Tips for throwing the ultimate royal birthday bash and fun 1st birthday gift ideas



It’s hard to believe that Prince William and Princess Kate’s adorable little son, Prince George, is one year old already. It seems like only yesterday his proud parents introduced him to the world outside the hospital where he was born.

Prince George is such a cute baby. He looks a lot like his dad, Prince William.

I can still remember my daughter and son’s first birthdays. For our daughter we rented tents and had an outdoor party. For our son we had a party at his great-grandparent’s house.

Planning for a first birthday party is a lot of fun. Next to a Sweet 16 birthday party the first birthday party is a very special one. It’s just sad that the person of honor (the one year old) won’t remember any of it. That is why it’s very important to take a lot of pictures and videos from the special day.

If you are planning on throwing a first birthday party this summer here are some great DIY ideas from entertaining expert and event planner Jenn Sbranti to help you throw your little prince or princess the perfect first birthday party.

Jenn is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of popular event planning blog, Hostess with the Mostess where she provides hip and creative entertaining ideas to inspire events for all occasions. Jenn has been regularly contributes to many media outlets in addition to authoring her daily blog. Her modern and no-fuss approach to entertaining serves as an attainable resource for party planners everywhere.

Get Inspired and Pick a Theme: The first step in planning a first birthday party? Pick a theme! This will help make planning and decision making so much easier. For example, a “Royal” theme tailored to a first birthday can inspire creative, age-appropriate decorations—like “castle turrets” made from Fisher-Price® Rock-a-Stack toys topped with golden sugar cones and felt flags.

Activities are King!: Keeping the little ones happily entertained is the key to a good time for everyone! For toddlers, designate a large, kid-proofed play area to serve as their “Royal Play Zone” filled with age-appropriate toys such as bouncy balls, Baby’s First Blocks, Corn Poppers, and Rock-a-Stacks. Coordinated craft projects are another great way to continue your Royal theme.

Please Be Seated: Want the littlest guests to actually sit down and eat? Set an inviting table styled especially for them. Start with a kid-friendly table runner lined with colorful toy blocks from Baby’s First Blocks and top each (unbreakable) plate with a pint sized-birthday crown or party hat.

Let’s Eat (and Smash!) Cake: Every party needs a cake, but a first birthday calls for TWO. You’ll need one cake to serve your guests, and a smaller one for your baby to taste…and smash. Create an extra special (and safe) “throne” for the guest of honor to enjoy their smash cake. Add a scalloped felt garland to the back of the high chair seat, and transform the tray with a fringed tissue edge.

First Birthday

These are great ideas!

My cousin’s son had a royalty themed first birthday party. She found a beautiful golden crown for him to wear. I’d love to share a photo of him wearing it but I know she wouldn’t be too keen on me showing her son’s face on my blog.

Finding the perfect first birthday gift is also important. Did you know that little Prince George received a personalized coin? It’s hard to top a gift like that, but from a one year old’s point of view it’s not very practical. One year olds want fun toys they can play with.

Classic toys from Fisher-Price are always a great option.

I LOVE Fisher-Price toys. I grew up playing with Fisher-Price toys, as did my kids. Even in old photos of me as a child you can see all my Fisher-Price toys.


Fisher-Price Roly Poly Bear


Fisher-Price Little People School Bus


The box to the left is Fisher-Price (not sure what toy). There is a Fisher-Price Push Chime toy in the background and I’m playing with a Fisher-Price xylophone.


Fisher-Price Little People Snowmobile and sled attachment.

I still have all my Fisher-Price Little People play sets from when I was a child (including my wooden Little People) and I collect Fisher-Price Little People too (the newer sets – especially the holiday sets).

When my children were little they played with a lot of Fisher-Price toys too.

Fisher-Price makes many wonderful age appropriate toys for boys and girls. Many of their toys would make wonderful gifts for a first birthday – they are the perfect option for your little prince or princess that won’t require funding from the Royal Mint.

Here are a few suggestions.

Fisher Price Popper

FP Popper

Brilliant Basics Corn Popper – I work in a childcare setting and this is by far a popular toy with the little ones. They love how the colorful balls bounce around inside the clear plastic dome like a popcorn maker. The “pop-pop-pop” sound that it makes when it’s being pushed or pulled is a lot of fun and the little ones giggle when they hear it.

