Happy Chinese New Year!

Lunar New Year CA Adventure Pluto

Happy Chinese New Year from our crew and Pluto too ✨❤️  

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We were invited to check out the Lunar New Year celebrations at California Adventure and we had a wonderful time! Wrote a recap of the fun for Disney Family. Check out the size of that macaron that Jack had! I think it’s so cool to have him experience these things because when I was younger, I didn’t see many opportunities to celebrate my heritage. Even though I was born and raised in a diverse suburb of Chicago and we got red envelopes every year, it’s amazing to see how the traditions are being shared in so many creative ways for everyone to enjoy. 

Our visit to the Pumpkin Patch!

Growing up, I always loved Halloween. Most of the excitement was built around getting dressed up in costume, going trick-or-treating, and most importantly, eating ALL the candy. Though our family didn’t have traditions like going to the pumpkin patch or carving pumpkins (can you believe I carved my first pumpkin in my thirties?!), now as a mom, after my birthday on the 5th, it’s full on Halloween mode. JC’s birthday falls on the 26th and he is really into Halloween. Since we moved into our house and had Jack, JC has made it a priority to make the holiday really special for us all.

We just got a few more pumpkins and plan on carving them a few days before Halloween - the hot weather in LA doesn’t bode well for the survival of the carved creations. In years past, I have taken plenty of pictures, but I really wanted to document Jack going to the pumpkin patch in his adorable PAW Patrol Marshall costume this year.

PAW Patrol Marshall + dog costumes

As you may have seen in this blog post, we got a head start on celebrating Halloween this year with the PAW Patrol Pumpkin Push-In Kits. This time, Jack decided to dress up as Marshall from one of his favorite shows, PAW Patrol.  He was all too excited about the fact that his costume (only at Target) talks and says some of Marshall’s favorite phrases like, “I’m fired up!” I also couldn’t resist ordering some costumes for our pups too. Bamboo was content dressing up as Skye while Buster decided to go as Chase. As we got ready, Jack played with his set of PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Plush toys, PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Action Pack Gift Set figurines, and his PAW Patrol Pirate Pups - Pirate Vehicles and set them up to bring them along to the pumpkin patch. Our house has become Adventure Bay!  

He was a little sad that Buster and Bamboo couldn’t join our little outing to our favorite pumpkin patch, Mr. Bones. However, he was excited to bring the PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Plush along. We met up with our friend Harper, who was dressed as Shine from another Nickelodeon favorite, Shimmer and Shine!

Jack smiled when he saw her and said, “Mama, I seen that show before. I like it.” It was so cute watching him make the Marshall costume talk numerous times for Harper. She also gave the Skye PAW Patrol Pirate Pup Plush a super cute hug and kiss as soon as she saw it. Harper is a huge PAW Patrol fan too! There were so many adorable moments at the pumpkin patch. Here are some highlights from our awesome adventure. You can also see it all unfold in the video below and catch the exclusive talking feature in Jack’s new favorite costume!

They had so much fun at the petting zoo and running around in their costumes. Between the excitement the kids enjoyed snacking on PAW Patrol Fruit Snacks - lots of them. You can check out the way Jack and I documented the pre-Halloween fun in under 30 minutes in my traveler’s notebook.

Would love to hear if you have fun Halloween or pumpkin patch traditions in the comments!

You can snag your very own PAW Patrol Halloween costumes with sound, along with PAW Patrol Pirate Pups plush, PAW Patrol Pirate Pups - Pirate Vehicle Set and more only at Target!

PAW Patrol Marshall costume

Some photography by Kate Haus | This post is in collaboration with Nickelodeon, all ideas and opinions are my own. As always, my creative partners and I appreciate the support.

Celebrating Mamas at Aulani for Mahalo Mama Month!

