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Tuesday, 1 December 2020

100+ Fun & Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Does the Elf on Shelf visit your home at Christmas time?

Our elf, Elfie Pokie Nokie, has been visiting our home since 2012 and during that time he's found himself in all sorts of crazy, and fun, situations. 

I know that a lot of parents can find the elf a little overwhelming, so today I'm sharing one hundred (yes, one hundred!) fun and easy elf antics. Most of these are easily set up in the evening with just what you'll find around your home. No over the top elf accessories here! 


Saturday, 28 November 2020

Denver Zoo Lights

Things are starting to get a little festive around here!

Last night we rugged up in our Winter woolies and headed to Denver Zoo to check out the annual Zoo Lights display. This was our first time checking out the Zoo Lights here in Denver (we've been in Oakland and San Diego in the past) and the twinkling lights were just as beautiful as I had imagined. 


While this was our first year visiting, it certainly isn't a new event for Denver. In fact, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Zoo Lights! All throughout the exhibition there were many light displays from previous years. You'll see years marked in lights in many of the pictures below.  

Now, with COVID-19 numbers increasing here in Colorado (like much of the country) you may be wondering what steps the zoo has put into place to make the event safe for all visitors. First of all, let me just say that I felt completely safe visiting the zoo. With timed ticketing, mask rules, hand sanitzer stations and social distancing reminders all around, the zoo has done a great job at protecting visitors. The entire zoo is now one way which means that visitors are less likely to come into contact with others. Most indoor areas were closed and there were designated areas for eating and drinking. While it would've been nice to walk around sipping a hot chocolate while taking in the views of the lights I felt much safer knowing that visitors could only remove their masks in particular places. 

Ok, onto the lights!

There were two main types of lights making up the displays. Lights shaped like various animals, and background lights twinkling in trees, bushes and along fences. Together they made for a magical experience. Some of the animal lights were animated to make it look as if they were moving like the elephants squirting water below.  


Tuesday, 24 November 2020

10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Denver

Now that the spooky season is officially over it's to start thinking about the holidays. I'm not usually one to do anything too festive before December, but with all that 2020 has thrown at us, I think we all need a little holiday magic in our lives right now. 

So, today I'm sharing some of the fun holiday events that will be happening around the Denver area. Some of these are events that we've attended in the past, while others will be new for us this year. Some of the holiday events that we've attended in the past will not be happening this year due to covid restrictions, but the events listed below are all going ahead with precautions in place. As with anything, please make sure to check event requirements before attending any of these events. Many require that you book timed tickets in advance, and masks will most likely be required for all attendees over the age of two or three. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

The Pack on Amazon Prime Video

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx on behalf of Amazon Prime Video

Do you love dogs? Do you love adventures? Do you love adventures with dogs? 

If like me, you answered "duh, of course", then I have the show for you!

Coming to Amazon Prime Video this weekend is The Pack; a new unscripted series in which dogs and their humans work together to compete in fun and exciting challenges across the globe. 

Think of your favorite adventure series with competing pairs travelling around the world, but replace one of the pair with a dog. Instant improvement, right? It's all the adventure and excitement but with less drama - and a whole lot more cuteness! Doesn't that sound fun? 


The Pack is hosted by Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn along with her pup Lucy and premieres on November 20th. You can watch it on Amazon Prime Video in more than 240 different countries and territories. The series sees twelve teams of dogs and their humans compete in fun challenges that will test their ability to work together to prove that they share the strongest bond in the pack. I've got to say, they're all pretty amazing. These challenges were designed by a team of accredited veterinarians and certified dog experts who travel with the teams to make sure it's a positive experience for everyone involved. 

Now, you're probably wondering just what the teams are competing for. Knowing that you have the strongest bond in the pack is pretty cool, but you know what's even cooler? Winning $500,000 plus an additional $250,000 for your chosen animal charity! Yep, that's what's at stake on The Pack. Hmm... time to start training our pup Yetta!  

Speaking of Yetta, team work is definitely not her strength just yet and that's something we're working on. We celebrated her first birthday back in October but she's definitely still a puppy when it comes to her behavior. She loves nothing more than to run around and play. Well, maybe stealing food from the kids ranks higher! She may still be a puppy but she has weighed more than Mathilde for quite some time now, so when they play together Yetta definitely has the upper hand. Upper paw? She's always the winner in a game of tug of war with Mathilde! Check out the pics below. Mathilde just managed to let go of Yetta's toy before she got dragged under the trampoline!

