Sparks of Magic

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A Magical Mama's Day Gift Guide

Fashion, DisneyCamilleComment

If you're anything like me, you love getting and giving gifts. I also really love shopping and supporting small business. So, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite Magic Makers that are crafting away and supporting their families!

As a work from home mama, I can't tell you how awesome it is to know that I have support in my endeavors because juggling businesses, blog, kids, marriage, and school can be rough. There are many days when I just want to lay on the floor... But, because of my amazing hubby, kids and tribe of friends that are family, I press on. 

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing gift ideas for Mother's Day.

With Mother's Day just around the corner, I was thinking of what I would love to open for the special occasion, and came up with a few of my top magical gifts that would support small businesses run by Mamas, meaning quality products for me and pixie dust pay for a mama-preneur on Mother's Day. A win for everyone!

There are so many awesome women that are movers and shakers, and while I can't list them all, I am sure that you will find something for the magical mama in your life (or for yourself) amongst this list! 

Already picked out your gifts to give for Mother's Day? You know what they say.

Treat. yo. self.


Mama & Little® Silicone Jewelry • If I had access to these pretty little pieces when I was toting around my babies, it would have been a lifesaver. I can't tell you how many broken pieces of jewelry I've endured from curious little hands and mouths. The jewelry is food-grade silicon and BPA free. These are perfect gifts for new mamas, aunties, and anyone that holds babies! 

Custom Wood Signs & Graphics by EllieJoy Boutique • This little shop on Etsy is owned and operated by Rachel, who also happens to be my cousin! She's an Air Force Chaplain's wife, mama to five and graphic designer. We both began design around the same time in the early 2000s. 

I'm super excited for Rach's new venture and wanted to share that she does custom work outside of what is listed in Etsy, so check out her work and follow her adventures on Instagram and Facebook, too!

LILLIAN & CO Bracelets • These are beautiful statements to wear. As a mama who dares to live my dream, these are perfect mantras and reminders on a daily basis to live in our magic and spread it far and wide. With twelve (12) different sayings, you're sure to find one that is perfect for the Mama in your life. I found this little gem of a company on Instagram one day, and drool over the pieces often. They stack perfect with other bangles and watches! I am hoping that the "Go Live Your Dream" bracelet graces my wrist soon. :)

Spireside Candles (formerly Anthology Candles) • Handmade in the USA, these are whimsically inspired candles and wax melts. I fell in love with their product branding and photos on Instagram! Pineapple Whip is on my wish list, along with Main Street Bakery and The Confectionary. I know, I know so much sugar. :)

For more Mother's Day Gift Guides, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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3 Easy Tips for a Star Wars Movie Night!

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment

The Star Wars franchise is a pretty popular thing at our house. We geek out together over Star Wars and have themed parties, movie nights, and infuse the Force into pretty much any and everything we can. If you saw our Christmas picture a couple years ago, you know that we like to have fun together. 

In order to stay away from re-inventing any wheels, because honestly who has time for that?! I'll share a few fun activities and food ideas that we have created over the years that would make for a whole lot of fun for your next Star Wars themed movie night or event!

1| pick a MOVIE

First things, first. Which movie are you going to watch? I am going to focus only on the live-action films, not any animated features or shows. There are seven main films that are available for purchase and/or download today:

  • Episode I - The Phantom Menace

  • Episode II - Attack of the Clones

  • Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

  • Episode IV - A New Hope

  • Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

  • Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

  • Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Soon, we will be able to add Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to the mix (set in between Episodes III & IV. But, for now, we have Episodes I-VII).

Being the nut that I am, when presented with this opportunity to write about a Star Wars themed movie night, I wanted to write about the made for TV film, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. Why? Because they are cuddly and cute, feisty and fearless. Also, it has been ages since I've seen it (released in 1985) and I thought it would be fun to introduce the kids to the world of the Wookies.

