Crazy Deals on Books Your Kids Will Love

by jessicaturner on June 29, 2016

Children's book deals
I have already begun my Christmas shopping. By shopping far in advance, it allows me to find great deals and ensure that we don’t do too much spending in December.

Here are a few great book deals that I found on Amazon. The prices are 50% off or more, and all of these books are hardcover and full color. They would make excellent gifts for the kids in your life, or to donate at the holidays.

Prices change quickly, so I recommend snatching these up before the prices increase.


DC Super Heroes Storybook Collection: $6.77: This is an insane price! Of all our storybook collection books, this is Elias’s favorite. Would make a great gift for any boy.

Disney Princess Adventure Stories: $8.93 My kids have all of these storybook collections, but this is one of Adeline’s favorites. It’s a beautiful book!

Disney*Pixar Storybook Collection: $7.44 Another great storybook collection. We have read it cover to cover.

Big Book of the Berenstain Bears: $6.85: My kids adore the Berenstain bears and I love the books’ messages. You can’t beat 5 books in one for $6.85. We love this collection.

LEGO NINJAGO Character Encyclopedia: $8.25 I bought this book and the one below for Elias for his birthday. I know he is going to love them!

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes Character Encyclopedia: $10.79

The Book of Monsters (LEGO NEXO Knights): $5.95

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Finding Dory Party: Activities, Decorations & More

by jessicaturner on June 28, 2016

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

It’s hard to believe that our sweet Adeline is five. We have been planning to have a Finding Dory party since November when we learned the movie was coming out the week of her birthday. Little did we know I would go to the premiere and meet Ellen just weeks before the party!

The party came together perfectly and I have SO much to share about it. Finding Dory is the hit movie of summer, and I imagine lots of kids are going to be having Finding Dory parties in the coming months. I hope this post provides lots of information and resources. I am going to write separate, more in-depth posts on the food and crafts and will share those soon.

Finding Dory Birthday Invitation

Finding Dory Birthday invitation

I found a Finding Dory invitation design on Etsy and had them printed on Shutterfly. Adeline looked so cute hugging Dory.

Finding Dory Party Decorations

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

Most of the time was spent outside, so I kept the interior decorations very simple, with a Finding Dory tablecloth on the table. For the center of the table, I filled a vase with shells and yellow flowers and had the Finding Dory cake on a cake stand. I found bags of seashells at The Dollar Store, so they were a very affordable decoration!.

I also taped green crepe paper up in an empty corner to look like seaweed.

Finding Dory hanging decorations added additional character fun in the room.

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

I cut seashells out using my Cricut and attached them to skewers for the path to the front door. (Remember how shells showed Dory the way home?) These came together super quickly and were so adorable.

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

I used Christmas ornaments that I bought at Target 90% off to make garlands for the front porch. They added a fun pop of color and whimsy to the front yard.

The bulk of the party took place on the deck, so that is where most of the decorations were.

Finding Dory Birthday Party and Finding Dory decorations

We had a Finding Dory Happy Birthday banner up behind the bar. (I couldn’t believe the size and quality of this banner and loved that the age could be customized). Next to the lemonade we had a cute Finding Dory table decoration.

I bought a coral reef backdrop and used it as a backdrop for our lower deck. This backdrop was 40′ so could be used in several spots.  There was enough to wrap the trees and cover the bar too. It would also work well if you were having an indoor party. It added SO much to the party decorations.

Finding Dory party

The stars of my decorations were definitely the blue and yellow jellyfish. I made them using paper lanterns (I found them on clearance at Target 3 for 50 cents!) + tablecloths and ribbon. They were time consuming, but I did them over the course of a week, which made it not so bad. They added SO much to the decorations, and I was really happy I made them.

I will say, there was a big difference in the quality of the tablecloths I used. I paid $1.99 for the yellow and light blue tablecloths at a party store and bought the dark blue at the Dollar Store. The Dollar Store cloth was much more flimsy and harder to work with. You can make many jellyfish from a single tablecloth! I loosely followed this tutorial, but modified it in that I did not cut the lanterns.

