Bug Birthday

Happy New Year!  The holidays are especially busy for us at the MamaMamaHoney house since we have a birthday in December before Xmas and one in January after Xmas.  So - all while I should be wrapping Xmas gift, I’m party planning, too.  The Destroyer chose to have a Bug Party this year since he *LOVES* bugs.  At first, I tried to get him to pick another theme because I wasn’t sure what to do with the Bug Theme, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was very doable - and it was!  Here’s the little Birthday Bug himself.  He’s wearing the Bug Hat from the adorable pop-up book Birthday Bugs.

The Birthday Bug

I had originally wanted to do his birthday at Insectropolis, the Bug Museum in Toms River, NJ, but I thought that many people would not come because it was over an hour away.  I remembered the great show we had seen Rizzo’s Reptiles do over the summer, so we decided to go with them, which turned out to be wonderful!  While the kids waited for Mr. Rizzo to set up, they made bug sticker scenes that I purchased from Oriental Trading.  Mr. Rizzo himself did the show and he is quite the character.  Not only did he entertain the children for an hour (and keeping the attention of 3 and 4 year olds for an hour is no joke!), but the adults, too.  He presented the animals to the children, allowed them to touch and explore them and told them facts that were easy for them to understand.  He goofed and joked with the kids and the parents along the way!

The first animal he brought out was a Hissing Cockroach.

Hissing Cockroach

 Next - a scorpion.  The Destroyer, surprisingly, wanted NOTHING to do with the bugs.  He was so hell-bent on a bug party, but seemed freaked out by the bugs.  Thankfully, there were only 2 and he warmed up much more to the other creatures.


 The tiny crab was a HUGE hit!  All the kids loved him.

Mini Crab

 The tomato frog was also cool.  He hopped around with the kids.

Tomato Frog

 As you can see, Mr. Rizzo is a funny guy!

Snake Glasses

 The mini turtles were another big hit.  These reminded me of the mini pets we see on the streets of Chinatown.  I just giggle every time I see the pictures of them.

Mini Turtle

 Next up was the big turtle - a box turtle, if I remember correctly.

The Big Turtle

 Finally, out came the snakes.  CheezWaster was the only volunteer brave enough to stick his hands into the snake bag.

Snake Bag

 Finally, was the GIANT snake.  It took 4 adults to hold this thing and it was STILL heavy!

The Giant Snake

 The kids loved the show and it was very reasonably priced.  Many of the parents commented on how they couldn’t believe how long their children sat quietly and attentively.

I was torn on what to do about a cake.  In the past, we’ve always had decorated bakery cakes and we wind up taking half of a cake home.  So, this year, we went with simple cupcakes.  I made CheezWaster a caterpillar for his candles.  I used the basic picture from Eric Carle’s The Very HungryCaterpillar.  It was simple and quick.  I used colored sugar on top of the icing and twizzlers/m&ms for the facial decorations.  I made all of the other cupcake different shades of green and inserted cupcake pics that I made from the printable rainbow bug party from Paper & Cake.  I also used this printable file to make a banner, a paper chain and bug signs for the party.

Cupcake Caterpillar

 I made bug cookies using Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix, Wilton tube icing and the Wilton Bug Buddies Cookie Cutters.  We also served normal party food such as chips, animal crackers, veggies and fruit.  I purchased spider chip bowls on clearance after Halloween.

Bug Cookies

 We did a Bug Hunt for the kids.  We bought a ton of plastic bugs of all sizes (another great Halloween clearance bargain) and scattered them all over a room.  Each child was given a big plastic cup and could take home whatever they “captured”.

The Bug Hunt

 The favors for the party consisted of mini eye spy bags that the very awesome Greathouse Women made in bug fabrics, Bug Coloring Book sets from Oriental Trading, and a Battle of Nara Battle Bug that I got on an awesome deal from Woot.com.


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Whoppers of the Day

Heard in my car today:

CheezWaster - Turn up the air, I can’t hear. (Apparently it was so hot that it made his ears stop working! LOL!)

The Destroyer - I’m going to cut you like a chicken nugget and put you in the oven. (He has a fine future in the mob, or some fairy tale in the forest! LOL!)

As I’ve said many a time before , I can’t make this stuff up!


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Have a Ball!

At the end of the school year, I wanted to give all of the kids in CheezWaster’s preschool class a little treat.  I put together these little bags that each contained a mini beach ball (still deflated in package-balls and bags came from Oriental Trading).  I made a little beach ball tag that read “Have a Ball this Summer!”.  I included the year in the white center portion and of course my son’s name.

Bag with Mini Beach Ball

 Now, I’ll be honest, making this tag was a project and a half for me.  I don’t have Photo Shop and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t know how to make anything like some of the fabulous printables that are out there on the internet.  So this is the poor man’s version:  I searched in Google Images for Beach Balls and found this PNG.  I saved it into Paint (how 80s, I know!) and added the text.  The real pain in the neck came when I noticed that the little spaces in the letters had white, rather than the colors of the beach ball.  I then had to find that precise, tiny space to click to get the color in.  478 clicks later, I finally got all of the letters colored in.  It worked, it looked nice and it was FREE!  I used a 2 inch circle punch and attached the tags with curling ribbon.

