Throw A Sing Party for Kids With A DIY Outdoor Stage

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Last year, the kids were mermaids and sharks. This year, they took center stage at a Sing inspired party. There was a DIY mini stage, good music, DIY candy microphones and characters from Illumination’s Sing. Fun was had by all, including the adults who took to the stage, too.

Once again, Jessica shopped Oriental Trading for most of the party’s decorations and favors. Shop OT for the red fringe curtain, gold stars, microphone trophy, white favor boxes, glow-in-the-dark bouncing eyeballs, Inflatable guitars and star disco ball necklace.

Here’s how you can throw a Sing party for all your future super stars.

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Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Visit Momtastic for the full DIY mini stage tutorial and materials needed. All the details are here, including the stage, Buster Moon and the moon and the DIY speakers. It’s totally affordable, and the fun can last all summer (and next summer, too) in your backyard.

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Step 2: Make the DIY candy microphones. We can’t take credit for this idea. We found it here. Fill the clear tubes with candy, add the top to the tube, and then top it off with the colorful foam microphone covers. This was a huge hit with the kids, and we can foresee a classroom holiday gift with this one. To display the candy microphones, Jessica spray painted a box (from a recent Amazon purchase) red, and cut small holes on top with an X-acto knife. Make sure the holes are not too big, and not too small – they need to be just right (and snug) to hold and secure the microphone tubes. Next, paint or add white letters to the red box. We used a comment in the movie from Buster Moon, the koala. When a contestant was nervous, he said to, “Just…sing.”

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Step 3: Prep the favor boxes. Make tags with characters on it with Microsoft Word and jpg’s of the characters online. We gave the kids bouncing eyeballs in honor of Miss Crawly’s, the chameleon assistant in the movie, bouncing eyeball. Another fun favor was the Star disco ball necklaces, trophies (see below) and toy microphones.

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Step 4: One must have a trophy for a singing competition. Luckily for our guests, they were all winners, or Sing champs. We made custom labels on the Oriental Trading microphone trophies with vinyl and our Silhouette CAMEO electronic cutting machine. We designed the words, Sing Camp, and put the vinyl on each trophy.

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Step 5: Hang the gold stars. Use a white Sharpie oil-based paint marker to write all the guests names on the stars. Hang the stars with string. Jessica used a piece of cardboard, and her Silhouette machine to cut out RISING STAR letters with Astrobrights Paper.

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Step 6: Every singer needs a microphone. We had a karaoke machine, as well as toy microphones with everyone’s name on it.  Use puff paint to add the names. White shopping Target, Jessica found an empty box with holes in it (used to store another toy on the shelf). She added it to her cart for $0, and wrapped it with wrapping paper. Each microphone fit perfectly inside each hole.

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Step 7: Sing and have a good time.

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Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post.

This post contains affiliate links. 

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Sunny Days Call For DIY Trucker Hats

kids-wearing-diy-trucker-hats-with-a-watermelon-orange-and-blue-rainbow-and-black-and-white-mountains

As I painted some super cool DIY trucker hats for my kids for Momtastic, I realized that I have never seen Jenna in a baseball hat. It’s a go-to for Jodi and I, and our mom has more baseball hats than shoes (maybe that’s where we get it). Jenna prefers shoes. Maybe if I make Jenna a DIY trucker hat, she will wear it?!

You can read the tutorial for DIY trucker hats here. No sewing required.

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If you’re not up for making a DIY, shop for some cute one’s below. We picked some out for the whole family.

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*Affiliate links included in this post

Here Comes The Sun: Sunshine Party Just for Kids

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As you know, we’re thrilled about summer. We’re spoiled by the Colorado sunshine. There’s nothing like a sunny, blue-sky Colorado day. We celebrated sunshine with our little darlings, and it was so much fun! Oriental Trading Company helped us make a bright and colorful party – they were the source for all our party goods.

Not only is this party all about the sun, but it helped us introduce the Beatles to our kids. Here Comes the Sun is a classic, so you can bet the kids had “doo, doo, doo, doo” stuck in their heads, just like we did.

All the details from the party are below.

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DIY Felt Banners
Cut the felt into a banner shape. Cut and trace paper (or stencil) letters onto colorful felt. Once all the letters are traced, cut them out. We made banners with the lyrics to the song, Here Comes the Sun. Glue (hot glue worked great) the letters onto the white felt banner. Find tree branches or wood rods to hang them. We used hot glue to roll them on a tree branch. We made DIY Tassels to hang on the bottom of each one from felt. First we cut strips of felt, then cut tiny strips 3/4 way up each piece, and rolled it into a tassel. We used hot glue to keep it rolled tight.

