Sunday, February 28, 2021

Trending Girls’ and Boys’ Birthday Party Themes for 2021 from Shindigz

Shindigz has everything you need to throw the best virtual or socially-distanced party!  Here are the parties themes trending now.


Trending for Girls

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures

Dare your birthday girl to dream big with a Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures party. Set the scene with this larger-than-life 3D Barbie Dreamhouse. After blowing out the candles and having a birthday lunch with custom Barbie tableware, the girls will love to pose with the Barbie Doll Box or Barbie’s Convertible photo opps. And even after the party, dreaming about Barbie adventures won’t stop with these custom favor bags, water bottles and tumblers.

JoJo Siwa

Your birthday girl will love this JoJo Siwa theme party. From colorful tableware like plates, napkins and table covers to personalized candy bars, favor bags and cupcake wrappers, Shindigz has everything you need to throw a birthday bash that is as beautiful as JoJo Siwa herself.


Sweeten up any party with our Candy Land birthday party supplies. Decking your yard out with our Candy Land Happy Birthday yard sign expression set and Candy Land gingerbread piece yard signs are a great way to show your guests where to go. Make an entrance for your party with the personalized CandyLand door d├ęcor kit. Whether it’s a Sweet Sixteen or Sweet First Birthday adding customizable items, like the Candy Land Logo Banner or Candy Land Castle pop in standee adds the perfect personal touch to their party. Have the sweetest Candy Land Birthday party with Shindigz. 


Trending for Boys


This party is gonna be a blast! For a day that your son and his friends will surely remember, throw a Nerf-themed birthday party. Fill your venue with our Nerf decorations like stacked barriers and building backgrounds for kids to hide behind during the coolest Nerf gun battle ever. After all the running around, the kids will surely be hungry! Our Nerf Birthday Party Packs contain the supplies you need to set a super cool table where the little ones can eat. Our Nerf birthday party supplies are personalizable and can be edited to include names and images of the guest of honor. Grab your Nerf guns and get ready for a Nerf War with Shindigz Nerf Birthday party!

 Let’s Roar Dinosaur

Let's Roar is the perfect theme to give your party a prehistoric presence! Delight dinosaur fans with theLet's Roar Yard Sign Expression Set. Personalize this Dino-mite party with a Let's Roar Horizontal Banner or the Let's Roar Pop In Standee. This T-Rex Pop In Standee let's you add a photo of your child and creates the perfect photo worthy moment. Dig up some fun with the best centerpieces, like the Brachiosaurus Table-Top Pop Up. Stomp, Chomp, Dino-ROAR! 

Paw Patrol

“No job is too big" with our items for your Paw Patrol party! Adventure awaits your little pup and friends. Bring your pups favorite Paw Patrol characters to life with giant Paw Patrol standees and decorations. Choose from Paw Patrol tableware, centerpieces, favors, banners, and more! You'll never be in the doghouse with your little pup again! If you aren't completely set on having Marshall & the rest of the gain join you for a Paw Patrol party, head over to our other Boys

Birthday & Girls Birthday themes for more awesome & unique kids birthday themes from Shindigz!

April Is Autism Awareness Month - 3 Mask #GIVEAWAY - Ends 3/14 @EastersealsSoCal #SensoryFriendlyMask


Easterseals Southern California has teamed with socially conscious lifestyle brand Rafi Nova, pioneer of the clear Smile Face Mask, to develop a Sensory-Friendly Mask to benefit children and adults with autism and other disabilities or anyone who finds wearing a conventional mask uncomfortable.

Did you know?

·         About one-in-54 children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

·         About one-in-six children aged 3–17 years (17%) were diagnosed with a developmental disability as reported by parents, during a study period of 2009-2017. These included autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, blindness and cerebral palsy, among others. The Autism Society

The premier New England mask maker partnered with ESSC to design a mask with reduced stimuli to address the concerns of people with sensory sensitivities, consulting more than a dozen of Easterseals’ therapists and other licensed and certified staff and working with people who receive services from ESSC, as well as their families and other community members. Over a three-month period, multiple prototypes were tested and revised to achieve a maximally beneficial mask—soft, structured, safe, secure—that provides both comfort and function.