Bags of mini Beach Balls

 These would work great for a pool party or birthday party (I hope you had a ball at my party!) or a back to school party (Have a ball this year at school!).

Beach Ball PNG

Here is the PNG file I used for the Beach Ball.  Save away and go have a ball!

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Spring Fever

Yes - I’m talking about Spring today - not only because I wish it were Spring (it is way too hot here in NJ), but because I was a slacker a few months ago and didn’t post very much.  Life was hectic this spring.  We were in the midst of the nightmare leak that seemed like it would never end, school ended, the leak was finally found and repaired, the work to fix the leak damage began….you know…..life just took over.  It happens.  The house is now painted and looking fabulous and we are just awaiting our new carpeting.  We originally planned to wait until next year for carpet, however, all of the furniture is empty and half of it is already moved.  I certainly don’t want to have to do that all again.  You really have no idea how much crap you have until you have to pack it up and move it! 

So back to Spring…….we did a bunch of random, but totally fun things.

We went to a Touch a Truck event.  This is were companies and public safety organizations bring their vehicles and allow the kids to explore them.  If your child is into vehicles, this is a must do event.  Check your l0cal resources to see if it is done in your area and if not, it could be a great fund raiser for a school or church.

Uh-Oh - The Destroyer is Operating Heavy Machinery!


CheezWaster Takes the Wheel


Talk About a Big Truck!


Thanks to our annual Christmas gift of a Great Wolf gift certificate, we had a blast riding the water slides and playing on the nets.

The Slides at Great Wolf Poconos


Off to a Good Start

Going Down

Biting It One Tree Stump Before the End


At Least Someone Made it to the End

We took the boys on their first trip to New York City.  Thanks to a stellar deal from Groupon, we attended the Wizarding World Comicon Event, which was much smaller and less eventful than the Comicons you see on TV, but nonetheless fun.

Darth Vader is not my son's father

We then headed into Time Square where we (foolishly) took the kids into the massive ToysRUs to ride the ferris wheel.  Kids in a giant toy store = bad idea.  Just saying.  $44.98 later, we went to the M&M store, where I was also taken for everything I had.  $12.99 for a pound of M&Ms?  Really?  I don’t care what colors they are.  They  better talk to me like the ones on TV for that kind of money!

The Blue M&M

See the Grumpy Blue M&M?  He has to do this crappy job since no one is buying M&Ms…..because they are RIDICULOUSLY priced! Do you hear that M&M Mars???

We hit the Newark Museum, which we (sadly) found out wasn’t all that thrilling for young kids.  There were a few highlights for young children like the Planetarium, Nature Section and the Fire Museum, where the kids could dress up like firefighters and play in a real fire truck cockpit (thank goodness for this otherwise I don’t think the whining would have ever stopped!).

Newark Fire Museum

And last but not least, we took the kids on their first fishing trip.  Well, it wasn’t really a trip, per se.  Near my parents’ home in PA, there is a great state park, Frances Slocum State Park.  We took them fishing at one of the lakes in the park with the poles that Uncle Dave, the weekend fisherman, gave them for Xmas. 

Baiting the Hook

The Expert Outdoors Man

Despite major efforts from the husband and The Great Outdoorsman (aka my dad), I was the only one that caught a fish (HA!)….and I did it twice.  Behold - my trophy fish (and I’m not even in the picture). And in case you care - the 2nd trophy fish was also a crappy sunny.

My Trophy Fish

So, now you know some of what we’ve been up to.  Once the carpet is in and I can get my house back to normal, I hope to be a bit more mindful of the site.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.  It is good to have dedicated friends/readers!

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No More Prissy Princess

During the summer, my mom takes the boys to the library for their free events on the days I’m at work - and they have some great ones at our local library (definitely a good freebie place to take advantage of, especially on a ridiculously hot day like today).  For the past few weeks, the boys have been exploring the scientific section focusing on animals.  While I am as interested as the next parent in learning all of the facts about bugs, fish and mammals, these types of books get boring after a while - for both me and the boys.  This week, I suggested my mom go back to the “storybook” section.  Apparently, my boys pick out books like I do - based on the picture on the cover.  CheezWaster picked out a book called “The Princess Knight” because you know, it had a knight on the front cover.  Based solely on the title, I was a bit skeptical when I pulled it out of the library bag last night thinking it was going to be too girly, but it turns out it was an EXCELLENT book that both the boys and I thoroughly enjoyed.  The book, by Cornelia Funk tells of King Wilfred, who teaches his daughter the same knightly skills he has taught his three sons. Mocked by her brothers for being smaller and weaker, Violetta grows more determined to succeed. She creeps out at night to practice her sword fighting and horseback riding. With perseverance, the “nimble and quick” Princess becomes an expert jouster. In honor of her 16th birthday, the king announces a tournament with the victory prize being her hand in marriage. Outraged and appalled, Violetta cries: “You want me to marry some dimwit in a tin suit? Just look at your own knights! They whip their horses and they can’t even write their own names!” Taking matters into her own hands, she disguises herself in armor and poses as “Sir No-Name.” After defeating the other contenders, she reveals her true identity and chooses her prize-independence.  I highly recommend this book for both boys and girls, prissy or not.

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