Over the Bridge We Go..

Over the Bridge We Go..

So many emotions run through my heart and my mind on our final Bridging Day at Sunflower Creative Arts, but this is the first of many bridges we will cross I’m sure. Sunflower has meant so many things to us since we first discovered this community.. this family.

For some, Sunflower is a safe haven. A space to go where no matter what else is wrong in the world, it can be made right, right here. On this safe playground ALL feelings are allowed, ALL opinions are respected, ALL people are welcome. When the world’s playground doesn’t seem fair, the lessons we all participate in daily at Seedlings have a way of making it much clearer and easier to understand. There aren’t any distractions, there won’t be any sugar-coating. All feelings are met with loving arms, listening ears, compassion and grace. My the things we can achieve with hope, kindness, and an open heart.

Sunflower Creative Arts

For others, Sunflower means a second chance. A chance at a childhood lost too soon, the remembrance of play for those who’ve forgotten. A safe place to land after the world has chewed you up, and spit you out. When dancing to someone else’s tune hasn’t yet worked for you, and you need to remember your own song. Here is where you go to realize what you’ve been missing, or rather, remember who you are.. Maybe you never knew yourself, but on this playground, it’s impossible to ignore.

Sunflower Creative Arts

For a select few, Sunflower is simple. It’s all you’ve ever known in your home life growing up, and you couldn’t see living any other way. You’ve seen what the world looks like, yet it doesn’t quite make sense since you already know how compassion and community truly work. It’s a way of life that is familiar, and necessary.

Sunflower Creative Arts

Sunflower has meant all of this and much more to me. The lessons we’ve learned here have shaped us as a family, and we will forever be indebted to the kindness that was shown to us. It reminded us how to live, and how to love. Now that we have these roots, it’s time to use our wings. We have the opportunity to spread this message of community, and bring it with us wherever we go. Using the skills we learned on this playground to change the world, one seed at a time.Sunflower Creative Arts

Well done Sunflower, you haven’t just prepared our family for Kindergarten, but prepared us for life. You prepared us to change the way people see the world.

Sunflower Creative Arts

Thank you.

Essentially yours,

Erika


Sunflower Creative Arts is located at 227 N Dixie Blvd in Delray Beach, FL. You can visit their website, or call them at (561) 501-6615.

#DisneyKids Mickey Roadster Racer’s Party

#DisneyKids Mickey Roadster Racer’s Party

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary party supplies in order to plan this party / play date on behalf of #DisneyKids. There are affiliate links in this post, which will support my blog so I can keep providing interesting party content.

We all know it takes a village to raise a child. But it also takes a village to throw a good party. We recently hosted a #DisneyKids Preschool Play Date at Chalk Delray, and there were a ton of fun components that came into play. I was selected by Disney Parks Blog to participate in this opportunity and share it with you all! There was definitely a mixture of themes, with an overall love for all things Disney. As usual the magic is endless… Here’s what we came up with!

Invitations

The boys were treated to find a fun Stormtrooper suitcase from American Tourister with all the fixings to make a fun party / play date. During the hilarious unboxing video, the excitement started to build, so I knew I had to plan this party quickly! HP made that possible with their fun and easy invitation kits. I’ll be giving away one of these sets at the end of this post, so stay tuned! This simple to use print at home option saves on cost and is a great way to really get the kids involved. You can print your very own 5×7 inch rounded corner glossy finish invites that your guests will love right at home! We fell in love with so many designs on Pinterest.

Location

We hosted our party at CHALK Play Cafe and Studio, our favorite indoor play space. There aren’t any screens, but there is tons of fun! The clean and open space is perfect to create the party of your dreams. The grassy play area is perfect for entertaining the littlest of guests while the parents enjoy the open dining area and free wi-fi.

CHALK Delray
photo courtesy of Annett Meyer Photography

I’m so glad we hosted our play date at CHALK, it ended up being the rainiest of days. The free coffee / tea and work station make CHALK my favorite place to take this kids and get some work done at the same time. With the rainy season approaching, we will be spending quite a lot of time here. The affordable memberships and discounts make is a no-brainer! They are open from 9am – 5pm on Mon – Tues, Wednesday from 10am – 7pm, and Thurs – Fri 9am – 7pm (perfect for working moms looking for an evening of fun with the kids). Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for parties only, which are all amazing due to the great eye of owner, Inna, and her creative staff that make every party feel special. She had so many great ideas to personalize the space for our party.

CHALK Delray
Mickey Ears provided by Shindigz.com

Decorations

Disney did a great job setting us up with some fun decorations to help inspire a fun party / play date. The fun cupcake holders, cups, plates, plates, streamers, and favor bags brought the fun Mickey’s Clubhouse feel to the party.

