About Bigger Than Your Block

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. The second edition of 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money will be released June 2016. She's been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event or to find out more about her work, visit her at www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

A Full-On Sentence

Talking-Toddler

OMG! My oldest just said a full-on, regular sentence on his own. He said, “May I have some more please?” as clear as day.

He’s been talking, obviously, for a while now but usually in 3 or 4 word sentences like, “More juice please, mom” or something like that. A few days ago I introduced this new long-form sentence. He repeated it after me but didn’t seem to take to it. I let it go and he didn’t say it yesterday.

This evening, I had a jug of lemonade on the floor near my bed. My bugee picks it up and says, “May I have some please?” It would have been more accurate to say, “May I have some lemonade please?” but I’ll take what I can get for his first full-on sentence on his own.

My baby isn’t a baby anymore ….

DIY: I Made a Pinata!

My kid had a Thundercats theme for his third birthday. As you may or may not know …. Thundercats hasn’t been big since around 1985. Saying that it was challenging to find Thundercats themed items for the party is an understatement. One of the items I wanted was a pinata and finding one already done was a no-go. Paying $60 to have one made seemed silly.

I looked online and of course there were do-it-yourself tutorials. This one and this one made it seem so easy. I decided that if they could do it, I could do it. I made the frame in about 40 minutes and then spent another 1.5 hours putting on the fringe.

Materials:

  • One USPS shipping box
  • One Honest Comapany diaper box
  • 3 sheets of red tissue paper
  • 2 sheets of red tissue paper
  • One pair of scissors
  • One cylinder of glue
  • One cylinder of clear tape
  • One foam piece (to smear glue)
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I started by tracing the number three on the post office box mailer.

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Once I had a front and back cut out, I started cutting out little parts to tape together to make it three dimensional. I wasn’t sure about the door for the candy so I chose to just fill the pinata and seal the whole things up.

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I cut the tissue paper into 2 inch strips, covered the surface that I wanted to cover with glue using my sponge, and layered one on top of another.

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After I covered the whole surface with red tissue paper, I cut the fringe.

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I learned with the red side that the strips I cut weren’t long enough. With the black, I cut the strips longer and thinner so I’d get more coverage. Once I had all the paper on, I went back and trimmed the edges.

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I struggled with the edges.

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After putting all the tissue paper on, I glued some images that I downloaded from the internet on.

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It didn’t turn out perfectly, but for a few hours and about $3 worth of materials it wasn’t bad.

Pinata - helping out

My son loved it.

The kids enjoyed wacking it. It was cheap enough that I didn’t mind all my hard work being destroyed after a few minutes. Lol

See how the rest of the Thundervats party turned out here.

Thundercats Birthday Party

Thundercats-Table

When we seriously considered adopting a baby, one of our first concerns was: what cartoons will the baby watch. We tried to find all the good cartoons from the 80’s that we could find. Of course, Thundercats was included.

A few months ago we showed the oldest an episode of Thundercats just to see what he’d do. He took right to it. He loves the theme song. He loves the characters. He loves the weapons and the Cat’s Lair. Whoo hoo! We decided that his birthday would be a Thundercats party.

The Table

I wanted to have a practice run just to see what I could come up with. There isn’t a whole lot of 1980’s Thundercats stuff just lying around. These are photos from the practice run:

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I found these images online and decided to cut them out and use them to decorate the cupcakes.

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I found these red striped cupcake thingees online. A 20 pack was $3.

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I used the Criket to create the words.                                                                                      Found the Cat’s Lair online, printed it, cut it out and glued it together.

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Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I used a glue stick to attach them.

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I really liked the cupcake holders. I ordered some sugar printed Thundercats cupcake toppers online but I liked these better so I stuck with them. The Cat’s Lair ended up being smaller than I originally thought it would be so I decided to nix it thought I could have printed it a larger size at Kinko’s. I also decided to go a different direction with the words above the banner.

Here are some photos from the actual event:

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If I had to do it again, I’d have given the cupcakes more height. I loved the character cupcake holders though. I also really loved the packets of chips. It made it easy for the kids to grab a packet without touching all the chips. Score! I also loved the fruit tray as a quick and easy snack until the food was done. The banner from Vista Rrint pulled everything together.

 

 

Cake

I ordered this Thundercats sugar sheet on Amazon. When I wanted to use it, I cut it out, placed it on top, and I think it looks great.

Overall, I was able to make almost everything from crafting stuff I had at home or print things up from things I found for free online. I did buy the Thundercats logo svg file on Etsy for $1.50, the banner from Vista Print, and a few odds and ends to tie it all together.