Photo © Lucasfilm

Photo © Lucasfilm

Sadly, after a ton of searching, we found that both Ewoks films (Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor) were removed from the Star Wars Canon and now the only places you can watch them are on sketchy online sites or youtube... unless you have a VHS player and score one at a thrift store. You can also order a copy of the films from Amazon for the price of a really cute handbag. I happened to see a combo release DVD on Amazon, new for $189. Say what?! Well, my grand idea was somewhat thwarted, but I will admit that I found a YouTube link for Battle for Endor. It was not great quality, but it did the job.

Wicket is probably my favorite creature ever. If I didn't already have a name for my future French bulldog puppy, I'd name it Wicket. LOL. 

So, first things first, pick a movie that everyone agrees on, or make it a marathon and watch them all! From there, you can choose to cater your party food, activities and decor to that specific show.

2| Food & Drinks

Disclaimer, I am not a food blogger, but you knew that. I am an "ooooh that recipe pin on Pinterest looks amazing" or, "those cupcakes might be do-able," type of person. I also have numerous Pinterest fails, but you will never see them because I ate them and forgot to post the pictures. C'est la vie.

When Daddy is a photographer/designer plus a Star Wars fanatic, you have to make epic birthday invitations. :)

When Daddy is a photographer/designer plus a Star Wars fanatic, you have to make epic birthday invitations. :)

Here is an example of some delicious treats that I made for our son's "Episode X" Star Wars themed Dark Side party.

Pick easy and quick foods, nothing too crazy, because you don't want to be so exhausted from cooking in the kitchen that you fall asleep watching the movie!

The chocolate dipped pretzel light sabers and Chewbacca chow were quick, easy and just enough salty and sweet! Here are the recipes!

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods

  • Pretzel Rods

  • CandiQuik White Chocolate

  • Food Coloring

  • Wax paper

Depending on how many light saber options, you know, dark or light side, will determine how many bowls of coloring that you need.

  1. Melt the chocolate according to the package instructions

  2. Add food coloring to create the hue you want

  3. dip your pretzel rods and lay flat on wax paper to dry

Chewbacca Chow (aka muddy buddies or puppy chow by chex)

Easy-peasy, right? That's how I like it. 

You're going to need to wash down all of the delicious treats, so one of our family favorite beverages is Boba Fett Soda. Coffee mate no longer sells the Star Wars themed bottles, but you can still use the Italian Crème Soda flavor!

3| Dress like the Force

Grab your favorite Star Wars pajamas. You can find them almost anywhere nowadays. For our family Christmas picture we bought pjs from Kohl's and Target. 

And there you have it! A fairly quick and easy way to add the Force to your next Star Wars themed movie or party night! 

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For Star Wars movie night ideas, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of Magical Blogorail Teal | Movie Night | Star Wars Loop:

A Very Mickey Christmas

Family, Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Yellow Loop! Today we are sharing our Favorite Holiday Movies and TV Specials.

I have an affinity for all things Disney and Christmastime is no different. Even prior to getting married and having a family, my husband and I grew up with Disney and holidays coinciding. Naturally, when the time came, we introduced Disney magic and our kids have also grown to love the cherished stories of Mickey and Friends, too!

This was a few years ago, I haven't gotten a picture of them all sitting still together with their hot cocoa since! :) 

This was a few years ago, I haven't gotten a picture of them all sitting still together with their hot cocoa since! :) 

One of our favorite pastimes includes family movie nights that leave us with peppermint hot chocolate hangovers and sweet dreams full of magic and the Christmas spirit! In fact, we just recently had one of those nights and it was so fun being home to snuggle with my favorite people and enjoy a Disney holiday fix.

Our first holiday movie that we watched this season was Its A Wonderful Life. It's my husband's favorite non-Disney holiday film, and I pretty much cried most of it. It's a great film, but my favorites are Disney so we decided to start out with Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas!

