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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

San Diego: Touch A Truck 2016

san diego, touch a truck, cancer fundraiser,  san diego local

There is an event coming up that my truck loving kid is going to lose his mind over: Touch A Truck. Touch A Truck is a fundraiser for kids cancer put on by the Max's Ring of Fire Foundation. I've never been to this event before but we are definitely planning on taking Parker this year.


If he gets this excited over a dirty excavator parked in front of our neighbors house he is going to be over the moon when he sees all the constructions vehicles, emergency vehicles, military vehicles and cars that will be at Touch A Truck. We hope to see you there!

Event info
May 22, 2016 
10AM - 2PM 
Canyon Crest Academy

$30 General Admission - Child (1 year and up) 
$10 General Admission - Adult 
Free for kids under 12 months 
You can also fund raise for free admission!



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Threenager


I want to capture this moment in a post before it passes. Parker is growing and maturing so quickly. Everyday he comes up with a new joke or makes a comment that catches me off guard. His current obsessions are bird watching, picking dandelions, construction trucks and eating rice and noodles. Here are a couple of pictures of him rocking the tee I picked up for him in Brooklyn. He's such a ham! I want to tell him to stop growing up but it's so exciting to watch him become his own little person. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wild Kratts Birthday Party at Nickel City San Diego

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

Over the weekend, eighty (yes 8-0) of our closest friends and family joined us to celebrate Parker's 3rd birthday at Nickel City. Throwing a birthday party is always a challenge since we have such large families but I'm really happy with how everything turned out and Parker had a blast! Keep reading for tips on how to put together a semi-DIY, low(ish) budget Wild Kratts party. A full buying guide is available at the end of this post. 

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

The lighting in the party room made everyone look orange. Here's the best family photo we were able to capture. For some reason Parker felt compelled to touch my face. Special thanks to Phillip at Ink Press for the matching t-shirts. We are that family now. 

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

We took over 3 of the party rooms at Nickel City because of the size of our party. As with all my parties, I created a focal piece that reflected the party theme. It's important to have something that make guests say "Wow!" when they walk in. The birthday banner was bright and colorful and I surrounded it with handmade paper vines. Since we could not attach anything to the walls, I used a photo backdrop frame to hang the decor on. The banner and paper vines provided a lot of bang for my buck. The vines were made with kraft paper and all the leaves were either hand cut or cut with a the Cricut machine using the Create a Critter cartridge. I legit brought a hot glue gun, twine and leaves with me on my business trip and crafted in my hotel room in order to finish all the decor.

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers. Wild Kratts birthday cake.

I was out of town on a business trip the entire week prior to the party so I didn't have anytime to bake a cake. Luckily, there's a great bakery in Bonita called Hans and Harry's! I ordered an undecorated, 2-tier, fondant covered cake for $75 and decorated the cake the match the party theme. The snake, the grass and the Wild Kratts symbol in the front are all made of fondant. The Createrra and Martin are a toy set available on Amazon. The cake was vanilla with strawberry filling as requested by the birthday boy.

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

My sister Tania designed Parker's party invitation as well as all the printables at the party. Hooray for talented siblings! I love this "Born to be Wild" sign with Parker's Wild Kratt avatar.


I baked some chocolate cupcakes (now known as poop cakes) to compliment the vanilla cake. The cupcakes are topped with brown buttercream and these fun little pipe cleaner trees I found at Do It With Icing. By clustering the cupcakes together, I created a mini forest of tiny trees. Thanks Brandon for helping me frost the poop. The kids at the party loved telling me how poop-ular the cupcakes were. Why do kids love poop so much?


Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

Tania created a few tented food signs for the party. We placed an "Herbivores Only" sign by the veggie trays, "Waterhole" sign by the drink station and "Jimmy's Favorite Food" by the pizzas. Just a few small details to tie in the Wild Kratts party theme.


[Thanks for coming early to help decorate Giao & Thuy!]

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers. Arcade birthday party. San Diego birthday party.

Parker and Tania winning tickets in the arcade. He ended up with a whopping 3500 tickets to redeem.

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

The adults had fun too! Thanks Kristen for coming over to bake with me Friday night. You are such a life saver. Together we made blue jello cups to represent the ocean and a mini cupcake forest to represent the trees. If you know the Wild Kratts theme song you know what I'm talking about.


Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

The mini bowling alley is one of Parker's favorite things at Nickel City. He gets so into it!