FB Stacking Rings

Fisher-Price Stacker Rings

Rock-a-Stack – This is a wonderful toy for eye/hand coordination. Each colorful ring has it’s own place on the stacker. A child will have to learn which one goes on first, second, third and so forth. The only way to make them all fit is to put them on in the correct order. Babies enjoy holding the soft plastic rings, chewing on them and shaking them. The top ring has three colorful balls that turns it into a rattle which is also a lot of fun for little ones to shake.

Fisher Price Blocks

FP Blocks

Baby’s First Blocks – This is another wonderful toy that helps with not only eye/hand coordination but also with shape recognition. Children can pour the colorful plastic blocks out, put the lid back on then sort the blocks based on their shapes and dropping them inside the appropriate hole. This is a great toddler toy! It also has a handle which makes it easy for little ones to tote it around.

Each of these toys are around $10 (depending on the retailer) and will provide a child with hours of fun.

Fisher-Price toys are available at many retail locations. You can also find them online at www.Fisher-Price.com. You can also find the brand on all the social media sites (the links are found on the brand’s home page).

Are you planning on hosting a first birthday party? Or do you have any tips on how to throw a fun first birthday?

Are you a fan of Fisher-Price toys?

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from my readers.



*I received free products in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Attention Hess Toy Truck Fans


Hess Toy Truck 1

Are you or a family member a fan of the yearly Hess Toy Truck that is made available every year around the holidays?

My family are fans of the trucks and get one every year. The tradition started about 19 years ago when my dad purchased a Hess Toy Truck for my infant nephew for Christmas. Every year after that he would purchase the truck for my nephew. When my daughter was born he would purchase the truck for her as well. Over the years my dad ended up buying the trucks for all the grandchildren, even if they were not really into them anymore (Hess Toy Trucks are not overly popular with teenage girls LOL).

Sadly my dad passed away but that doesn’t mean the holiday tradition can’t continue. Each year we continue to buy the trucks. My son has several of them that he’s saved over the years (most are in storage). Others we have donated to daycare facilities and Head Start programs.

The Hess Toy Truck is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this year.

Hess Toy Truck needs your help to get the national recognition it deserves for its milestone year: induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The National Toy Hall of Fame nomination period closes at the end of this month (July 31, 2014).

Families, friends and fans of the Hess Toy Truck are encouraged to submit a short online form telling the Hall of Fame’s nomination committee why they love the Hess Toy Truck. Nominations are also considered based on a list of criteria, which the Hess Toy Truck meets.

  • Icon-status: The toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered
  • Longevity: The toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations
  • Discovery: The toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play
  • Innovation: The toy profoundly changed play or toy design. A toy may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.

Public support has been steady and strong, but they still need YOU help for this last push for nominations before the deadline closes July 31.

To nominate the Hess Toy Truck please visit http://www.toyhalloffame.org/nominate.

You can check out Hess Toy Truck on Facebook and online at HessToyTruck.com.

Hess Toy Truck 2


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this because we enjoy Hess Toy Trucks and think they deserve the honor. 

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Cuddle Bear – Your Child’s Favorite Companion



When you were a young child, did you have a favorite doll or toy that you took with you where ever you went? I did. In fact I had several stuffed animals that I ALWAYS had to take with me. My aunt in Pennsylvania recalls that very well too. I would literally bring a dozen or more stuffed animals with me when I went to spent a few weeks with my PA family for the summer. I eventually narrowed it down to a few, but even that was a lot.

My daughter never really became too attached to things like dolls or plush toys. She did love her Teletubbie dolls. She also had an adorable “Molly” from the series “Big Comfy Couch” that she liked but she never took them out of our home.

Our son on the other hand had a plush black and white cat he called “Bear”. Bear went everywhere with us – literally. He even made  trip to Florida with us.

My biggest fear was our son losing Bear. Had I known he would have been so attached to that plush cat I would have purchased backups just in case. I bought him from Toys R Us but they never reappeared on the shelves. I would look every time I was there in hopes of finding another one just in case.

I also worried that Bear would fall apart in the wash. I had to wash it. Bear got dirty and I worried about what germs he might be carrying since Bear went everywhere with us. Thankfully he handled being washed OK.

