Carboard DIY Frenzie

We are loving the security Panama offers.
We can take the girls to any public park without fear of getting mugged or killed. I don't wish to give more negative advertisement to my beautiful country, but you simply can't do that in Honduras.
Going to the park after 7 p.m. in Honduras? Unheard of.
Panama City also offers an unparalleled variety of parks with a wide variety of activities and sceneries, but you have to be willing to withstand the heat. This is the reason parks are filled after 5 p.m. and usually even later.
While we were enjoying this new selection and freedom, rainy season put a damp on our park exploration for various weeks.
Apartment living with very confined quarters and two youngsters made this momma get into action.

Here are a few cardboard projects I've embarked since we came here to give the girls more play options. I love that I've been able to use them in our homeschool activities learning names of rooms and their functions, sorting vegetables and fruits, learning vocabulary words of different foods and breads, pretend play, and just plain old fun.

DIY Kitchen
 Isn't it lovely? Oven, sink, and fridge! My sister told me to paint it all, and while I grant that it would look much better if I did, the point was to be economical, both in money and time. 

 I think it looks nice just with the painted accents and bare cardboard. I saved the sticker from some wall decals someone gifted to the girls.

 Emmalee painted the blue burners and the pink knobs, and Kaylee painted the purple burners (well, one and then off to keep playing. Mommy painted the small one.)

 We use a flower as a faucet and pretend the leaves are the handles. I really need to find another bowl for the sink as I would like my Rubbermaid bowl back.

 Front view of the fridge. I made it small so that it would fit in the girls' small bedroom, but I wish I had made it taller. 

 You can see all the cardboard is recycled inside-out boxes. Would you believe me all the kitchen is one TV box? The back of everything is hollow.

 All the tableware, food, drinks, pots and pans came in one single game set for only 15$.

The set even brought the little boxes and play cans.

Just look at the assortment of baked goods.

I always, always wanted to have a play kitchen when I was growing up. I would have been ecstatic to have had this one my girls have. They have a neighbor who they've befriended who is Emmalee's age. She has all sorts of purchased dollhouses and toys, but she went home to ask her mom to make her a kitchen "just like Emmalee's". 

 Dollhouse #1
 Kaylee especially loved this. I just realized the kitchen floor has some water damage. At first all the furniture was glued, but Kaylee changed that pretty quickly and mom finally gave up on re-gluing them.

 I had no idea I could find so many options of wallpaper, floors, and decorations online. While browsing, I discovered the intricate world of miniatures and some things people do I would only dream of doing. I could browse for hours watching dollhouse miniatures. 

 I had planed on having a dining table in this room, but the space was too small and I ended putting it on the attic. Shhh! Don't tell my girls that is not where that goes!

 Kaylee loves putting this bed in the living room and the sofa in this room. Mommy finally gave in and just rearranged it for the pictures.

 How lovely are my faucets made from juice box straws?! The inside of the tub is an inside-out juice box. Kaylee constantly ripped the faucets out until mommy threaten her she wouldn't let her play with the house again if she ripped it one more time. It worked. 

Sorry for the blurry pictures. I had to be quick because Kaylee was standing next to me eager to play. 

Dollhouse #2
This second house I did for myself. I had so much fun looking into the world of dollhouse crafting, I just had to give it another try. I have to say, I have not kicked the bug and will probably be making more of these. This one was based on a floor plan and design I saw on Pinterest. I had so much fun with all the little details. Kaylee absolutely loves it. She wouldn't even let me work on a new room because as soon as she saw me working on the house she was on top of me playing with whatever new thing I had done. She has ripped ever furniture piece apart, but, unlike with her dollhouse, she brings everything to me and asks me to put it back together. She went especially nuts for the crib (you can read why in the previous post). It's funny that she would rather play with her ponies on this house than her dolls. She has two dolls that fit perfectly, but she loves to lay her small ponies on the girls' bunk bed and the tall ponies on the grownups bed, and she reserves the crib for her baby teddy or baby rabbit only. Her favorite thing is to walk the dolls or ponies through the doorways; I don't know why. Emmalee plays with it too, but only when Kaylee lets her. It's pretty much Kaylee's thing. 

 Floor plan view.
 The green grass made with foamy and the felt for fabric is the only thing that is not cardboard. Even the paved walk is cardboard. 

 That patio chair is my favorite furniture piece.

 The whole house is made from a single box from our printer.

 Can you spot the pasta cooking?

 The kitchen was my least favorite room and, after a lot of work, ended up being my favorite. The ketchup and mustard is just rolled construction paper. 

The view from the window in the yard is the only good view of the stove and fridge.