Mickey Roadster Racers
Cupcakes provided by G Cakes Studio

These oversized balloons from Shindigz, were a fun surprise. The kids were all mesmerized when they walked in!

Food

We kept the food simple for this play date with pizza and pasta salad, we added some fun printables to keep with the Disney theme like Pluto’s Pizza and Toodles Noodles. You can find tons of these free printables on Pinterest.

photo courtesy of Essentially Erika

The sweets were the highlight of this party! G Cake Studio really outdid themselves with this incredible Mickey Roadster Racer’s cake. The bottom tier was a tire and lent perfectly to our theme. The inside was a delicious Nutella chocolate cake for my little chocoholics. G Cake Studio also provided us with the most delicious cake pops in chocolate, and a gluten-free option. G Cake Studio can put together any type of dessert needed, including organic, gluten-free, and vegan. The cupcakes were each different with gluten-free options as well. You can follow G Cake Studio on social media to check out all of their fun designs!

G Cake Studio

G Cake Studio
The kids could barely keep their hands off of it!

We even celebrated with a homemade recipe called Pixie Dust Popcorn thanks to Pop Secret! This simple recipe is a Disney original, and a hit with all of the kids!

Simply pop your popcorn, while melting white chocolate chips in a double boiler. Drizzle white chocolate over the popcorn and add your favorite sprinkles. These organic dye-free sprinkles just so happen to pack some extra princess punch!

Crafts

Disney Parks provided us with a few inspiring ideas for some fun crafts and games. We took these fun party hats and turned them into wizard and princess hats with fun stickers and some tulle. This was a hit for all of the kids!

Disney Kids
Special appearance by Cami from AprilGoLightly.com

FunCHALK Delray

We turned the Pandora station to Mickey’s Clubhouse and Hot Diggity Dog Danced our day away! The kids had fun finding all of the hidden Mickey’s possible, and running off all of that sugar on the extensive CHALK play space. There is something for kids of all ages!

CHALK Delray

The photo booth courtesy of Annett Meyer Photography was a hit! The kids (and some adults) had way too much fun posing with our fun Mickey Photo Booth Props.

Mickey Roadster Racer's

Ahem.. Everyone got in on this action. 🙂

Pillow Pets sent us a fun Dory pillow perfect for our fun photo booth, but she didn’t make it into one of these shots. Pillow Pets has jumped on the Disney train and has a great selection of pillows like Dory, Olaf, Mickey, Minnie, Sheriff Callie, and Doc McStuffins. Their newly scented pillows are popular with kids for fun play and parents for a great nap! These make great party favors as well, you can use code PRESCHOOL at checkout online for 25% off your purchase. Stick with me kid, I’ve got you covered. 😉

Favors

Mickey Roadster Racers

The favors are always a fun detail where you can get pretty personal. Disney Parks sent over some fun favor bags and I filled it with a few Disney faves. I found a great deal on bubbles and Disney coloring books at my local Dollar Store, and stuffed them with crayons, and some Mickey tops to keep the kids heads spinning for days. They were going to need a little help with the dreaded Disney Detox!

HP Social Media Snapshots

The real fun was in the favors for parents! That’s right, we didn’t leave out the ‘rents on this one! HP provided our fun social favors for parents with their Social Media Snapshots. Parents will be able to create fun 4×5 inch portraits from the party with re-stickable backing! Making it easy to print fun party memories from any social media albums like Instagram, Facebook, and more! Each pack came with 25 re-stickable sheets of photo paper ready to decorate your life (retails at $9.99).

HP Social Snapshots
These were an easy party favorite!

All in all this was one successful party / play date. The kids had a blast, and the parents got to hang for a bit and take home some swag. Leave it to Disney to insert their endless amounts of magic to an ordinary rainy Sunday afternoon!

Essentially Erika

Essentially yours,

Erika

Take a quick walk through to see our party / play date set up!

Enter below by May 10th to win one HP Party Invitation Set to help plan your next party!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


See below for a full list of links for all of the party details and links:

CHALK Delray:

FB | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


G Cake Studio

FB | Instagram | Pinterest


 Annet Meyer Photography

FB | Instagram | Scheduling


 Shindigz Party Supplies | FB | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

Large Latex Balloons

Black and White Polka Dot Table Cloth

Foldable Mickey Ears Tissue Decorations

Mickey Photo Props

Glass Drink Dispenser

Cupcake Stand

Yellow Tissue Poms


A very special thanks to the following sponsors who made this party possible:

Pillow Pets

HP and My Printly

American Tourister

Softsoap

Pop Secret

 

Celebrate Kids To Parks Day + Buddy Bison!