The 411

As a mother as an Autistic child and a Preschool Teacher I can tell you that Sensory-Friendly masks are so important. The kids at school have so much trouble keeping them on due to how "rough, hard, and uncomfortable" they feel on their faces. The loops behind the ears are bothersome for many. Many already wear glasses so having something else on the ears is too much.  People with ASD are already filtering out as much stimuli as possible to get through the day to day responsibilities of their lives that any more is overpowering. I love these masks so much. My son loved the adjustable band around the head. He has been complaining of the backs of his ears being "itchy and annoying" with his glasses and mask. Having the adjustable band means he fiddles much less.  He likes the fit under his chin as well. The mask is made to keep everything exactly where you need it. Across the bridge of the nose, around your face and under your chin. It is a perfect fit!

Being a teen he would not let me take a photo of him in his mask so I asked my teaching assistant.

After wearing it for a week she says it is very comfortable and when she first put it on thought it was harder to breathe through but now says "no, it was just softer than other masks".    My assistant being a  girl  has to wear children's masks or they are too big for her. This was perfect.  Most of her masks fall down her face or are always open near the nose. She was constantly pulling it back over the bridge. She loves it.  She also thought that the band would be a problem around her head because she "never wore one like that." She loves it. It stays exactly where she needs it to stay!  

She is going to get a few more colors so she has more available on washing days. That has been the problem for us too. Having more available so they can be washed frequently but it is so worth it. 

Features of the Mask Include:

  • Softness:  100% Mulberry silk lining reduces friction and adjustable jersey knit straps clasp behind the head instead of pinching the ears.
  • Structured:  Minimal design and limited seaming. 
  • Secure:  Adjustable nose bridge ensures the perfect fit and decreases glasses fogging. 
  • Safe:  Special construction lifts the mask off the mouth and highly breathable cotton is used on the exterior.
  • Durability: The mask has an antibacterial layer and is reusable and machine washable
  •  Ease:  A clasp on the back ensures ease of putting on and removal. When not on the face, the mask may safely remain on the person and not be lost thanks to an extra strap feature that fastens it behind the neck. 
  • Social Story:  Comes with a visual storytelling designed by therapists that helps children understand mask-wearing necessity. 

The Sensory-Friendly Mask retails for $14 (child sizes) and $16 (adults). Available in light blue, light pink, hunter green, black and “Over the Moon” (kids sizes only) at:

Little Kids - 5-8 years

Kids - 9-13 years

Adults 14-99+ years.

I tried the Smile Mask because as a preschool teacher my class needs to see my mouth. 

It has been almost a year that many haven't seen anyone's mouth but their parents. It was kind of sweet and sad that every time I opened the door to admit a student into the school,  each and every kids stared at my mouth through the window in the mask.  Many toddlers kept asking about my mouth and "how do you have that mask on?" It must be so confusing after seeing everyone covered up for so long. They can see me smile and that was sadly confusing for them.

The mask is very comfortable and while it doesn't fog up because I used dish detergent on the plastic part I do need a little windshield wiper inside. Every time I wear it in no time the humidity builds up and I need to slip a tissue in just to get the moisture off. Not sure that this will work long term or if on someone who isn't always hot maybe things would be different but I end up with moisture all over the mask even while doing paperwork and not talking.  It's sad because I do love it and think it is so important for many to be able to see your lips. I remember at the beginning of this being at the grocery store and a man was trying to order something from the butcher. He couldn't hear them behind the counter and kept telling them, I am sorry I can't hear, I need to read lips. They were both so frustrated. 

You can definitely read someone's lips in the Smile mask.

Masks must be comfortable and functional for everyone. It's that simple," said Rafi Nova CEO Marissa Goldstein. Earlier this year, the company pioneered transparent masks with their Smile Mask launch to restore visual cues to masked communication. In partnership with ESSC, the Sensory-Friendly Mask represents the next generation of the company's inclusive face coverings designed to protect and reconnect communities.


 About Rafi Nova:

Rafi Nova is a socially conscious lifestyle brand on a mission to outfit families with products and accessories designed for everyday adventures while empowering them to connect, have fun and do more good in the world. Founded as a fair-trade fashion brand to equip adventurous families with sustainably made travel bags, the company shifted focus to face masks to solve the urgent needs of families and communities. Veterans of sustainable product manufacturing, Co-founders Marissa and Adam Goldstein named the company after their two sets of twins and travel partners: Raya, Efi, Noa and Eyva.