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

I was able to work with Nickel City to come up with platter pricing for the food. At first they told me I had to order off their regular menu per person and I was like, "Are you kidding me? I have to order for 100 people." So Steve came back with pricing for trays and I was a happy camper. The food is nothing to rave about but Nickel City is an arcade so I didn't expect much. Everything was very kid-friendly. We ended up ordering pizza, tater tots, veggie trays (off the menu), nachos, chips and popcorn.





Parker skipped his afternoon nap on the day of the party and ended up falling asleep while eating pizza. Silly guy. The staff at Nickel City allowed us extra time in the party room to accommodate Parker's nap. 

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

[Cake cutting time!]

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

[Parker is shy and does not like it when we sing happy birthday.]

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.


Tips and resources for throwing an epic Wild Kratts themed birthday party. Perfect birthday party for animal lovers.

Here's how things went down at Nickel City. There was no party before ours so I was able to show up at 11:30 AM to start setting up the party. FYI, helium tanks are not allowed inside Nickel City but you can blow balloons up outside and bring them in. Our party hosts provided me with all the nickels to hand out to the kids (each kid receives $10 worth of nickels). Guests signed in at the entrance so Nickel City can keep track of how many people actually show up. As they arrived, we handed out nickels and everyone had a chance to play games in the arcade. When it was time to eat, an announcement was made over the intercom. After lunch, everyone continued playing in the arcade until it was time to cut the cake. After the cake cutting was done, everyone went back into the arcade again. At the end of the party, we gave each kid (and some adults) a walking animal balloon complete with a little tag of that particular animal's creature powers.

Everyone I worked with at Nickel City was professional and accommodating especially Steve, the owner/manager, and our two party hosts. Thank you!

Custom birthday shirts - Ink Press
Venue - Nickel City
Helium rental - Fun Services
Balloons - Ebay
Wild Kratts banner - PBS Kids Shop
Cake decorating supplies - Do It With Icing

For more Wild Kratts party ideas, check out my board on Pinterest! Leave a comment if you have any questions and I'll be happy to respond. See you on the creature trail!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Parker Turns 3

I've been frequently asking Parker to stop growing up lately. When he says things like, "Actually, this Batman is blue." I think, actually you are a baby so you shouldn't be starting your sentences with actually. Little man has been insisting on brushing his own teeth, doing his own "funky" hair and feeding himself. Today, at 10:36 AM he turns three and I can't wait to have an all-day mommy and Parker date with him. Cheers to my shy guy! I hope you always love robots, construction trucks, animals and superheroes. One day, when "bawwoons" turn into balloons and "toiwets" turn into toilets, I'll be able to look at this blog post to remember how you used to be my baby.

half birthday, birthday


birthday, 1st birthday, birthday party, DIY, balloons, colorful

[One]

birthday, kids birthday, disneyland

[Two]

3rd birthday, birthday party, wild kratts, kids parties, jungle themed party

[Three]

I'll be posting more pictures from the epic Wild Kratts party we had over the weekend soon! 





Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in San Diego 2016

Firecrackers, dragon dancing, special sweets and of course lucky envelopes. I cannot wait! I've been getting the house ready with red and gold Tet decorations. There is a dragon hanging from the walkway leading into the kitchen and a pair of golden monkeys sitting on the mantle in the living room. Between preparations for Parker's birthday party and Lunar New Year I'm feeling very festive!

Below is a list of Lunar New Year celebrations in San Diego (and a couple in Orange County). Happy Year of the Monkey to all my readers! I hope this year brings you good health, love and prosperity. 

[Monkey by Zen Brush spotted on Etsy]


Lunar New Year at Seaworld
Saturday, January 30 - Sunday, February 21
Seaworld San Diego
Admission: Free for those born in the Year of the Monkey (1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1980, 1992 or 2004). Must have valid ID. Only valid February 6-8.
https://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-sandiego/pages/year-of-the-monkey

House of China Year of the Monkey Celebration
Sunday, January 31
Jasmine Seafood Restaurant
4609 Convoy Street A 92111
Admission: $50
http://www.houseofchinasd.com/

San Diego Library Lunar New Year Celebrations
Wednesday, February 3
4S Ranch Library
San Marcos Library
http://www.sdcl.org/signature-series.html

Barnard Community Chinese New Year Celebration
Saturday, February 6
Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy
2445 Fogg Street 92109
Admission: Free. Carnival ride tickets are an additional cost.
https://www.sandiegounified.org/schools/barnard-asian-pacific-language-academy/lunar-new-year-community-celebration

11th Annual San Diego Tet Festival
Friday, February 12 - Sunday, February 14
Mira Mesa Community Park
8575 New Salem Street 92126
Admission: Free. Carnival ride tickets are an additional cost.
http://www.sdtet.com/

34th Annual San Diego Chinese New year Food and Cultural Fair
Saturday, February 13 - Sunday, February 14
Downtown San Diego
Third Avenue and J Street
Admission: Free
http://sdcny.weebly.com/

If you are willing to drive about an hour north, you can find large lunar new year festivals in Orange County.

