From Bar Cart to Art Cart


As the parent of a 4 year old sometimes having an art cart makes more sense than having a bar cart. Recently, while trying to organize our art supplies while trying to leave some things out for my daughter to work on her fine motor skills I came to this realization. It’s not that I don’t mind a drink now and then. I get as salty as the next mom. Side note if you like down to earth mom’s with a sense of humor that enjoy a margarita now and then check out I do but it will not be while I entertain guests at one of my glamorous dinner parties. I am far from being as glamorous as Joan Crawford or Bettie Davis in their hey days.IMG_4375

I needed somewhere to put art supplies that would be accessible to my daughter. It had to be an area where I am often near like the kitchen or living room. If you are the parent of an only child you know very well that they always want to be near a parent unless they have a friend over. You can put awesome stuff in their room but unless your in there with them they will just haul it into the kitchen and living room. The Bar Cart was an easy solution. We just use it to display a bunch of fancy stuff we don’t use and it is in the dining area next to a table and in between the kitchen and living room.


It was decided and I loaded the art up with art supplies like water colors, Crayons, Non-Toxic Markers, Construction Paper, Colorful Feathers , Glue Sticks and Air-Dry Clay. I also labeled some items. It is a nice way to sneak in a little literary.


We have had the art cart for about a week and it has already inspired parent led as well as child led art. On the first day I put out cars with crayon glued on the bottom with paper.

IMG_4376My daughter quickly stated her own child led art projects like foam sticker letters on paper, painting her pony, and make a Sofia the first sculpture. I was even able to repurpose a plastic shot glass to hold water from my 40th Birthday party that was more like a small gathering.


Although my home looks less glamorous I think it is worth all of the increased creativity and fine motor use. I am thinking about adding a board game area in the living room to improve our social skills and ability to follow directions. What do you think? How do you make art accessible to your littles.


Hello Kitty and Star Wars Mashup Birthday Party


When my daughter couldn’t decide if she wanted a Hello Kitty or a Star Wars theme for her birthday we decided to have a Hello Kitty and Star Wars mashup party. After last years Ursula from the Little Mermaid party with handmade decorations and extravagant Ursula costumes we made I thought we would make it easy and have a party at Pump it Up! That way we could focus on the cake, my daughters outfit and finding nice HK and Star Wars swag for our guests.


Having a party at Pump it Up was so easy and fun. The children enjoyed jumping and the staff at Pump it Up helped with everything from taking pictures, supervising children, setting up our decorations, providing pizza and helping with opening presents (e.g., handing us the gifts and throwing all the trash away). It was so great we might do it again for her 5th birthday.


When I was little I remember having a doll cake and I liked it so much I still think about it fondly. I decided to make one for my daughter. To make the cake I used PAMPERED CHEF BATTER BOWL , a Barbie with her legs removed, frosting and HK decorations.IMG_4087

To make the cake batter I used the 1234 cake recipe on the back of a Swans Down Cake Flour, 32 oz.  It was tasty and I received complements. It was moist, a little dense and buttery but not overly sweet. After making the batter I poured it into the batter bowl and baked it.


After baking and cooling the cake we flipped it upside down onto a glass plate. We then placed the Barbie with Princess Leia buns in the center of the cake. Then we frosted the cake and the top of the doll to look like a gown. Lastly we added Hello Kitty decorations. We also decorated cupcakes.


To make my daughter’s outfit I sewed Star Wars fabric in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head with a number 4 onto a pink tank top. Then I made a Hello Kitty peplum skirt and sewed it to the top. I also made a T-shirt version for back up.


Most of our Hello Kitty and Star Wars swag came from one of our favorite stores Le Creatif Creation in Costa Mesa. When we bought our party supplies they even gave us some adorable Hello Kitty tiaras. If you love Hello Kitty and Kawaii you have to go to Le Creatif  Creation.

Thanks to Pump it Up, a little DIY mom action, Le Creatif and a fun time with family and friends my daughter’s 4th birthday Hello Kitty and Star Wars mash up party was a success. What mash up themes would you like to try? You could also share your favorite birthday venue.


Activities to do with Young Children in Orange County


For the rest of the Summer I thought it would be fun to write about activities and places to go in Orange County that are great for families and young children. This article will focus on the Adventure Playground in Irvine and a Sign Language class for infants and toddlers in Costa Mesa. Both activities are free or affordable and lots of fun.