I have heard horror stories of children losing their beloved companions. That is why I strongly encourage parents to purchase a spare just in case.

If your little one has not yet attached to anything I might suggest an adorable little companion for them. Its called Cuddle Bear from Elks & Angels.

Plush Bears

Cuddle Bear is available in two sizes – Cuddle Bear and Little Cuddle Bear (great for babies and toddlers).

Cuddle Bears have a silky soft texture that is made out of sheepskin. Sheepskin is easy to clean and naturally resists bacteria, dirt and odor. Knowing how much a child’s favorite companion gets dirty and all the not-so-clean places it goes with your child, knowing that my child is playing and snuggling with something that is naturally resistant to bacteria, dirt and odor is a relief.

The are also non toxic and made from environmentally safe materials.

Aside from the fact that Cuddle Bear and Little Cuddle Bear are cute and snugly, they are also small and portable. You don’t have to worry about them taking up much space. They can also easily slip inside a diaper bag or your pocket book.

The bears have no filling which means you can fold or roll them up for easy storage.

Not only are these cute plush toys they are also nice to sleep with. They can double as a soft place to rest your head.

These adorable bears are from Elks and Angels (ElksandAngels.com). They would make a great gift not only for a child but also for a baby shower. They are intended for newborns up to age 5.

What do you think about these cute little bears? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Lumi Dough – Illuminated Fun for Everyone


Lumi Dough Logo

When my kids were younger I used to like to keep a few activities on hand to keep them amused and occupied on rainy days, days when it’s too hot and humid to be outside, or during winter storms. I jokingly referred to it as the “Box of Fun”. Inside I kept craft supplies, coloring books, crayons and inexpensive toys (like the kind you find at the Dollar stores). I also kept things like Play Doh and Silly Putty in the box from time to time too.

If you have such a box for your child (or grandchild) I have a fun toy that you should consider adding to the box. It’s called Lumi Dough. Lumi Dough is a glow-in-the-dark, moldable dough that can be stretched, bent and shaped into anything a child can imagine. It has a texture more like Silly Putty than Play Doh.

Lumi Dough is a bit different than most “dough-like” toys because it glows in the dark. It’s made from a special luminous antibacterial and non-toxic silicon material. In addition Lumi Dough doesn’t dry out or crack and your child can reuse it and enjoy it over and over again. It’s even waterproof!

I received a set of Lumi Dough to review.

Lumi Dough 1

Lumi Dough comes with five different colors – Clear, Pink, Green, Purple and Blue. If you purchase Lumi Dough from its official website you also get a bonus black dough, play mat, non-stick baking sheet and star shaped cut outs.

The colors are pretty cool. They have a neon look to them.

The black dough doesn’t glow in the dark. It’s more for adding “accents” to your designs like noses and eyes.

The play mat is a laminated piece of cardstock. It’s great for children to create their designs on so that the Lumi Dough doesn’t get all over your furniture or table top.

The star cut outs come in different sizes. You can use regular cookie cutters with Lumi Dough too or other items like plastic knives, rolling pins, scissors and of course your bare hands.

Early childhood education experts agree that tactile play can be a tremendous learning experience for children by stimulating their senses, fostering hand-eye coordination, sparking their imaginations and more. Lumi Dough gives children of all ages a fun and creative way to unleash their creativity, while strengthening vital fine motor skills and enhancing tactile perception. Featuring all of the best attributes of traditional moldable dough, Lumi Dough stretches like rubber and molds like dough.  Because it is reusable, children can shape and remodel over and over again for endless fun, whether it’s day or night.

To be honest I didn’t really think Lumi Dough would glow in the dark that well when I first heard about it. I was thinking it was more like Play Doh. After I opened the package and saw it I knew it would glow. And it does! Here are two examples (a star and a smiley face).

Lumi Dough Collage

Lumi Dough has an adhesiveness to it so that it can stick on to things like the wall, furniture, books, toys and anything else you can think of. There is a possibility it could stain or leave a mark so make note of that before sticking it on to things. We keep the dough on the mat just to be on safe side.

Your child can create stars to hang on the wall that glow at night. They can also make their name out of the dough that will light up with then lights go out. The possibilities are endless.

