Mami Mondays: The Dino Bash

I know everyone has been asking about it so, here is the recap!  I'm tired! But I'm happy.  The dino bash went off without a hitch (that could be seen).  Let me first say that the frog princess was celebrating her birthday right alongside her cousin. We like to call him the Monkey King.  Their birthdays are just 10 days apart so, why not join them together for twice as much fun! I'm SO glad we decided to go to Amaya Papaya.  This year, the frog princess enjoyed the place more than last.  She was now walking and able to interact with others.  And the decorations?  Well, see for yourself!

I love that when I first talk to Yolonda when setting up parties, she asks: did you have something in mind? She's probably the only person that I will ever say: come up with something. Her ideas are fantastic and she's as enthusiastic about making sure the party goes off without a hitch as I am so, we make a great team!

Now, the snack cups were my highlight. Why you ask?! I MADE THEM.  Well, I put them together.  I purchased the template from the gals over at Pigtails Paper Trails (how cute is that name?).  They customized the cups to match our colors and I even got the iron-on for the front of their shirts!  I got the man (I really need a new nickname for him) to help me cut them out and then proceeded to glue to my hearts content (at the last minute, of course!).

Oh, I just realized that, I lied.  THE highlight of the party preparation was making the tutu.  That's right, people! I made the tutu! I got tulle to match all the colors we were using and voila!  Super simple! Here's the link to the instructions.

Here's the finished couture on the model:

The best part about the party, of course, is how much the kids enjoyed themselves.  They played to their hearts content (actually, they probably would've loved one more hour).  More importantly, as parents, we could just let them run around and not have to worry about china being broken or corners of furniture being run into.  I think all the kids really enjoyed themselves and the parents had fun playing with their kids (though they might not admit to it).

A big surprise to me was the sorrow I felt intermittently throughout the party.  That's because mami was at the party last year.  I can still picture her in this same chair.  I know a few tears were shed yesterday as people reminisced.  I held it together as long as I could and thankfully had my wonderful, perfect line sister come back in after she'd left and hug me which, unfurled the tears as the day ended.  I am thankful and grateful for so much love and care.  People that are able to enjoy these perfectly beautiful moments with us but that are also able to remember, respect and cherish the memory of my mami.

I loved that we could share this special day with the Monkey King.  They have such a special relationship!

And I loved that all of their friends showed up to celebrate their special day.  I also love that it's now over!  Christmas decorations, here I come!

It's My Party and I'll Plan If I Want To

On Monday I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Not only was my Mac back (at least temporarily) but, I received my contract for the 2nd birthday party.  As many of you who follow me on The Twitter know, I started hyperventilating last week after doing a count of the number of kids (and parents and relatives and possibly dogs) coming to this birthday party and realized that, um, they were all going to be under MY roof! Together. At the same time. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about the fun and games of having a house party.  But, after having recently moved my entire home into my dad's, let's just say that there are still a few things out of order.  The thought of little kids possibly getting into the boxes of papers/books/toilet paper was not appealing (I don't know why I just said toilet paper. I don't have boxes of those though I probably should).

One of the lessons I've learned as a mami is that sometimes, you can't do it all and it's okay.  After I stopped breathing into a paper bag, I knew just what to do (just like Kai-Lan).  I texted my friend Yolonda over at Amaya Papaya.  Their motto is "where kids play and parents lounge". I mean what could be better than that? Well, maybe if they offered wine but, I could see how that would be a problem, what with all the kids running around.  But I think that's about the only way this could get better. Oh wait! Maybe a Starbucks. But there is one on the way and it has a drive thru so: SCORE!

I fell in love with the place when I was pregnant.  Terri, at Beautiful Birthings, held her childbirth classes there.  Which was perfect because Yolonda and I had known each other for years as I had a book club for teens at her last place of employment.  Of course, the classes were held after the kids were gone and in the evenings the place seemed quiet and magical.  So, when I was trying to find a place for the first birthday, where do you think I went?

Now, let me say that I had a spreadsheet (you know how I feel about those, don't judge) and after adding up the cost of every little thing I was going to need to get, well, it would've been more expensive for me to host it at home or at other party places.  And add to that the cleaning before and after, the prep work, etc. I threw in the towel, called Yolonda and it was the easiest party I ever planned!

I selected the super duper birthday blowout which meant that all I had to do was show up, play and leave. One of the things I like about this place are the options. This year, because the budget is severely limited (this whole not having a job thing is not at all sexy! People, head over to my services page and help a sistah out!) we are going with the big bold birthday bash. There are other plans as well.  These plans offer the convenience of having a party at this cool place and giving you the option of how much you want to do. Isn't it great? I think so!

We will be bringing our own food and beverages this year. Which is way better than me slaving over a hot stove or running around town trying to pick up platters or project managing deliveries.  I have been to some fantastic house parties, I envy those mamis (you know who you are).  But I have also been to some disasters where things break and people cry (and I don't just mean the kids).

I really adore this place.  Not only for parties but for play. I don't get to it often enough, really.  I am trying to remedy that. They also have some awesome events and classes. I always love to see their FB posts when it's raining because it means that you don't have to stay at home cooped up with the kids while they drive you insane.

When I told Yolonda that I was going to write this post after feeling like she'd saved my life (ya'll, I got the LAST party slot in the entire month of December!) she gave me a BIG surprise by telling me she wanted to do something for my readers. So, here it is:

Tell me about a party disaster you've experienced.  Or a perfectly planned soirée that you had the pleasure of hosting.  Leave your story in the comments by 12/20/12 and be entered to win a Teeny Tiny Play Party (valued at $100)!  The party will be redeemable in the new year (2012) and must be held Monday-Thursday 4:30pm - 6pm.

This is what I Teeny Tiny Play Party includes:
  • *Semi-Private* Party during normal business hours for 1.5 hours
  • Includes up to 6 children/12 adults
  • One party assistants to HELP with set up of your event
  • We do all of the clean up!
  • Birthday banner
  • 1 Free Visit pass to Amaya Papaya for Party Child
  • Amaya Papaya® Invitation post cards for your guest
  • 50% OFF admission Thank You cards for your guests

*Food, beverage, paper/plastic products and decorations are your responsibility

I want to hear your stories but I also want to give you a chance to experience this awesome play place! Come on, it's just us here, you can tell us! ;-)

Now for the blah blah blah:

  • The winner will be selected at random using
  • Although I already had this on my editorial calendar, upon finding out that I'd be writing about this, Yolonda, who is the owner of Amaya Papaya, did offer me a small discount on my party and also offered the giveaway (I was only planning on giving you guys a t-shirt, the party thing was her idea)
  • As you know, if I don't believe in it, I won't tell you about it so, this discount did not sway my opinion on this place.  For more details on my disclosure policy, please visit my disclosure page.