About Easterseals:

For more than 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for people with disabilities and their families. Each year more than 1.5 million people benefit from Easterseals services across a network of affiliates in communities nationwide. Easterseals makes profound and positive differences in people's lives every day, helping them address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals so that they can live, learn, work and play in our communities. 

Easterseals Southern California (ESSC), the largest affiliate of the national Easterseals organization, provides services in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties. With nearly 3,000 employees, 60+ service sites and hundreds of community partnership locations, each year ESSC assists more than 13,000 people, providing adult/senior day services; autism therapy; child development/early education; employment services; veteran employment support; independent living options; and more.

For more information, visit:

Enter for a chance to win three (3) masks (value: $42-$48)

Disclaimer: I received complimentary masks for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

While You're Sleeping by Mick Jackson and Illustrated by John Broadley


While You're Sleeping 
by Mick Jackson and illustrated by John Broadley (2/2021; ISBN: 978-1843654650; Hardcover $19.95; Ages 4-8; 40 pages) is a beautifully illustrated picture book about what happens at night time by a Booker shortlisted author.

There's a whole world of activity out there while we're asleep in our beds, from bakers preparing bread and cakes and firefighters waiting patiently for a call, to hospitals caring for those who are ill and postal workers sorting our mail. There is also wildlife such as foxes foraging, bats flying, and owls hunting for prey. And around the world there are children who are playing, learning, eating, and reading while we're tucked up asleep.

Perfect for bedtime, this book opens up a whole world of wonder and imagination for children and provides solace if they wake in the early hours. In his first children's book, illustrator John Broadley works in a limited palette, moving from soft dusk colors to warm dawn tones.

The 411:

A story about sleep but also all that happens around the world while you are snug in your bed. Some of the terminology was an introduction for my class. The book contains British words like Lorries: A truck or Bins: garbage can but it was a great way to discuss differences and how around the world we are not all in the time zone. 

I loved the illustrations done in an old world style but like a cartoon. All the pages were full and busy allowing my class to listen to me longer as I read which as a teacher is wonderful. 

To Purchase:

Pavilion Books

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered.  

The Greatest Showpenguin by Lucy Freegard


The Greatest Show Penguin 
by Lucy Freegard (2/2021; ISBN: 978-1-84365-483-4; Hardcover $16.95; Ages 3-6; 32 pages) is a heartwarming story about overcoming fears and the meaning of success

Poppy the Penguin comes from a long line of circus performers. Many skills have been passed down from penguin to penguin. However, Poppy soon decides that performing in the family circus is not for her, as she prefers to feel calm and in control. But the hardest thing is not juggling, or riding a unicycle--it's telling her mum that she doesn't want to perform any more. Her bravery is worth it when Poppy discovers a better role--organizing and coordinating the whole show. And what a show it turns out to be! This tale of overcoming shyness and lack of confidence is both a funny and sensitive parody of the record-breaking movie The Greatest Showman, and a celebration of girl power!

The 411:

Poppy is the cutest littlest penguin in her show family. They perform at the circus but Poppy really just wants quiet. She doesn't want to perform anymore but after taking a break decides she loves everything about the show, just not performing in it. Sooooo she goes about creating the greatest show from the behind the scenes making it the best ever. Now she can still be with her family and do all the things she loves without getting out in front of the crowd. 

What a cute tale about how even though you have fears you can still contribute just differently. This tiny story made me think about my teenage daughter who is so extremely shy but may one day still be able to do all the amazing things she can do just in a different way.

We can all overcome the obstacles that stop us from having happy, successful lives by reimagining our lives. 

My class loved this book and the cute illustrations. It has become a classroom favorite.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered. 

My Life In Pictures - Nov 1 - Nov 10, 2020

November 1 - 23 years married! Work attire! Didn't take a couple picture but did manage to show just how sweaty I was in my mask.

November 2 - My girl's artwork!

November 3 - Tasty Tuesday - Letter C. My class tried foods and drink starting with Letter C. It was a good day considering they knew these foods except the chick peas. Only 3 eat them.

November 4 - We made a spiky cactus for Letter C. So easy to do. Just cut out a cactus and give the class a fork they dip in paint. 

November 5 - Two of my toddlers enjoying some recess time. These two little dudes enjoyed watching the trucks go by.

