I just realized that I never got around to sharing our trip to Ripley's Aquarium when we visited there a few months ago during our vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina! It was such a fun trip and Ripley's had been on our list for awhile, so one sweltering hot day, we decided it was the most perfect day to get in out of the sun for a bit and see some sea life up close and personal!

We saw so many things, sharks, a sea turtle, jellyfish, seahorses, abut a million different kinds of fish, anemones, sting rays... it was absolutely amazing. We loved getting to touch a sting ray, horseshoe crabs, shrimp, and best of all, jelly fish. I mean, that may or may not have been a huge item on my bucket list. I also may or may not have been completely nerding out and spent way too much time with the jellies haha, they're just so cool! Bella was especially fascinated with the sting rays and loved sticking her little hands in the water and touching them as they swam past. We also learned so many things about the sea life that's housed at Ripleys Aquarium and even cooler is that they actually help rehabilitate injured sea turtles and release them back into the wild afterwards! They even have a Pearl Harbor Exhibit with so much history that we toured!

It was such a fun trip on a fun vacation that ended way too soon. Make sure to visit Ripley's Aquarium on your next trip to Myrtle Beach, we had tons of fun and we know your family will too! 



Well, a crazy thing happened... time flew by at lightning speed, the fastest year of our lives, er, the fastest 6 years of our lives. So here we are, celebrating not one but two birthdays this week, our sweet girl turning 6, and our sweet boy turning 1.

We decided rather than have two parties, two weekends in a row, we would just combine both and have a super party! Bella of course wanted a unicorn themed birthday party, because it seems that unicorns are all the rage among little girls and our little girl is no exception. She loves all things sparkly, unicorns, barbies, little animal dolls (like Maileg and calico critters) for her dollhouse and of course nature exploration. I wanted to make surfing Bodhi's 1st birthday theme, I mean, why not, he was sort of named after a fictional surfer so it seemed fitting, that and the fact that he is all about all things water. He's happiest when he's in or near water and the ocean is his most favorite of all, so it was perfect.

I searched online for a cardboard cutout of a unicorn for decor and didn't find anything I loved much, so Bella conned, er talked, me into getting a unicorn pinata when we were at Hobby Lobby a couple of months ago shopping for Halloween costume supplies. We had our unicorn! I just needed other decor now... I searched high and low for a real surfboard, Facebook marketplace didn't yield much but a broken board ( that was over an hour away and not the greatest price for something that was broken) and a board in nice shape... that was $850. Both of those were nopes, so I searched for cardboard surfboards online, again, I found some but they were just meh, and more than I wanted to spend... not only that, I also didn't want to buy something that big that we were just going to use once. I tried to find a real board to rent, but again, no-go. What did I do? I made some from cardboard of course! I mean, they may not be life size like I had originally hoped for, but they still look pretty cool if I do say so myself. I re-purposed the huge box that our new stroller wagon came in recently, and was able to cut out two surfboards (with fins for them as well), waves, a rainbow and two clouds! Alas, cute decor for both themes and all I needed to do was paint them! Another hobby lobby trip yielded paints for the project along with a few more items we needed. While we do try to be eco friendly as much as possible, Bella does love balloons so much so I decided to make an exception and create a balloon arch for their party. Thankfully a lot of the other items we've used for their party are more eco friendly, either recyclable or compostable so at least we've tried overall!

Some of our favorite eco friendly pieces for the party were the dishes and flatware! They were from the most awesome brand called Earth's Natural Alternative and we loved them! The large plates (perfect for our pizza), small plates (just right for the cupcakes), bowls and cups are all plant based and made from wheat straw, sugarcane fiver and other plant fibers. They're gluten, allergen, chlorine, bleach and dye free, not to mention oil and water resistant making them perfect for dry or wet foods. They are safe for hot or cold foods, great for both microwave and freezers, and best of all, they're actually certified compostable! Yay! Earth's natural Alternative also offers spoons, forks and knives, which are all... yep, you guessed it, compostable. They're made from PLA which is 100% biodegradable and compostable, and the quality of their products is amazing as well! We ended up having some dishes and utensils left over from the party so we're planning to use them when we're out and about and on the go (I'll be carrying some in the diaper bag), instead of having to use non biodegradable options at places that don't have reusable or earth friendly utensils. They'll also be great for picnics and camping!

Of course I made Bodhi a smash cake, which I made from a white cake mix and homemade cream cheese frosting. I decided to make cupcakes for Bella and everyone else, white cake cupcakes with the same homemade cream cheese frosting that I used on Bodhi's smash cake. They turned out delicious! Some of the cupcakes I put unicorn cupcake toppers on and some of them I put surfboard cupcake toppers on. I grabbed some meri meri candles because I loved how tall they were and that they could work for both Bella and Bodhi. A party without food is just a meeting (haha) so in addition to all of the cupcakes for everyone, we also bought some pizzas from one of our favorite pizza places in town. Bella and Bodhi are both big pizza lovers so win-win all around.

Bella's birthday outfit was a pretty new unicorn dress from FabKids with a pink hairbow  (from Wunderkin) and gold sparkly booties, and Bodhi's outfit was a sea foam colored waves romper from Childhoods Clothing and leather shoes from Minimoc. A couple of the gifts we got for the kiddos were a little wooden guitar and a candylab toy car with a surfboard on top for Bodhi, and for Bella we got a beekeeper Barbie and a set of beach vacation Maileg mice. All went over pretty well as you can guess. :) All in all, their party was quite a success... Happy Birthday Bella and Bodhi!