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DIY Sun Decor
A sunshine party is not a sunshine party without, well, the sun. Buy yellow tissue paper fans, open them up, and then glue a circular piece of orange paper in the center. Easy-peasy.

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Sunshine Craft
Our girls love to craft, so the highlight of the party was the sun sand key chains from Oriental Trading. They made colorful sand art that they now proudly carry on their backpacks.

When they weren’t crafting with sand, they were doodling with chalk. The girls drew variations of the sun and its rays, and hopped on each one. They were walking (or hopping) on sunshine.

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Other Details
A fun favor from the party was a sweet new pair of sunny shades.

Popcorn is always a favorite snack for our kids. We served the popped goodness in bright yellow popcorn boxes. We pulled the sun shapes from extra pairs of sunglasses for a fun popcorn box detail.

We absolutely love, love the glass milk bottles. They were perfect containers for the sand, as well as juice for the girls. A straw was taped to each bottle with yellow patterned washi tape.

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Enjoy the summer sun!

Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post.

Learning to Manage My Ulcerative Colitis One Day at a Time

I opened a door into my world of living with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) several weeks ago. Throughout that time, I have been taking VSL#3, a serious probiotic medical food to help manage my UC symptoms. Along with taking this high-potency probiotic daily, I filmed weekly check-in videos. To be honest, taping myself was one of the hardest parts. Despite being an occasional model, it was hard for me to be in front of the camera. As for taking VSL#3 – that was easy! I took the unflavored packets every day for three weeks. I found that I enjoyed it best with a small glass of apple juice every afternoon because it tasted like juice.

As I mentioned, I filmed my journey with VSL#3 using my iPhone and JOBY tripod. I am not a selfie-taker and am a relatively private person, especially online to protect the privacy of my children and me. But I also am very honest and show my mood on my face, so when I am having a bad day, it shows. If I’m experiencing low energy because of my Ulcerative Colitis (UC), motherhood exhaustion, work stress, sickness and a big move (we moved into a new home the week I started taking the probiotic), you will see it in the video. Honesty is the best policy, and for those of you suffering from an autoimmune disease like me, I know you can relate to the ups and down of the disease. I may not look pretty every day, I may not always be a ray of sunshine, but I am just a woman doing the best I can, and trying to live a “normal” life with a cureless disease.

During this process I realized two things about myself.

The first is that my life is crazy. My disease is unpredictable and comes on like a freight train. Keeping up with my family is a full-time job. My business is a creative outlet that I am so passionate about, but it ebbs and flows, and creates a lot of stress and worry.

The second thing I learned is that I cannot control a lot of things, but I can control the way I care for myself. In the management of UC, a high-potency probiotic medical food like VSL#3 may help maintain remission when added to traditional therapies.

So, in addition to taking VSL#3 every day to strengthen my gut health, I need to control my stress levels with daily exercise, prioritize sleep, maintain a strict and healthy diet and avoid the foods that increase my chances of a flare-up. It is so easy to get down on myself, as anyone suffering from an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like me can relate to. When I suffer physically, I also suffer mentally. Whether you are struggling with flare-ups every single day (as I was 15 years ago), or just occasionally (as I am now), suffer from low energy and a weak immune system, or live a high-stress life, one thing is for certain; You have to stay positive. I try to do this every single day. I try to tell myself: I can do it. I can get through the day and smile. And, I can ask for help when I need it (which is also hard for me to do).

My top three goals that I was hoping to get out of this experience in taking the VSL#3 were:

  1. To help manage my UC symptoms. VSL#3 is 10 times more potent than the average probiotic (average CFU =15.5 billion). The average probiotic (according to IRI data 09/12) contains about 4.3 billion CFU. This makes VSL#3 one of the most potent probiotics in the world. Adding this specific combination of probiotic bacteria is beneficial for an unhealthy gut like mine.
  2. To take the time for myself (hard to do as a mom, business owner, and wife) and to reflect on my serious health/digestive issues. If I don’t take care of myself, I might be sick every single day, and then I cannot take care of my family that I love more than anything. When I help me, I help my family. And when I don’t feel guilty about it, it’s even more amazing.
  3. To reach out to a community of other people suffering from UC, IBD, and/or IBS. According to a Harris Poll* conducted on behalf of VSL#3, amongst 607 U.S. adults ages 18+ who have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), UC or ileal pouch; nearly half of them (46%) believe all probiotics are pretty much the same. And, roughly 2 in 5 IBS, UC, ileal pouch sufferers (41%) don’t understand which strain of probiotics is best to help treat their symptoms. I want to help someone, who may relate to me, who has been sick like me, and whose sickness can create a depression and hopelessness like mine has at one point. If I can help raise awareness of probiotic options, and relate to one reader on one of these blog posts, that would mean so much to me.