This purple toy is Yetta's absolute favorite at the moment and we got it in a goodie box thanks to The Pack. Such a fun box of surprises just for Yetta, because our dogs deserve celebrating too - even if they aren't team players and steal food when we look away! And rip up books. And chew the pull tabs off the back of boots. And bury loaves of bread in the garden. And eat shoe laces. Ok, we still have a LOT of training to do! 


Speaking of celebrating our canine friends, in honor of the release of The Pack, Amazon Prime Video has created a holiday just for dogs. But because dogs deserve more than just one day to be celebrated it's a whole weekend. It's Packed Weekend and it's this weekend, November 20th through 22nd! Head over to https://www.amazon.com/adlp/packedweekend and you'll find all the details including special deals and promotions from dog friendly brands, the Pack Walk Challenge (which has some amazing prizes), local treats on offer, and of course, the series itself. 


I'm so excited to watch The Pack with the kids and Yetta - if we can get her to stay still for more than five minutes, that is! Maybe we'll pick up a few tips from the teams on the show and the next time I share Yetta here she won't be dragging Mathilde around the backyard! A girl can dream, right?

Make sure to check out The Pack on Amazon Prime Video and let me know what you think. Do you think you and your pup have what it takes to compete in challenges like the ones on the show?  

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Halloween 2020

Happy Halloween!

Did you go out trick or treating last night or was it cancelled where you are? 

We dressed up and headed out trick or treating with our neighbors, but there weren't many houses taking part in our neighborhood. The kids didn't seem to mind too much though and had fun running around in their costumes collecting candy - although Ava did have trouble seeing through her mask once it got dark!

There's not an awful lot to show from our evening of trick or treating as it was dark by the time we headed out, but here's a look at the kids' costumes and our porch decorations.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Studio Ghibli Costume Round Up

It's Halloween!

If you're in need of some last minute costume inspiration and you're a fan of Studio Ghibli movies like us, then I have lots of inspiration for you! 

If you've been following along with the blog then you may have seen these popping up over the past week, but today I thought I'd share them all in one spot. Make sure to click the name for each to visit a dedicated post with a DIY and links to everything you'll need. 

Let's take a look...







Spirited Away


Do you have a favorite Studio Ghibli movie? The movies I've featured here are all of our favorites and they get watched on heavy rotation. 

If you make any of these costumes make sure to share in the comments!

Happy Halloween!

Studio Ghibli Costumes: Princess Mononoke

One last Studio Ghibli inspired costume!

This time it's San from Princess Mononoke. San is a young girl who was raised by wolves in a mystical forest and is known as Princess Mononoke. Along with the wolves, other forest animals and forest spirits she fights against the humans who seek to tear down the forest in the name of progress. It's an action packed movie and one that my kids love (like all the other Studio Ghibli movies I've shared recently).


San's costume is a little more time consuming than the other Studio Ghibli inspired costumes that I've shared, and requires more items, but is still pretty easy to make. 

Studio Ghibli Costumes: Kiki's Delivery Service

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you shop through these links but it won't cost you any extra. 

I'm back with another Studio Ghibli inspired post! It's an easy one that you just might be able to make from items already in your closet along with a few simple accessories.

Kiki's Delivery Service is one of our favorite Studio Ghibli movies. It's such a sweet story and the characters are so likeable. I mean, what's not to love about a friendly witch who delivers baked goods on her broom with her adorable black cat in tow? 

Both Lola and Mathilde were keen to dress up for this one, so while Lola dressed as Kiki, Mathilde dressed as Jiji, Kiki's cat!

First let's take a look at Kiki's costume...

Friday, 30 October 2020

Studio Ghibli Costumes: Ponyo

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small amount of money if you shop through these links but it won't cost you any extra.

Ponyo, Ponyo, little fishy in the sea...

My kids love this movie and they love to sing the song. 

Ponyo is my next simple Studio Ghibli inspired costume and it's probably the easiest! 

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Studio Ghibli Costumes: Satsuki & Mei from Totoro

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you purchase through the links, but it won't cost you any extra.

Another Studio Ghibli costume! This time it's Satsuki and Mei from My Neighbor Totoro along with their adorable Soot Sprites. And some more bad photoshop from me! 


Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Studio Ghibli Costumes: Sen from Spirited Away

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you shop through these links, however it will not cost you any extra.