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Last month, we had the pleasure of going to Aulani, the Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii! It was such an honor to be invited to visit this magical place that I had on my bucket list. Though we go to Oahu about twice a year, I had never been to this side of the island. I took Jack (of course) and my mom, as JC had to work. We got to preview a few of the special activities Aulani has planned for Mahalo Mama Month! During the whole month of May, the resort will be celebrating moms to thank them for everything they do. 

Of course, I brought my camera and took plenty of video footage compiled into a 22-minute vlog so you could tag along on our little trip to paradise (and so I could relive it anytime I need a happy dose of aloha)! We stayed in a 1-bedroom villa, and it was bliss. 

Our first morning at Aulani started with a delicious room service breakfast! Their chefs whipped up some Hawaiian-style french toast stuffed with chocolate and strawberries, delivered right to my bedside. I considered eating breakfast in bed as they’d intended, but enjoying it at the table was way easier. What can I say?

We toured the amazing resort and learned so much about the property. In true Disney spirit, there are stories and opportunities for wonder around every corner.  it was spa time. I chose the special Mahalo Mama spa package at Aulani’s Laniwai Spa, which includes a 25 minute massage, 25 minute facial, and a 50 minute organic pedicure. The spa itself was gorgeous and they even had pineapple water! Honestly though, 25 minutes felt like such a tease! I wish the massage and facial had been longer. I could have stayed there for hours, but was excited to feel rejuvenated knowing that my mom and Jack were having plenty of fun without me.

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You know how I feel about arts and crafts, so I was excited to check out the Pau Hana Room. It’s a great place where your kids can make photo frames and other keepsakes to take home. Another amazing place is Aunty's Beach House. Jack was super excited about what we called his "power band" that he wore around his wrist the whole time. It's an amazing kids club that is complimentary. There are plenty of fun activities of all sorts in the 5200 square foot space. It's open for a family hour in the morning, so if your children need it (like Jack did) you can even enjoy it with them. That way, you can help them get acclimated so they’ll be more comfortable if you decide to drop them off later.

One of my favorite things about going to a resort is that they take care of your room for you! I love coming back to a hotel room where everything is back to being perfect. The bed’s made, the bathroom’s clean, and my family and I can just focus on enjoying our trip. It’s so nice!

Aulani hosts a beautiful lei ceremony and while we were there, we found a wonderful surprise - Moana! She took photos with all of the kids.

One of the nights, Jack completely passed out 6:30pm and I was so happy about it! He ended up just sleeping in my bed with me later that night. Isn’t it amazing how someone so little can take up the whole bed?

We also got to check out one of the three bedroom villas you can stay in and it had an amazing view. This option would be wonderful for multiple families traveling together. I envision taking a trip with JC's siblings and kids and we can all stay in one of these! While we were there, Jack learned how to make a lei! During every Sunday in May, the Aulani staff will be teaching kids and moms how to make a Lei Po’o (a head lei) if you’d like to try it out too!

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By the time the end of our trip rolled around, we were sad to leave paradise and our daily shave ice! This place had been amazing for all of us. My mom said she couldn't remember the last time she felt so relaxed! People of all ages can really enjoy Aulani since the resort offers so many options. There really is something for everyone. I just kept seeing so many happy little kids running around and honestly, happy adults too. I think that’s the true key to a really great vacation - if mama is happy, the whole family ends up happy too! 

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This May, Aulani is also offering several special deals as part of Mahalo Mama Month, such as 10% off access to the amazing Rainbow Reef (their private snorkel lagoon) and 15% off family portrait sessions with Disney PhotoPass! We had such a wonderful time on our trip and I know you will too. For more information on Mahalo Mama Month at Aulani, click here. Hope JC is reading this so we can all go back together next May! Have you been? Let me know if you have any insider tips!

Mexico City with ma familia

St. Regis drone shot

The three of us took a trip to Mexico City at the end of last year. It was our second time there and we loved it. The drone captured the shot of us in bed at the St. Regis. We loved staying there for numerous reasons. It's gorgeous, centrally located, and the service is top notch. JC found a good deal in between Christmas and New Years, and it's hard to say no to a good deal at a beautiful hotel like this one. I would say my favorite part was our butler Antonio, but really it was just spending time exploring the city and hanging out with my favorite big and (not so) little guy. Room service breakfast nearly every morning was pretty amazing too.