 This room is the exact replica of my childhood room, even if it was the same room of the original Pinterest design. My sister and I had bunk beds in our room with Sakura Card Captors posters.  It's a shame you can't see well the Kero frame on the desk.

 I love the sneak peeks through the doors and windows. That desk chair has been the piece re-glued the most. Kaylee just tries and tries to sit her dolls at that laptop.

 I love that mirror inspired by one from my childhood house that now sits in my in-laws' home. I even weaved that wicker basket from cardboard!
I am glad the crib is double-sided so Kaylee can play to her heart's content without it breaking once.

 Love the wall decor everywhere.
Yes, it opens!

Thank you for watching.
Remember to recycle, re-use, and find ways to be creative and have fun in rainy weather. 


Lilo & Stitch 3rd Birthday for Kaylee

I am once again late with this post, but it has been some crazy months. 
At first I wanted to do an "Under the Sea" theme, with some Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo details, but the girls were really not in love with either movies. I was leaning toward that theme because Kaylee's birthday is in summer and I wanted something with water games. 
The girls were really into Lilo & Stitch and Moana, so we went and made a Hawaiian theme birthday with details of both, though I pretty much ditched Moana halfway through. 

That smile is all the reward I need for celebrating them. I really tried my best on both of the girls' latest birthdays because I felt I needed to make amends to them for the amount of time we lost this last year with all my surgeries and treatment and time spent in bed. This bright sweet three year old was not yet potty trained or weaned from the bottle at the time of these pictures. It breaks my heart to know they suffered for my condition, but the Lord is so graceful in giving me two wonderful, beautiful, and amazing young daughters.

I had never used the props in any of my parties for such a photo shoot. This was all Nory Collins doing and I am so happy she was there to share this time with us.

The day was so hot that I couldn't put all the treats in the table at once. I had to take them out a little by little. At the end, it didn't matter that I couldn't have my full desert table photo because everything looked and tasted wonderful.

Just like the Tangled backdrop, the girls painted this one. You can tell by how wrinkly the paper is, but I think it just added to it.  Tio Tito  helped me make the white line dividing sea and sky at the last minute with whiteout.

This banner had been recycled 4 times. It use to say Welcome Baby for my friend Melissa's baby shower. She gave it to me to re-use on my cousin's vintage Winnie the Pooh baby shower that I have yet to post. I later re-used it for my nanny's baby shower at my house. I was about to throw it away when I realized I had all the letters to spell AYLEE and only needed to make a K. When I counted the left over flags I realized I had enough to write ALOHA. I love recycling and decorations that where easy to do.
 This blue banner was used 3 times as well. It was left blue for my cousin's shower, I added some blue glitter snowflakes for Emmalee's Charlie Brown Christmas birthday, and I added flowers where the snowflakes were for this one.

I was so lazy with the centerpieces this year. I just didn't want to do those hibiscus. They took forever. Can you believe Emmalee cut the hibiscus circles? She cuts so well for a four year old. 

 That Scrum turned out pure perfection. When I finished doing those Moana boats, the girls asked to watch the movie with them, and they looked so adorable playing with them while watching Moana sail.

 One of the things I love to do now that the girls are older is have them chip in. The light streamer was made with Emmalee's help. She even helped to cut the tissue paper and collect the toilet rolls.

 Mommy's laziness showing up again. The pineapple piñata was small and whimsical. It wasn't very well made because it fell of the rope with the first hit.

I know! I know! I messed up the quote. When I realized, I just didn't want to do it again. The girls love it because they painted it, and I was not in the mood to paste the letters again for a second try. That took forever.

This cake was glorious! The taste was amazing. I found an online recipe for a triple lemon cake: lemon cake, lemon curd filling, and lemon cream cheese frosting. Perfect for summer. When the girls saw the cake they gasped in admiration, but then they both asked the same thing: "Where is Lilo?" Guess they are getting more demanding. All the greenery is white chocolate and stitch is made from a rice krispy treat.

How fun are these mini coconut brownie drinks?

I even made them a mini tiki bar.

 Chocobananos is a latino specialty we all love to have in summer time. These were a complete hit.

 These cupcakes were to die for. The cake was filled with strawberry pieces and the buttercream is made with natural strawberry puree giving them that color with no food coloring.

Can I take a break and tell you that those umbrellas were the leftover umbrellas from my own bachelorette party in 2010! Recycle, people, recycle! These where banana pudding cups. They were the only thing in the party I didn't make. I am not into banana deserts, but my mother-in-law makes these incredibly good. Oh soooo good!