November 6 NADA

November 7 - This little lady was spotted in our gazebo as we took it down for winter. She was huge and impressive but we had to get rid of her.

November 8 my fall decorations! I wish I could leave them up all year!

November 9 - Halloween finds at Walmart. 90% off!!!!

November 10 - Letter O for Tuesday Tuesday. Only two kids tried the olives. I could have eaten that whole jar. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

4 Reasons Why It's Worth Increasing the Level of Insulation in Your Roof

All properties should be well-insulated but, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Over time, insulation material can degrade and become less effective. In addition to this, if you use your attic for storage and inadvertently squash the insulation, this could affect its performance. 

However, increasing the amount of insulation in your roof space is relatively easy to do and can offer many benefits, such as:

1. Reduced Bills

Throughout the year, you probably spend a significant amount of money heating and cooling your home. Despite this, a considerable amount of heat can be lost if the property isn’t well-insulated. This means you’ll need to use your HVAC system more frequently and use a higher setting in order to maintain a comfortable temperature in the property.

By increasing the amount of insulation in your attic or upgrading the type of insulation you’re using, you can minimize heat loss in the colder months and keep your property cool in the summer. As a result, you won’t need to have your heating or air conditioning system on so often and you won’t need to set it to such an extreme temperature. This can reduce your bills by a considerable amount and save you money. 

2. Increased Energy Efficiency

As awareness about climate change grows, people are looking for ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Of course, having to use your heating or air conditioning system frequently due to unnecessary heat loss isn’t particularly energy efficient. When you increase the insulation in your property, however, you can increase the energy efficiency of your home or commercial unit. This makes the property much more environmentally friendly and enables you to reduce the property’s carbon footprint. 

3. More Effective Materials

If you haven’t changed the insulation in your property for some time, there’s a good chance that newer insulation will perform better. As well as avoiding the degradation and reduced performance that’s associated with any type of insulation, you can select a better performing type of insulation when you arrange to have it installed. When you hire reputable attic insulation specialists like Attic Projects Company, they can provide bespoke advice regarding the most effective type of insulation for your property. 

4. Increase the Value of Your Property

Most people don’t realize that attic insulation can have an impact on property prices. If you’re selling a residential property, for example, prospective buyers will want to know how efficient the home is and what the average running costs are. As insulation can increase energy efficiency and reduce running costs, this can have an impact on how easy it is to sell your property and its market value. 

Replace Your Attic Insulation Now

As you can see, there are many benefits associated with increasing or upgrading the insulation in your roof space. Whether you want to live more sustainably, reduce your costs or simply keep your property well-maintained, upgrading the insulation should be a top priority.


My Life In Pictures - October 21 - October 31, 2020

October 21 - NADA

October 22 - Me and the Grave Digger.  A match made in heaven

October 23 - Some friends stopped by to see our Halloween decorations. Pretty exciting to have people over even if it was outside and only for about 20 minutes. 

October 24 - We spotted this guy at Lowes and had to have him.

October 25 - Getting ready to make my classes Halloween Goody Bags.

October 26 - Just a little decoration I was working on for my shelf. Not done yet but I really love the way it came out.

October 27 -  Playing Boo Bowling at school. My class loved it. So easy. I just made some "ghost" faces on Styrofoam cups, set them up and let the kids bowl them down.

October 28 - My husband is making us a mantel. We never had one just some tiles around it when we bought the house and always talked about having one. I am so excited.

October 29 - Nada 

October 30 - It's me! With a filter but me!

October 31- My daughter and her friend did some Trick Or Treating. It was quicker than usual and so strange. NO one was really out just lots of tables to maintain social distancing.

Family Now, Work Later: An Unconventional Approach to Happiness and Success

We are taught to believe that working hard during our “prime earning years” means we
get to relax and enjoy the good life later on. That’s exactly backwards, says Steve Cook.
Here’s how to shift this mindset so you can spend today enjoying your family and your life.

          Knoxville, TN (February 2021)—You’re young (or heck, even youngish) only once. And the same is true for your kids who are growing up before your eyes. Yet many of us spend our best years putting work ahead of spending quality time with our kids and nurturing the relationships that matter most.

          This tradeoff is part and parcel of The American Dream: the one that tells us to grind, hustle, stay busy, and pursue more and more, says Steve Cook. The problem is, working now so we can play later doesn’t always pay off like we hope—and it costs us more than we think.