The Games

If you’re going to have a bunch of little kids at your house, it’s a good idea to have some idea of what you’d like to do with them. We decided that we’d:

  • Have Thundercats coloring pages available.
  • Play Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Snarf.
  • Have a “fight” for Thundera (a bubble war).
  • Find Panthro’s treasure (a balloon popping game).

I found the coloring pages by Googling “Thundercats book” and then downloading the paged from original Thundercats activity books that come up.

I found an image of Snarf that I liked and created the image below. I had it printed at Costco for $7. Feel free to do the same. I then printed the tails at home, cut them out, and used push pins to attach the tails to the image during the game.

Pin the tail on the Snarf

Here’s the image.

Pin the tail on the Snarf TAIL

Here’s the tail.

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Pin the Tail on the Snarf game in action!

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After taking a turn, each kid got this sticker.

I got the weapons that the main Thundercats use by being creative. I found nunchucks on clearance at Target (2 sets for $1) and used pool noodles for Cheetarah’s staff. We bought an actual Eye of Thundera sword for the birthday kid. We started to make the cat-o-nine-tails like weapon of Tyrgra but thought better of it. Lol

We were all ready to have the kids try to pop the bubbles with the weapons but once the bubbles came out …  the kids weren’t interested in using the weapons. The adults came over to play in the bubbles too.

Bubbles - Khalil

We never made it to Panthro’s Treasure (the kids have to pop balloons to find the one with the paper that tells them that they won) because everyone was having so much fun playing with the bubbles!

After the bubbles died down a little bit, we sang Happy Birthday to the kid and lined the kids up to hit the pinata that I made (yes, I made it from scratch).

Pinata - helping out

Getting ready to wack the pinata!

We planned a two-hour party for a three year old. We planned to change activities every 15 minutes and it went pretty much to schedule (which I love)! Everyone seemed to have a good time and it was pretty easy to put together. Every time my kid sees photos from the party he yells, “Happy Birthday Party!”

We had a great time and I’m ready to get started on the Wild Ones party for our daughter.

 

 

Date for Signing Placement Paperwork Set

Calendar

This morning we got a call from our adoption worker saying that we have a date to sign our placement paperwork! I was hoping it was going to be this week but it turns out that it’s a few weeks away.

If you’ve adopted from foster care then you know that this is the last thing that has to happen before we can finalize the adoption. Last time, we got a finalization date a few weeks after our signing. We’re hoping that the same thing happens this time.

=)

 

First Adoption Talk With Our Toddler

Adoption-Magnitude

Last night I had my first honest-to-goodness talk with our oldest about his adoption and how he has two families. He’s still a toddler, so he didn’t care much (or probably grasp any of it) but they say it’s good to talk with them early so #1 you never have to have The Talk with them because there was never a time they didn’t know and #2 you get to practice and mess up before they can really understand and #3 you get to fortify your heart to explain why they are not living with the family they should be, at least biologically.

I was able to eek out a few sentences then I almost started crying. Having to share with another family AND tell them about it is going to be hard but I have to imagine how hard it will be for them to LIVE it. Ahhhhh … good times. #Adoption

Adoption #2: She Called Me ‘Mama’

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When I tell you this little girl is learning EVERY DAY …..   it is no joke. She’s been a few words here and there for a while now. General things that let us know what she wants to do/h20170221_154233ave/eat. Well, last night she said, “Hi mama” clear as day like she had been working on it and was just waiting to whip it out on us. Lol

She’s 15 months old and this morning she woke up and is on a ‘mama’ streak! Lol About 40% of what she has said has ended with a ‘mama’! How funny! I can’t wait to see where the day takes us linguistically! Lol

New Worker – Email

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I just received an email saying that our baby has a new worker. Our first baby went through three social workers before finally being transferred over to adoptions so the email didn’t surprise me at first. She said that she needed to see the baby before the end of the month (that’s in like …  four days) and asked if we could drive out to her office.

We have nothing booked for the next few days, so driving out there isn’t an issue …  but instead of replying, I just kept staring at the email …  and then I saw it.

Instead of her signature line saying foster care (or something like it), it says “Adoptions”. I was really hoping that we’d have the same adoption worker as last time. I love her! She’s experienced, we have a similar parenting style, and she’s honest about what’s coming up and the time frames that we should expect. This lady might be cool too but …. I was really hoping to work with that same lady again. She called about our first placement. She met us at the hospital. She came and snuggled the baby for hours on end. She called about our second placement. She encouraged us to do our due diligence. She advised us on transitioning the baby from her foster placement to our house …  it’s only right that she be there at this finalization too.

Ahhhh …  so goes the adoption from foster care roller coaster.

=(