Here is the official product video that shows you the various ways Lumi Dough can be used and enjoyed.


You can bake Lumi Dough so that whatever is designed holds it’s shape forever. I have not tried that with our dough. If you opt to do that you must use the included banking sheet so that Lumi Dough does not mark up your pan.

You can combine more than one color to create new colors too. Just note that once they are mixed/mashed up they can’t be undone. My kids like to keep the colors separate. They have yet to create anything. They just like to look at the globs of dough glow. LOL.

From a parent’s standpoint I think Lumi Dough is a fun idea. I think many children will enjoy being able to bring their creations to life in the dark. I also think they will enjoy making their names and watching it glow when the lights go out. It’s certainly a cool idea.

Lumi Dough retails for $19.99 and can be purchased by visiting www.LumiDough.com and will be available at major retailers nationwide this spring. Shipping seems a bit high if you ask me ($7.99). If you can find it in a local retail store you can save on shipping.

What do you think of Lumi Dough? Do you think its something your child/grandchild would like to play and create with?

Lumi Dough 2


*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influence in any way. 

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Komaneko: The First Steps – A fun, interactive book for children



Are you familiar with the character know as Domo? If not, ask your child or grandchild. Chances are he/she knows all about Domo. Domo is short for Domo-kun.

Domo-kun (Domokun) is a brown rectangle shaped monster. He has huge teeth and his mouth is stuck in an opened position.

Domo started out as a mascot for a Japanese TV station (NHK’s BS1 and BS2). The Japanese found Domo to be an enjoyable character. Soon there were Domo products everywhere. Domo eventually made his way to the United States. He’s been featured in Target ads and he has short films on Nickelodeon.

Domo doesn’t talk. Domo loves TV and hates apples. He lives with a wise old rabbit.

He sounds pretty quirky – and he is – but he is adorable. As an adult I find him to be cute too. My daughter was the first person to tell me about Domo years ago. She kept asking for a Domo plush for Christmas or her birthday.

Domo Plush

We finally own a Domo plush toy. Unlike other Domo toys ours has a moustache. Moustaches are very “in” these days. I guess Domo felt like he needed to keep up with current trends so now he’s sporting a moustache too. He’s about 6″ tall, soft, cuddly and has flat feet so you can have him stand up anywhere you want him to.

If you follow me on Instagram (SheScribes) you’ve probably seen me post his photo there.

You can find Domo plush toys are available on Amazon. There is an official Domo website, DomoNation.com. You can also find Domo on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

The creator of Domo, Tsuneo Goda, made a short animated film called Komaneko: The First Steps. The short film has been adapted into an ebook that is available for download on iTunes for the iPad. It’s also available on Android devices.

Komaneko First Steps

This ebook has A LOT of features. I’m impressed by all it has to offer.

    • Movie Maker – Create your own animation just like Komaneko
    • Personalize the eBook and record your own story feature
    • Complete 34-page Interactive Book
    • Touch points leading to interactive content and fun games
    • Text is read aloud and highlighted for your child to follow along
    • Multilingual options: English, Mandarin, or Malay are available. More languages coming soon.
    • No in-app purchases

As if all that wasn’t enough the ebook also has several games.

    • Coloring Pages: Coloring pages from the story can be saved into your own scrapbook.
    • Matching Game: Expand your child’s memory with beginner, intermediate, and advance levels!
    • Spot the Difference: Can your child find the images that are out of place? This task will help build your child’s cognitive and observation skills.
    • Mission Button: Where did Wink’s blue button eye go? Help Komaneko find Wink’s missing button eye by using your finger or the tilt feature to direct Komaneko where to go.

The app sells for $3.99 at the iTunes store and on Google Play. It can be downloaded in English, Malay, and Mandarin.

I think you get A LOT with the purchase of this ebook. Most ebooks you just read and that is that. With this ebook your child will be entertained for hours.

First Steps

Here is some additional information about the ebook.

Komaneko: The First Steps, the critically acclaimed animated short film from Tsuneo Goda, creator of Domo, has been adapted in a new eBook that will charm, entertain, and educate kids in a truly innovative way.  The latest installment of the Kideo eTales series of heartwarming, inspiring, and educational stories features the original film with other key features including a Movie Maker tool, interactive content, games and puzzles.