Had to share this gem - top photo from May 2015, bottom photo from December 2016

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Since vlogging is one of my new favorite things, here is the video of the trip, on my YouTube channel which now has 40,000 subscribers - WHAT?! THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Jack's 3rd Birthday Party + Cheeky DIY

Firetruck themed birthday party

A couple months ago when I asked Jack what he wanted his birthday cake to be, he enthusiastically exclaimed, "FIRE TRUCK!" Since he seemed pretty set on the idea, I started keeping it in the back of my mind as a loose theme for his birthday party. My cousin makes his cake every year, so she had plenty of time to prepare and figure out the details to make his wish come true. I got the invitations designed and ordered about three weeks out, but it wasn't enough time to have them printed and mailed. Plus, let's be honest, I didn't have enough time to hand address every one of them like I wanted to. We got custom invites made by A Pretty Little Party (she also designed the ones for Jack's first birthday party) and sent them through Paperless Post. We collaborated with our friends at Cheeky and made a simple DIY out of their awesome plates, which you can see how to make near the end of this post. There's also a giveaway and chance to win your own party pack!

Our set up was fairly simple, we borrowed an awesome ride on firetruck and banner from Rachel since she threw two firetruck themed birthday parties for Grayson. We put one of Jack's firetrucks on the napkins because it was super windy that day and we didn't want them to blow away. JC roasted a pig and my mom made awesome potstickers, fried rice, crab rangoon, and egg rolls. I didn't get a photo of the spread of the food, but I did get it on video, which will hopefully be edited in the next month or so. Love that it's truly a family affair when it comes to putting these parties together. We used the same buckets for utensils as last year and you can check out his 2nd birthday video on YouTube.

The celebration was lots of fun. We booked Pump and Splash, which was super fun for the kids and even some adults. Since we are in a drought and on a water restriction, our grass is completely dead. One of the awesome things about Pump and Splash is that it recirculates the water. It was the perfect addition to go along with our theme. We also had The Beat Buds perform, which was super fun and entertaining. I first saw them when I scrapbooked Willow's (Pink's daughter's) 2nd birthday party. Since then we have seen them at tons of events and Jack is in love with both of their CD's. The kids were so engaged, playing the musical instruments and dancing along.

Last but not least, the cake! The cake Cindy made was a HUGE hit. Not only did it look amazing, but it tasted so good. And Jack for the first time blew out his candles on his own!

We used Cheeky plates, utensils and napkins, which are available in the party department, exclusively at Target. Here's the simple DIY you can create with just a few items.

Thanks for checking out some of the fun from Jack's party - wish you all could have been there! We had over 80 people, and I can't wait to get the video edited to share more of the fun. And extra special thanks to Cheeky for collaborating with me. Love working with awesome people at amazing companies making a positive impact. The best part is for every Cheeky pack you purchase, they give a meal through their partnership with Feeding America. Cheeky has now helped generate over 9 million meals since launching in November 2014! We also have some pieces from their modern and whimsical Cheeky Home collection we love using on a daily basis. I also shared some tips and my party playlist over on the Party Series on their blog.

GIVEAWAY:

  • Cheeky Party prize pack of our fall assortment:
    • Cheeky Party beverage napkins
    • Cheeky Party lunch napkins
    • Cheeky Party 7" snack plates
    • Cheeky Party 9" lunch plates
    • Cheeky Party cutlery
    • Cheeky Party table covers
  • Cheeky will also donate a meal for every person who enters on 9/22!

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED - Congrats Thelma! You are the winner! TO ENTER: Leave a comment below with anything party related! Comments closed on September 26 at noon Pacific. Thanks to all who entered!