 These were chocolate cake simply because my husband and my brothers-in-law were not keen in me making a pineapple flavored cake and chocolate was the easiest option. I do love the way they look though.
It makes me so sad you can't tell in the picture and no one could tell in real life that the gummies in the jello cups are Nemo, Dory, and Frank from Finding Dory. 

 This was my smallest (in guest size) party ever. Six kids in total, so I was able to splurge on those six a little. Like my Disney family Stitch Valentine chocolate boxes?  

 I also had this mini chocolate favor boxes with fun sized chocolates and an under the sea pin

That table spells S-U-M-M-E-R

 Delicious Hawaiian chicken with coleslaw sandwiches

 Barbecue pulled pork sliders

 Kaylee was absolutely in love with her Lilo doll.

What is better than fruit punch for a hot day? 

Nothing better than a fun photo booth!

Here are some pics of the fun we had:
The girls torturing Andresito.

 Tia Sara is the funniest aunt ever.

Fun time at the kids pool. Tio Tito inflated it with his mouth and almost passed out from hyperventilation. How cute is Tia Jenny?


 All the friends a family needs in one picture. Where is Tia Marilyn in this pic? (Just missing Alejandra, Adina, and Denise)

My gorgeous Nory (up) and my gorgeous Heike (down) donning my hand made floral headbands and rocking them.

 Bearded friends of my heart!

 Best friend in the world and her beautiful family that will soon be growing!

 Found Tia Marilyn!

Dad and Tio George loved the water balloon fight. You can see Tia Sara (green dot in the distance) running from them.

Yep, Abuelo Edgardo had to hold the piñata up after it fell off the rope. XD

So much elegance in her summer get up.

 This was Abuela Linda's first time going to Kaylee's birthday party.

I love the kids in this picture like you have no idea.

Dear Kaylee, 
Oh my goodness, little one, you are the best thing that happened to this family. I just love EVERYTHING about you. You have been living in Panama City for almost two months and have been so easy to be with. You adapted right away and are sleeping so well in your own bed and on your room with your sister. You are so independent and love to play pretend. I made a cardboard dollhouse for you, and you can't wait to play with it in the morning, though you constantly rip things apart and bring them to mommy to paste them back. I am still in love with your feet. They are chunky and a little weirdly shaped, but that is why I love them so much. Three years in and I still kiss your feet after your bath and you still love it. I love the sound they make when you run around the house. Emmalee doesn't make that sound because you drag your feet. I swear every time I hear that sound I smile. I had a blast last night hearing you "read" a book. Emmalee got impatient as we couldn't understand half of what you said, but I loved it. I love how your vocabulary has expanded and you have moved to more complex sentences. Tia Lilly is always amazed by how much English you speak and understand. Your dad loves that you love to watch Blaze and the Monster Machines. Toy Story or how you call it "Moody" is still your favorite movie, any of them or any of the shorts; they're all the same to you. You have matured so much in controlling your feelings. I barely ever have to give you discipline. You used to have anger issues but not anymore. You are quick to listen and obey. You left your bottle almost immediately and you were potty trained just as quickly. It took this long because mommy didn't feel up to the challenge, not because you couldn't. You are so amazing at everything you do. Every time you paint a picture you hand it to me and say "here, for your birthday mommy," with a big grin in your face. Your favorite color is still pink. You want everything pink: yogurt, ice cream, juice box, dolls, blankets, shoes, everything. If it is pink, it's for you. You are such a good eater. I do have to fight you some days, and you are a little spoiled from your nanny and sometimes refuse to eat unless fed. It's OK. I don't mind. Your favorite game is to pretend to be Gimena, your nanny, because you like to pretend you have a baby. You come over and say "Hi, I'm Gimena. This is my baby." Playing mommy is still your favorite game. You are always so careful of your toys, especially your dolls. You can play in the biggest park ever, and you will not lose the toy in your hand. I worry you will fall climbing with a toy in your hand, but never once have you fallen. You are very coordinated and dexterous. I love how you pray alone and you ask for everyone on the pictures above and more. You make sure you take your time to thank for your family and friends. You are so loving. You are soft-spoken still with your low register voice, but you have a lovely singing voice that I feel will be more unique because of that register of yours. You love to make up songs, which I think it's advance for your age. Your sister must be an influence in that because she has become a master song-maker. You and your sister have grown in your relationship with one another. Emmalee is still a bit of a bully, but you are a bit of whiner. You love to play one of you is a puppy and the other is the master. Emmalee usually guides the playtime, but you have a pleasing disposition. You do make your preferences known, and won't let your sister step on you. 
Baby girl, may the Lord give me many years to see you grow and give you many more years for mommy to celebrate together. 
I love you my little monkey.
Here's to finally being out of the terrible twos!
love, Mommy.