This all-in-one interactive eBook is also intended to use multiple fun approaches to maximize children’s learning. It will allow them to become familiar with 500 English words and more than 600 Chinese characters both verbally and visually through readable text. The Kideo eTales line includes other adaptations of The Three Little Pigs and The Priceless Gift.

The story of Komaneko focuses on a clever and creative cat who is planning to shoot a movie all by herself. Komaneko lives with her grandfather on top of a mountain and her hobbies include making dolls and shooting stop motion films. She is sweet and only makes a cute “nyah” sound when she speaks. Komaneko: The First Step was a finalist at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, the London International Animation Festival, and the 8th Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival. The animation series is made frame by frame, which is how Komaneko got her name — “koma” means “frame” and “neko” means “cat” in Japanese.

If you are interested in learning more about this app you can find it at the iTunes store.

Discovery Kids Planet Earth 3D

Speaking of books I just had the opportunity to read a review a really cool book called Discovery Kids Planet Earth. Its part of their 3D Readers books. This is an actual book, not an ebook. This book even comes with over 50 3D stickers!

This book features interesting facts about our planet including weather, rocks and soil, volcanos and even about the Earth’s core. Each page features beautiful images that jump off the page when you use the 3D glasses that come with the book. The 3D effect brings everything to life making learning fun and enjoyable. Even I learned a few things. :-)

This book is for elementary students, probably around 5-8 years old. Even though this is an educational book the facts presented in it are written in a very easy to understand way.

This book is available on Amazon as well as other retail locations (I saw it on Target.com). On Amazon I found several other Discovery Kids 3D Reader books including the Night Sky, Human Body and Dinosaurs to name a few. Each one comes with a pair of 3D glasses.

For more information about Discovery Kids, including games, activities, quizzes and an online shop, visit Kids.Discovery.com. You can even check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

What do you think about these books? Do they sound interesting to you?

Are you or your child fans of Domo?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from my readers.


*I received free product samples in order to do these reviews. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Sweeten your Summer with the Lemonade Stand Activity Kit from Bizainy



I am not one to post press releases but occasionally some come along that I think would be of interest to my readers.

Toymaker Bizainy has come up with some cool games that not only are fun to play but educational too. They help teach children and ‘tweens about money and running a businesses. I think this is a great idea. If my kids were younger I would love to have these games/kits for my kids.

Nothing says summer like a fresh, ice-cold cup of lemonade bought at the neighborhood child-run lemonade stand.  Giving your children such a cherished memory is easier than ever thanks to the new Lemonade Stand Activity Kit from Bizainy, maker of hands-on fun educational toys to help kids and teens gain business and money management skills to thrive.

Retailing for $29.99 SRP, the easy-to-follow Lemonade Stand Activity Kit includes essentials for your child’s hands-on fun, like “Fresh and Delicious Lemonade” banners, decorate-your-own money box, sales pad, decorate-your-own-price sign and a 20-page book with marketing plan, budget, sales strategies, recipes and more! (Ages 5-105, adult supervision required).  There’s whimsical play and practical experiences to begin a dialogue about business life skills and healthy financial habits.

Bizainy Activity Kits, which also include the Babysitting Start-Up and the Charity Bake Sale, are perfect for gift-giving and family bonding.  Bizainy Activity Kits encourage practical business experience, creativity and fun with critical thinking, quality family time, and opportunities for community interaction – all while building a foundation for entrepreneurship.

Marketing Executive Carolyn Stone Enenstein, founder and CEO of Bizainy™, and mom of two, created the company to empower kids to learn about business and money management using hands-on fun experiences. “My goal with Bizainy is to encourage kids to enjoy ridiculously fun experiences that can help build core life skills all children need to become thriving young adults.”

With Bizainy, kids get ready to make memories, develop savvy business sense and become equipped today with responsible financial habits for life!

Bizainy plans additional Activity Kits for fall 2014.  To purchase Bizainy Activity Kits or for more information, please visit www.bizainy.com.

Don’t these sound like fun?

My daughter has wanted to be a babysitter for years (she never took the first aid classes she was supposed to). I would have picked up the Babysitting Start Up for her in a heartbeat. It sounds like something she really could have used.

What do you think about these games/kits? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I was not compensated for this post. I am posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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