Celebrate Kids To Parks Day + Buddy Bison!

We spend a lot of time outdoors and make it a priority to visit plenty of local parks. We plan annual camping trips around birthdays, We have dreams of visiting every national state park one day, we’ve already crossed off a few. If you follow my blog then you know I am passionate about getting kids outside and into nature in any capacity. The benefits are incredible, and with it being “Earth Week” and all (because one day just isn’t enough), I thought I’d share the latest in Kids To Parks Day 2017.

 

Each year, the National Park Trust hosts the annual Kids To Parks Day. A day dedicated to getting kids outdoors for some good old-fashioned play. Kids To Parks Day takes place on Saturday, May 20th. Anyone can participate in Kids to Parks Day, which is a national day of park play. National Park Trust (NPT) urges kids across the country to discover science, history, nature and adventure in a neighborhood park right around the corner or just across town. In an effort to get kids playing outside again, I’m listing a few of the ways you can encourage the children in your life to appreciate outdoor play.

 

Create Opportunity

 

One of the best ways to get kids outdoors is to constantly provide the space and opportunity. Keeping their schedule light and free for unstructured play to take place is crucial. While sports are outdoor activities, it’s imperative to have time for creative play without competition. It doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal, some days we just take a walk after dinner around our neighborhood lake, or local trails. You’d be surprised the type of interaction this environment sparks. Many an important conversation have taken place on a simple hiking trail.

 

Essentially Erika

 

Dress Appropriately

 

Don’t expect kids to stay immaculate in their Sunday’s best all the time. Constantly policing stains on a natural hike will the opposite effect and could discourage a child from wanting to engage outdoors. I keep a spare pair of play clothes in case we happen upon some park play fun one afternoon after school. I change it according to the season.

 

Hiking Shoes

 

This year, National Park Trust is delighted to welcome their new Kids to Parks Day sponsor: Northside. Their generous support will provide park grants for some of the winners of our Kids to Parks Day School Contest. This year we all are taking our Northside Shoes for a spin. They are extremely comfortable and perfect for any elements. We all have matching pairs of the hiking sport sandals to keep us comfortable and safe on any terrain.

 

Last year more than 4,000 students from Title 1 schools benefited from the contest. Kids to Parks Day is the signature event of NPT’s popular Buddy Bison® school program, which teaches environmental education and the benefits of outdoor recreation to children in under-served schools across the country. NPT’s goal is to cultivate future park stewards and outdoor enthusiasts. Read more about the Buddy Bison® school program.

Get Kids Involved

 

I find one of the easiest ways to get our kids interested in something is giving them complete control over it. If the boys are being picky with dinnertime, I begin to ask them what they would like to eat certain days of the week. I take them to our garden to pick the vegetables to cook. The more involved they are in the decision-making process, the more interested they become. By letting the kids pick some of our destinations from time to time, they get excited about planned dates to “their pick”.

Only good can come from teaching our kids to appreciate nature and get outside. After all, they are the generation that is going to have to defend it, and discover new ways to sustain it.

You can find out more about Kids To Parks Day and National Park Trust on their website. You can even schedule a park date of your own using NPT’s free resources. Kids to Parks Day 2017 promises to be bigger than ever! Last year, Kids to Parks Day had more than 730,000 participants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. This year, the goal is to have 900,000 people enjoy Kids to Parks Day all across the country. To participate you can do the following:

  • Step 1: Pledge to have a park adventure on Kids to Parks Day and be entered to win one of several prizes
  • Step 2. Find or register an event in your area
  • Step 3. Encourage friends and family to join you
  • Step 4. Share photos and adventures on social media with #kidstoparks and #BuddyBison Keep checking back to www.kidstoparks.org as more information about park events and prizes are updated until the big day!

Keep checking back to www.kidstoparks.org as more information about park events and prizes are updated until the big day.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Kids To Parks Day this year on May 20, 2017.We’ll be sure not to leave Buddy behind!

Buddy the Bison

In order to encourage one of my readers to participate, I am partnering with Northside to give away a free pair of Northside shoes of your choosing. Simply enter the giveaway below for your chance to win between now and May 1st, and #GetOutside.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Essentially yours,

Erika


National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. As people spend more time indoors, and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants to build a greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country’s public lands and parks. NPT’s Buddy Bison® School Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest were selected in 2015 as a National Park Service Centennial Challenge Project. Learn more at: www.parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275.

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