2016 OC Tet Festival
Friday, February 12 - Sunday, February 14
Mile Square Park
16801 Euclid Street 92708
Admission: Free
http://www.octetfest.org/

Tet Festival
Friday, February 12 - Sunday, February 14
Admission: $5 for 1-day admission. $13 for 3-day admission.
OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive 92626
http://tetfestival.org/

Now that you've read the list, where will you be celebrating the Year of the Monkey?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ring in Lunar New Year with this Musical Chinese Pellet Drum Craft

Lunar New Year is quickly approaching and Parker and I are getting into the spirit by creating DIY pellet drums. Pellet drums are double sided with a pellet connected to each side of the drum. To play the drum, you simply turn the stick between your hands and the pellets swing back and forth, hitting drum head. This musical craft is sure to bring lots of luck and noise to your home!

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.


Materials needed
-2 Paper bowls (Paper plates would also work)
-Acrylic paint of your choice (red and gold/yellow are lucky New Year's colors)
-Paintbrush
-Tape
-Hot glue gun/craft glue
-2 Monkey images
-Wooden dowel or chopctick
-String
-2 Wooden or plastic beads

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

Instructions
1. Paint the exterior side of the bowls and let them dry completely. The drying process will take at least 30 mins depending on how thick you lay on the paint.

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

[This is the messiest part of the project. Parker was very concerned about the paint on his hands.]

2. Cut out the monkey images and glue them to the face of each plate.
3. Tie the beads to strings that are 2/3 the diameter of the bowl in length. If your bowl is 6 inches in diameter, your string will be 4 inches long. Adhere the end of the strings to each side of the bowl.

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

4. Adhere the wooden dowel/chopstick to the inside of one of the plates.

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

5. Attach the 2nd bowl to the first one using a hot glue gun. 
6. We added some fun pom poms to our bowls to give them a little more flair but that is optional. 

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

I had to reinforce Parker's stick with tape because...well because he is a toddler. Enjoy your new pellet drum! Please tag us (@parkerproject) when you post your pellet drum pictures on Instagram. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ideas for an Epic Wild Kratts Birthday Party

We've decided to host Parker's 3rd birthday at a local arcade to cut down on the amount of work we would have to put into party planning. True to form, I have made up for all the time saved from throwing a "simple" birthday party by coming up with ideas that will take up a lot of time. Ha! Can someone please save me from myself?

The theme for this year's party is "Wild Kratts" and we are going to turn the party room into an animal party! Here are some of the ideas that I am planning to incorporate into the party. 


[via Pinterest]

We are opting for a small cutting cake since Parker has never been a real fan of cake. Something simple like the cake above will look great on the dessert table. The plan is the fill the rest of the dessert table with boba drinks, Parker's favorite sweet treat. 

The Official PBS KIDS Shop | Wild Kratts Birthday Adventure Banner:

I love this affordable birthday banner from the PBS Kids Shop. We'll be hanging it from a 10ft frame above the dessert table. 

DIY Jungle Vines (Brown Crepe Paper  Green Construction Paper) -- Can be reused as nursery decoration too!:


I'll be creating some jungle vines for decor. The vines are simple, cost effective and create a big impact. Instead of using brown paper bags like the tutorial in the link above, I bought a large roll of kraft paper. I cut all the leaves using a Cricut machine to save time.

New 10 Foil Helium Animal Balloons Walking Pet Balloons Jungle Safari Zoo Party  #1PaysLess #BirthdayChildPartyChristmasNewYear:

A large shipment of walking animal balloons arrived this week! These fun animal balloons will work as both party favors (everyone will be able to adopt an animal at the end of the party) and decor.
Girly Safari Themed 5th Birthday Party - Kara's Party Ideas - The Place for All Things Party:


I love the idea of using wood stumps for decor but have no idea where I can find said stumps. Help!

I'm not sure what else I will come up with before the party but I hope Parker likes it. I can't believe he is turning 3. If you want to see my full idea board on Pinterest, follow me at https://www.pinterest.com/marychu33/. Stay tuned for pics of the party! 



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