Adventure Playground in Irvine is an amazing place for children to explore. It is free and there is volunteer staff to help provide information about the playground. It has traditional features like a large play structure with slides, chain bridges and walls to climb as well as many features you don’t always find at your neighborhood park such as giant manipulatives. The play structure is for ages 5-12. If your child is younger it is a good idea to stay close in case they need a little help. My daughter is 3 and enjoyed going down the slide with my husband and I nearby and walking across the bridge.




We also had fun playing with the giant manipulatives. There were large half cylinder and abstract shaped manipulatives that had holes that you could attach smaller tubes into. There were also giant legos that children used to build towers or larger groups of children working collaboratively to build buildings with 4 walls. There was a large quantity of legos making it possible for several different structures to built at the same time. There were also activities that reminded me of being a child playing outside in nature such as cliffs to climb, mud puddles with toy trucks and water hoses. It is so good to know there is a safe place for my child to explore while supervised that can give her the experience of playing in a big outdoor space similar to the back yards and undeveloped land that was more available to previous generations. Towards the back of the playground there is also a water play area that includes old fashioned water pumps.


There is much more to do at Adventure Playground. We hope to return soon. If you plan on visiting it is located at:

Adventure Playground
1 Beech Tree Lane
Irvine, CA 92612 (link is external)

Phone: 949-724-6818

During the Summer the park hours are 10:00 am to 6:00pm. For more information visit the Adventure Playground website. Also it is a good idea to bring water, sunscreen and a change of clothes for your child(ren).


If you have an infant or toddler between the ages of 2 months to 3 years taking a Sign Language class for infants and toddlers can be a fun and enriching activity. Ms. Layla’s Baby Sign Language class includes everyday signs, thematic signs (e.g., current
holidays or events), music with signs, signed stories and other developmentally appropriate activities to make learning fun for infants and toddlers. Parents or caregivers will also be given the opportunity to ask for instruction in signs that are personalized for their own family’s needs.

The class meets in Costa Mesa on Tuesdays at 5:15 pm. It is located at:

2525 Fairview Rd, Costa Mesa, California 92626.

The first class is free and parents, caregivers and older siblings are also welcome. More articles of activities for families in Orange County and surrounding areas will be coming soon. Make sure to follow us and feel free to share what activities your family enjoys doing together.


Father’s Day Presents Easy and Fun to Make


Father’s day is just around the corner and we thought we would share a fun Father’s day gift idea. The finished product that is both fun and easy, especially for young children, it is a colorful card and golf ball that can be given to a father, grandfather or any person that plays a fatherly role in your child’s life. If golf is not an interest of your loved one, you can use a baseball, football, basketball or you can use the paper to insert into a reusable, photo commuter mug. Be creative you can decorate anything you like.



To get started you will need a box or crate to put paper in, paper, paint container (e.g., Tupperware, plate etc), golf ball and paint.  First line the box with paper. Then fill a container or multiple containers with different colors of paint. We used red, yellow and blue. Next have your child drop the golf ball in the paint. Then they can move the box to roll the ball around.


They can also use their hands or use a paint brush to move the ball around. Give your little one plenty of time to experiment. This project is great because it can be more about the process of making the art than the final product. It creates an abstract design that doesn’t have to look like anything in particular. It will still look fun on a card or golf ball and your child can do most of the work.


After your child’s work of art is finished you can set aside the paper and golf ball to dry. Leave the paint on the golf ball. When it drys it will make a colorful ball decorated by their child or grandchild etc. that dad or grandpa can take to the golf course. when the paper has dried fold a piece of card stock or paper 4 ways to make a square to form the card. Draw a square or other shape on the artwork and have your little one cut it out and glue it on to the card.

golfpaint3Now you have a card and colorful golf ball decorated by your child to give on Father’s day. Have a wonderful Father’s day and be sure to follow our blog for more fun. Our next blog will include free events for young children in the summer.