I accomplished number one and two. As far as number three, you will have to let me know! Email me at hello@jsorelle.com to share your story with me.

While VSL#3 has been helping my body physically, what has surprisingly helped my mind and spirit has been my VSL#3 Journey notebook. I have been taking time to reflect on my physical and mental state every day. How does my body affect my mood? How does it affect my energy? How do my meals affect my body and health state? How have my supplements and probiotics helped me manage my UC symptoms? How do I honestly feel about having to struggle every day with UC and CD?

I used to cry and say to myself, “Why me?” Why do I have to deal with such a serious digestive disease that affects every aspect of my life? Why do I have to have a higher probability of being diagnosed with Colon cancer later in life? Why do I have to live in fear daily of a debilitating flare-up? Why do I have a lower immune system than the rest of my family? Why do I have the weak body?

But now, with life experience, maturity and knowledge, I say to myself, “This is me.” I choose to be positive and not let my disease make me depressed, hopeless or negative. And even when my Endoscopy and Colonoscopy show an ugly and scary stream of ulcers in my digestive track, I am beautiful inside and out. Even when my body is weak and suffers from my digestive ulcers, I am strong. When I ask for help, it does not mean I am weak.

I am grateful for VSL#3 because it has helped add good bacteria in my gut. A more positive gut brings a more positive mind and spirit. I am also thankful that by taking VSL#3, it made me take time for myself to reflect on my own health.

Overall, I do feel better after this journey taking VSL#3 and I recommend it to people suffering from UC. I can’t say I’m less tired or stressed because of the probiotic. I’m a mom and I have a life, so those symptoms may never go away, but if I stay on this path of taking a serious probiotic like VSL#3, exercising, and being strict on my dairy-free and wheat-free diet every single day – I can gradually strengthen my body. I may be able to diminish the occasional flare-ups. I may be able to get better results on my next Upper and Lower GI’s (Endoscopy and Colonoscopy) with less ulcers.

There is no cure to my disease, but there are things that exist like VSL#3 that make life more manageable. I plan to continue to take VSL#3 daily. I am hopeful I feel better little by little, and get stronger day by day. I am hopeful on living my best life – not with UC and CD in the driver’s seat, but with UC and CD in the rear-view mirror.

If you suffer from serious digestive conditions like IBS, UC (like me) or ileal pouch, try VSL#3. VSL#3 is a high-potency medical food and must be used under medical supervision. For more information on VSL#3 please visit www.vsl3.com.

To purchase VSL#3, visit http://vsl3.com/pharmacy-locator/ to find a VSL#3 in local pharmacy near you or order it online at https://shop.vsl3.com/vsl3-c2.aspx.

Don’t’ forget to print out this VSL#3 Patient Savings Card and bring it to your pharmacist, along with a prescription from your healthcare provider, to save up to $80 each month on your purchase of VSL#3 DS and up to $40 a month on VSL#3 unflavored packets. Visit here for more information and talk with your healthcare provider today to take part in the savings program!

For additional giveaways and exclusive offers, join VSL#3 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vsl3probiotic. Be sure to check out their series of videos including helpful info about managing IBS & UC at www.youtube.com/user/VSL3Probiotic.

You can find delicious low-FODMAP, IBS-friendly recipes at http://www.vsl3.com/discover/ibs-friendly-recipes/

Reference 14 Sood et al., Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 11:1202-9 (2009)

*Harris Poll conducted the GI Issues Survey on behalf of VSL#3. The survey was administered online within the United States between April 1 – 7, 2015 among 607 adult’s ages 18+ who have been diagnosed with a digestive or gastrointestinal condition, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis, ileal pouch (“sufferers”).

VSL#3® is a high-potency probiotic medical food that’s clinically proven in the dietary management of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and ileal pouch. To learn more visit www.vsl3.com and LIKE the brand on Facebook.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food for the dietary management of IBS, UC and ileal pouch and must be used under medical supervision. Please speak with your healthcare provider for any specific questions. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.





We Heart Stripes

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Jessica got craftsy with an H&M shirt for Momtastic. It must have been luck (or maybe she’s got style), but she transformed a blue and white striped shirt into a DIY off the shoulder top that’s currently hot and in-style.

http://www.momtastic.com/style/682661-diy-off-the-shoulder-top/

We love stripes of all kinds – pinstripes, seersucker, wide and thin. We’re in love with the classic stripes that scream summer, sophistication and class. If you’re not into DIYs, or don’t want to tackle this one (you can totally do it because it’s no-sew), we get it. We’ve got you covered with some fabulous finds below.