          “Many of us have bought into the narrative that we have to work really hard so that one day in the far-off future we can enjoy the good life,” says Cook, author of Lifeonaire: An Uncommon Approach to Wealth, Success, and Prosperity (Lifeonaire Promotions, LLC, 2018, ISBN: 978-0-9863228-7-7, $14.99). “Problem is, it’s a lie. ‘One day’ may never come. And if it does, you’ll find what you gave up was far more valuable than what you gained.”

          Cook is adamant that the far better approach is working less and living more. The way to accomplish this is by living beneath your means. It frees you to spend some of the best years of your life living, not working yourself to death. You can put your nose to the grindstone later on.

          It sounds good. But is it really doable? Absolutely, says Cook. But it requires that you stop listening to what the world tells you and pay attention to what your spirit is crying out for.

          “That mindset shift is the most important step in the journey,” he says. “Once you do that, the rest tends to fall into place.” Here’s how to get started:

Really hear this wake-up call: Your kids won’t be young forever. Before you know it, they will be adults and won’t need your presence and guidance in the same way. And you can’t be the influence they need from the office, or while traveling for work. It takes spending time with them as their parent, teacher, coach, and friend to make a lasting positive impact.

Accept that “more is better” is a lie. The world wants to entice you with a “bigger is better” and “more is better” mentality. But achieving the outward trappings of success generally requires a lot of your time, energy, and focus. When you’re pursuing them, something has to give, and it’s almost always your most important relationships.

“You may tell yourself that you are pursuing making money for your family,” notes Cook. “But ask yourself: Does my family really need and want the big house, the new car, the fancy vacations? No, what they need and want more of is you. If you ask a five-year-old what they want more of, they will always choose time with you over your working more to provide something bigger.”

Start figuring how you might work less. This may or may not mean changing jobs. If your job right now consumes the lion’s share of your time and energy, you will either need to start looking elsewhere or talk to your boss about recalibrating your work. Or it might mean starting your own venture—one where you have more control over when and how much you work.

“This isn’t about shutting off your ambition,” says Cook. “Rather, it’s about asking yourself, What am I ambitious for? Would I rather have more memories or more stuff? Make sure you are not allowing yourself to be steered by what society thinks is right.”

Make a ten-year plan that puts your kids and family at the center. If you have young children, plan to spend the next ten years, give or take, prioritizing your family over work. This means combining your vision with your values to brainstorm a better life for yourself. This doesn’t mean that you don’t work for ten years; it simply means that during this time you won’t take on big endeavors or projects that will compromise the most important things in your life, like your family.

“Give your all to the parts of your job or your business that come most easily to you,” says Cook. “By focusing on those aspects of your work that you do well, and saving more ambitious pursuits for later on when you have fewer commitments at home, you can help protect your time so you can be there for your family.”

Live simply and keep your needs low during this time. This might mean downsizing to a less expensive home, driving an older (paid off) car, dining out less, or forgoing vacations. Find ways to live within your means and avoid going into debt, as this also enables you to work less right now. Brainstorm what you don’t need in your life to be happy—keeping in mind that you need a lot less than you ever dreamed. (NOTE: See “Nine Fine Benefits of Living a Simpler Life” tipsheet below.)

“Living simply gives you many more options,” says Cook. “The more complicated your lifestyle, the less likely you are to have the option of being there for your family.”

Be vigilant for “business-building creep.” If part of your ten-year plan involves building up your own business, be sure to do it right, advises Cook. Consider how you can keep things small and manageable for now. You might have the best of intentions, but a growing business may demand that you make sacrifices…and if you’re not careful, you’ll find that these sacrifices may be costly for your kids.

“I know that the more I do with business, the more I think about it,” reflects Cook. “The more I think about it, the more I won’t be present. And I don’t even want to chance this. If I say that my family is most important to me, my actions need to reflect this.”

          Remember, says Cook, you’re not giving up your ambition. You’re simply delaying it until later for something of greater value today.

          “The ‘family now, work later’ sequence is better for many people than traditional retirement,” he adds. “Most people really thrive on work, at least meaningful work. It provides structure and a sense of purpose. And when the kids are grown and out of the house, you’re going to need something to do. Maybe that is the time to start building something big.”

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