Image © The Walt Disney Company

Image © The Walt Disney Company

We love Disney's holiday films, especially when they feature more than one story. Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas includes three stories, each special with a unique lesson teaching the spirit of Christmas, giving, friendship, family, and love. This special film anthology was released in 1999, and has been a favorite of mine ever since!

Image © The Walt Disney Company

Image © The Walt Disney Company

Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas is a hilarious holiday take starring Donald’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, as they are wishing to have Christmas every day and then realizing that Christmas is more than just presents and yummy food, but about cherishing time with loved ones and appreciating the season to spread joy and love with others.

Image © The Walt Disney Company

Image © The Walt Disney Company

The next film, A Very Goofy Christmas, is probably our children’s least favorite film in the series, because they have never really been huge fans of Goofy’s son, Max. They often chatter about Max’s bad attitude and disrespect towards his dad, Goofy. Max does tend to have an attitude of entitlement (assuming it is because of his teenage years) and the kids recognize this as something we’ve really worked on teaching them - the importance of gratefulness and positivity. However, that being said, this specific film is always a good reminder for them to be grateful and have a good attitude even if things don’t go their way. We laugh together as we watch Goofy spread Christmas cheer and blessings to others in the film. Max eventually realizes the spirit of Christmas is about believing and sharing the joy and cheer with others.

Image © The Walt Disney Company

Image © The Walt Disney Company

The final story is one of selflessness and love. This one is Mickey and Minnie’s Gift of Magi, a retelling of the classic story where a man gives the love of his life a special treasure by selling his most prized possession. Ironically, this woman gives up her most prized possession to compliment the man’s item. While their gifts end up being "useless" it is the idea of the priceless time and thought, and act of love by giving up what they love for the person they love.

I really appreciate that the films touch on topics that we can discuss with our kids, it is far more than entertainment and with everything that we watch, we attempt to share what we learned or took away from the stories. 

In this day and age, it is important to have these discussions with our kids, in order to foster a home environment that has open communication and is founded on love, learning and growing together.

If you have yet to see Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas, I highly suggest it! We will definitely be watching it again, in addition to the sequel, Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas, this weekend!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow | Favorite Holiday Movies + TV Specials Loop:

Magic Kids: DisneyBounding

Fashion, DisneyCamilleComment
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Welcome to this month's Blogorail Yellow Loop! Today we are sharing DisneyBounding ideas for you and your family.

Last year I was swept into the world of Disneybounding as I attended my first Disney Social Media Moms On the Road event. I went as Ariel!

Then in January I met Leslie Kay, the fabulous gal that started this phenomenon, at the Star Wars marathon weekend. 

I've always loved getting dressed up and I think costumes are awesome, but the concept of creating an outfit from what you have in your closet to represent a character is pretty fun. Not only is it usually easier to wear, you can mix and match pieces for other characters. You are only limited too your own imagination. 

Well, it's almost Halloween and instead of spending a bunch of money on costumes, I thought it would be awesome to do a family DisneyBound! My kids have not quite jumped on the scene so I'll share some ideas and then I have to show you some of my favorite looks from friends that have done Disney events with their kids' Disney styles!  

Since we are a large family, I've tried to think of how we could accomplish a bound that has enough characters, but also a group that we can all agree on – and like. Let me tell you that is no easy feat! So, after taking to the kids and Jeff, I've come up with Peter Pan. There are enough characters and we love the film, so it works!

When we think of outfits we draw inspiration from the characters' outfit colors and styles and then interpret that into what we wear.  There is a really cool app called Polyvore that is all about styling and has a huge library of apparel and accessories that you can create an inspiration board from.

I plan on having some extra fun with scoping out inspiration online and from friends! Here is my friend's son – he went to a local ComiCon event as Han Solo!

photo courtesy Amanda Zimmerman

photo courtesy Amanda Zimmerman

I'm seriously very excited for this project; it will take a little bit to gather all of the pieces for everyone, but it's going to make an amazing family photo! :)

Do you DisneyBound with your kids?  

For more DisneyBounding ideas, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow  | DisneyBounding Ideas

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