5 Tips for an Ursula Little Mermaid Party


My daughter’s favorite Disney character is Ursula from The Little Mermaid, so it was no surprise when she asked for an Ursula themed birthday party. It would have been easier to find decorations and outfits if she wanted the theme to focus on Ariel, but she had every confidence that her DIY (Do It Yourself) mom could just make her costume and decorations. In her words, “You can make it, mommy!”. I did make our outfits and some decorations and found a few treasures on Etsy as well. If you love Ursula like my daughter her are 5 tips and tricks to help you throw a villainous Ursula themed party.


Photo Credit: Shoshana Lee Photography

Tip #1 make sure to get a Ursula outfit. If you get it early you can take photos and use one for the invite. I made several outfits for my daughter that are available in my etsy shop tulleandthedragon. The first outfit was an extra fluffy, Ursula from the Little Mermaid inspired purple and black, high low, bustle tutu skirt with gold sequin crown and trident. It is available in size 2t to child size 12 or up to plus adult sizes by custom order. I also made an adult sized tutu for some mother and daughter photos.


Photo Credit: Shoshana Lee Photography

The party was going to be a pool party, so I found a fun Ursula Hello Kitty patch  from FabricCrafts on Etsy to put on a swimsuit for my daughter. IMG_1606 (2) For the party I made us both matching Ursula costumes with poly filled tentacles they are also available at tulleandthedragon.

Tip #2 use a photograph taken in your Ursula costume for your invitation. You can use it for an evite, facebook event or printed invitation. We did a facebook event and a printed invitation for family and friends not on facebook. Here is what ours looked like. I used picmonkey to edit it.


Tip #3 make or find Ursula inspired decorations. We did a combination of handmade decorations as well as a digital download from etsy. I made purple Ursula lanterns by drawing faces on purple lanterns, collaging black  and white tissue paper with glue and water for Ursula’s hair and dress. Then I glued tentacles made of tulle to the bottom with a glue gun. You can make your own or buy the one that I made from my ebay shop. They are still in great condition and because they are used are being sold for less than they cost to make.


My sister in law made some really cute center pieces with photographs, sticks, rocks, soil and blue containers. She rocks not only did she make awesome center pieces she let us have the party at her house with the pool. She also threw an amazing Mario Brothers party for her 13 year old daughter. We are blessed with a great family.


On Etsy I found a villains birthday banner from Kawaiikidesigns that was purple and black, that included Ursula. I bought it for $2.50 and printed the banner and extra of the Ursula picture, leaving out the other villains. I even used one of the print outs to decorate the Ursula Brew. The Ursula Brew was a purple Mio electrolyte water.

villans banner


Tip 4 instead of buying an expensive cake customized with Ursula you could get a edible cake topper and put it on any cake. We bought simple cakes from the market and added a custom cake topper from my party helpers on etsy. We put one on a small cake for a small celebration with out of town family and a large sheet cake for the party. It worked best on the whipped frosting cake. You could see the edges on the large sheet cake with butter frosting, but that is my fault not the topper’s. I did not follow the  directions and mist it with water. Next time I will follow the  directions.

Tip 5 plan activities we kept it simple with swimming, pinata and a bounce house. We ended up getting an Ariel pinata to save money, but if you can afford it there is an amazing Ursula pinata on Etsy from PinataDesignStudio. It can also be purchased in Anaheim or Long Beach at Geeky Momas .


Matching Mother and Daughter Outfits for Mother’s Day


westerncirclemommePhoto Credit: Shoshana Lee Photography

Matching mother and daughter outfits are a lovely way to celebrate Mother’s Day. They are also great for Mother’s Day portraits. Shoshana  from Shoshana Lee Photography did our portraits. If you are in the Long Beach area I highly recommend her. She works great with children and takes beautiful pictures.

fbprofilePhoto Credit: Shoshana Lee Photography

The two skirts above I made for my daughter and I to wear for mother and daughter photos. The skirts are available at my Etsy shop Tulleandthedragon.These skirts come in 4 different fabric choices western, Frieda Kahlo, red and white polka dot or navy and white polka dot. The skirts have a gold or silver elastic waistband and optional lace trim. The length slightly below the knee. By custom order I can make different fabric choices, lengths and can make matching child shorts for boys.


