2014.

As always, the foxes as they call themselves, at Fox Tale put on a great event. Fox Tale Book Shoppe is a great little indie bookseller that features all kinds of authors. This signing was just one of many this month, and it looks like there are plenty more to keep us busy.

There were quite a few people there when we arrived, and it was extremely well organized. Mr. Pearson, after speaking at two schools earlier in the day, arrived right on time and greeted many of the guests by shaking their hands.  Of course, The Kid was able to shake his hand and was completely over the moon. Again, it’s the rock star thing.

Mr. Pearson spoke to the crowd for about 15 minutes about the series, his relationship with Disney, and how several elements of this last book were directly influenced by the fans and their writings. For someone who had been speaking all day, he was extremely kind and gracious. I’ve seen many other authors speak. Sometimes their lack of enthusiasm for their characters peeks through as they continue to talk about the book or series they are trying to promote. His love for writing the series and these particular characters was quite evident. I appreciated this, particularly since all of the kids there loved those books so much.

He was so kind to all of the attendees. Many kids who read are shy, and that was evident at the event. The kids would talk so animatedly to their parents, but would start to get quite nervous as they got the chance to speak to Mr. Pearson. You could tell how he would start to draw them out with questions about their beloved books. By they time each child, and adult, was done speaking with him, they would all want to give him a hug or high five. It was amazing to see how much time he would put into each guest.

Ridley Pearson Kingdom Keepers

As you can see, The Kid was extremely excited. So much so, she decided to draw a picture for Mr. Pearson. Apparently, the picture for Neil Gaiman made an impression on her.

Again, The Kid charmed another author. It’s obviously her true love of reading that shines through, but this time it was almost comical. She always wants to ask authors what it’s like to be a professional writer. They often say the same things. It’s difficult, and it takes a long time to come up with what you end up reading. She always nods her head sagely as they talk about their process. Then, this time she wanted to ask Mr. Pearson if any of his friends are also writers. As he let her know that he’s friends with Rick Riordan, of Percy Jackson fame, and Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl series, she started jumping up and down for joy. She let him know that those were some of her favorite authors, and that she just finished reading several of those books. She was obviously elated to know that her favorite authors sit down together and have those conversations that she has with them in her dreams. Her excitement for writers was contagious, then this happened.

Ridley Pearson Signing

Ridley Pearson said that The Kid’s love of books was contagious, and he wanted to just bottle it up. I don’t know that she has ever laughed so hard.

See. What did I say. The Kid enchants authors with her love of their books. So much so, that Ridley Pearson wanted to try to bottle it up. He physically picked her up and told her that she was just a great kid. If I didn’t have picture evidence, I don’t know that anyone would have believed me. As you can see from the picture, she was in heaven.

So, we got her books signed, got to spend a little time together around books, and she got a hug and another rock star moment from a famous author. Again, this is becoming a habit. I can think of worse ones.

**Thanks again to the foxes at Fox Tale Book Shoppe for letting me use a few of their pictures from the event. It was great ladies, and we thank you!

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 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.*