A few days ago I shared a DIY for making Soot Sprites from Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Today I'm back with another Studio Ghibli inspired post, and this time it's an easy last minute costume for Sen, the main character from Spirited Away.

If you're not familiar with the movie Spirited Away, it's about a young girl called Chihiro who gets lost while moving home with her family. She finds herself in a sprawling bathhouse complex in the world of spirits, where she is put to work and given the name Sen. In the boiler room of the bath house she meets Kumaji and the Soot Sprites that help him keep the fires burning. Throughout the movie Sen is helped by various different characters (both human and spirits) to help her save her parents, who were turned into pigs, and return to the human world. It's a great movie and one that my kids will watch to ask over and over. 


For this costume we went with Sen's uniform at the bath house. It's a pretty simple outfit made up of a tunic top, shorts with ribbons tying it all together.  


Sunday, 25 October 2020

Pumpkin Patch 2020

Halloween is less than a week away! Can you believe it? Wasn't it March just yesterday?

Like most people, our pumpkin patch visit looked a little different this year due to Covid. Originally I wasn't even sure if we would make it to a pumpkin patch, but we did and while there wasn't all the fanfare of previous year's visits, I'm so glad we were able to have a little normalcy - even if it wasn't exactly "normal". 

With the fires here in Colorado and the terrible air quality from the smoke, I'd put off visiting a pumpkin patch. I'd also been trying to avoid visiting on a weekend to reduce the number of people we came into contact with, but with snow forecast for today I knew we had to visit a pumpkin patch before the cold froze the pumpkins. 

So Saturday we put on our masks and headed to 7th Generation Farm right here in Louisville. It seems that half of Louisville had the same idea as the place was pretty busy, but with everyone in masks and being outside I felt like we were safe. There was no corn maze, no haunted house, no zombie paintball, no corn pits, no pumpkin blasters, no face painting, no bounce house, no cheesy photo props, but there were pumpkins, and that's what we were there for after all.   


Saturday, 24 October 2020

DIY Studio Ghibli Soot Sprites

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you shop my links I will make a small commission but it won't cost you any more. 

Are you a fan of Studio Ghibli movies? We're big fans over here. We have a box set of Hayao Miyazaki movies and they get played on heavy rotation. 

My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away are two of the kids' favorite Studio Ghibli movies and one thing they have in common (apart from being great stories) is Soot Sprites. These cute little black balls of soot appear in both of these movies and the kids think they're absolutely adorable. 

So, for Halloween, or really any time of year, we decided to make our very own Soot Sprites. They're super easy to create with just a few materials and they look adorable. I'll have some Studio Ghibli inspired costumes on the blog in the next few days, and these little Soot Sprites made the perfect addition to the costumes. Lola and Mathilde are dressed as Satsuke and Mei from Totoro below. 

Now, the Soot Sprites in My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away are slightly different. Totoro's Soot Sprites hide in corners and in the shadows in groups. They scurry away together as if picked up by the wind. They don't have legs, arms or personalities. They're just balls of soot with eyes. In Spirited Away, however, the Soot Sprites have legs and sometimes arms, and they use these to carry coal for Kamaji, the six armed man who runs the boiler room of the bath house. So we made two different types of Soot Sprites, some with legs and some without. They're pretty much the same with just one pipe cleaner for the difference. 


Here's how we made our Studio Ghibli Soot Sprites...

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Lola's 10th Birthday

This past weekend we celebrated Lola's 10th birthday (10 - eek!) with a small birthday party at home.

Now, when I say that it was a small party, I mean small. Slightly bigger than Mathilde's party back in April, but only one person bigger. We celebrated with just our family and the girls' friend who lives next door. 

We did, however, have a special visitor at the start of Lola's party. As a special surprise I organized for Denver based pastry chef and drag queen, Chocolatina the Pie Queen to deliver home made pies and quiches along with a song! Lola knew there was a surprise in store for her birthday, and thanks to a few clues she guessed it may have something to do with a drag queen, but she never guessed just what it would be. It was definitely a surprise when Ava called out "The surprise is here" and Lola ran out the front to see Chocolatina making her way up our drive way to the sounds of "Dancing Queen"! 


After delivering the pies and quiches (which were divine) Chocolatina serenaded Lola with a song for her birthday. Nope, not "Happy Birthday", but rather "Copacabana"! Much better! We then posed for some photos before Chocolatina made her way to her next delivery. 

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