Photo Credit: Shoshana Lee…

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Matching Mother and Daughter Outfits for Mother’s Day

westerncirclemommePhoto Credit: Shoshana Lee Photography

Matching mother and daughter outfits are a lovely way to celebrate Mother’s Day. They are also great for Mother’s Day portraits. Shoshana  from Shoshana Lee Photography did our portraits. If you are in the Long Beach area I highly recommend her. She works great with children and takes beautiful pictures.

fbprofilePhoto Credit: Shoshana Lee Photography

The two skirts above I made for my daughter and I to wear for mother and daughter photos. The skirts are available at my Etsy shop Tulleandthedragon.These skirts come in 4 different fabric choices western, Frieda Kahlo, red and white polka dot or navy and white polka dot. The skirts have a gold or silver elastic waistband and optional lace trim. The length slightly below the knee. By custom order I can make different fabric choices, lengths and can make matching child shorts for boys.


Photo Credit: Shoshana Lee Photography

Another good choice is classic white tutus. The skirts are available at the Tulleandthedragon etsy shop. They are just right for mother and daughter matching portraits. These beautiful skirts have an elastic waistband, are made with soft matte tulle, are quadrupled layered for extra fullness and can be made in a variety of colors and sizes.  High and low, bustle tutus are also available if you are looking for something unique.


Photo Credit: Shoshana Lee Photography

No matter how you celebrate Mother’s day, matching or not, make sure you show the mother or primary caregiver in your life how much you love and appreciate them. Happy Mother’s Day and make sure to follow to keep up to date on all the fun. The next post will share ideas for an Ursula, Disney Villains themed party.




Spanish class for 2-4 year olds in Huntington Beach


Bamboleo’s Preschool Spanish classes where children sing, dance and play in Spanish is now offering the Amiguitos class for ages 2-4 years old in Huntington Beach, California. My daughter has been taking the Amiguitos class in Long Beach since she turned 2 years old last spring. It has been a way to teach her some Spanish in a fun parent and me class with activities with music, movement, stories and art all taught in Spanish. Recently, we moved to Orange County and were very excited to learn that a new Amiguitos class is now in Huntington Beach.


We just attended our first class and had a wonderful time learning about different occupations. In one activity there were trees on the walls with different animals and one tree with fire. We sang a song while pretending to be Fire Fighters (e.g., el bombero for masculine or la bombera for feminine) that gave directions to rescue the animals in the trees and then put out the fire. The class also includes a CD with music to take home and digital materials to practice at home. The class is located at the Black Belt Center 9887 Hamilton Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92646. For more information see the flyer below.




President’s Day lesson ideas for young children with free printables


President’s day is just around the corner and I thought it would be fun to share some lesson ideas for young children in preschool- first grade. The ideas will include include Language Arts, Social Studies, Math and the Visual Arts. These lessons can be done at home or at school in a larger group.


For preschool age children a President’s Day themed memory match game is a good activity to learn vocabulary words and to identify U.S.A. symbols associated with President’s Day as well as improving memory skills and learning math concepts such as same, different and matching pairs. The President’s Day Memory Match Game is available as a free download from the Primary Inspiration blog. My almost 3 year old daughter enjoyed gluing the cards on thicker paper and helping to cut them out. Later we played a modified version of the game using 6 cards instead of the complete 24 cards. We started with 6 to introduce the game and will gradually add more cards as she becomes more familiar with the game.

Kindergarten through First grade children can enjoy learning about Abraham Lincoln with a lesson using the book Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner. Children will learn that Abe Lincoln was an important person in history and that he kept things he needed to remember in his hat. Here is a free download of a lesson plan to use with Abe Lincoln’s Hat.

Abe Lincoln’s Hat lesson


You can have your child draw their own portrait of Abraham Lincoln to decorate or you can use the picture above. Then you can paint, color or make a collage using glue and torn paper tissue or recycled materials. We used a torn up cereal box and black tissue paper.


If you would like to set up a dramatic play area you could add some fun President costumes or a patriotic tutu skirt. For an Lincoln or Washington costume you could use and old adult sized suit coat, a top hat and a white wig made of yarn. Amazon also has a few already made costumes. You could also get a Tulle & the Dragon tutu skirt made in any size. Below you will find some pictures of a few possibilities.

Have fun learning together. Also,  feel free to share your ideas for President’s Day in the comments below. Make sure to follow my blog for more activities and resources for families with young children.