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake


An aDORYble Photo Booth

Finding Dory Birthday Party

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

Ezra was NOT into taking a family photo. The party was right during his nap time, sweet baby! I got Elias and Adeline’s Finding Dory clothes at The Disney Store, and Ezra’s shirt at Target.

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

Using the Finding Dory photo scene setter as a backdrop, the kids took lots of photos together.

Finding Dory birthday party with Finding Dory games, Finding Dory crafts and a Finding Dory cake

We had silly glasses and goggles for the kids too. As you can see, the kids all got Finding Dory tattoos (found some in the Target dollar spot) and made name tags with Finding Dory stickers (also found in the Target Dollar spot) when they arrived.

I am a HUGE fan of photo spots for birthday parties. I think they encourage great group photos. I always maximize the spot by moving a kids table to the spot when its time to eat to get cute shots of the meal + cake. It also works great for doing presents there.

(I also used a scene setter for Elias’s Star Wars party, Adeline’s Hello Kitty Party and Adeline’s Sesame Street party.)

I did buy Finding Dory party hats, but then forgot to set them out! Our friends the Howells came over on Sunday and their twins loved making Dory unicorns with them. :)

Finding Dory birthday party

Finding Dory Crafts

Adeline loves to craft, so I came up with three simple Finding Dory crafts. I called the craft area “Hank’s Handiwork” and made a little sign to hang over it.

Finding Dory Birthday Party and Finding Dory decorations

I had two long folding tables (I love these adjustable ones – best party investment I ever made. Well worth $30 each) + an additional child’s table for the crafts. The tables were covered in blue tablecloths from The Dollar Store, which made clean up easy.

The kids each picked a station to start at and rotated through all three crafts, which were:

Seashell necklaces: Because seashells play such an important part in Dory finding her way home and to her parents, the girls made seashell beaded necklaces. I ordered purple shells from Etsy because purple shells were Dory’s mom’s favorite and bought pony beads and string at a local store.

Finding Dory party crafts

Finding Dory party crafts

Aquariums: The children each made mini aquariums, like the open ocean exhibit that Dory’s family lived in. Supplies included 8 oz. mason jars, distilled water, aquarium gravel (after the party I found that The Dollar Store carries this, though not in the pretty blue color), ocean creatures and some fake plant life.

Finding Dory party crafts

Hank the septopus: They also made a septopus like Hank using red terra cotta pots, googly eyes and big fuzzy pipe cleaners (bought at Michaels) that were attached with glue dots.

Finding Dory Activities and Games

In addition to the crafts, the kids had fun playing in the Finding Dory sprinkler and Finding Dory splash pool.

Finding Dory birthday party games

Finding Dory birthday party games

I would not recommend buying this sprinkler for a bunch of rambunctious kids because it broke within 30 minutes because the kids were pushing on it to get the water to spray in different directions.

Finding Dory birthday party games

Thankfully, a regular sprinkler provided just as much fun and relief. (I found Adeline’s Finding Dory bathing suit on Zulily.)

Finding Dory birthday party games

We also had a Coffee Pot Pong game on the deck using four glass coffee pots and some ping pong balls. I made the signs using my Cricut and adhering the letters with my Xyron. I loved how the signs turned out and thought they added a lot to the decorations.

Finding Dory Party Games

We had plans to do some other Finding Dory yard games with the Hank ring toss, but the kids spent so much time in the sprinkler there wasn’t time.

Finding Dory Food and Cake

Finding Dory Party Food

For food, we kept the menu simple and kid-friendly. It included:

Ham and cheese “crab” croissants (I glued googly eyes to tooth picks – they were so cute!), Finding Dory pasta salad, Finding Dory snack mix, chips and fresh fruit. (Recipes and tips coming soon)

After lunch everyone enjoyed the vanilla Finding Dory birthday cake. Adeline squealed when she saw her name written on the side “just like Dory”.

Finding Dory Cake

Finding Dory Cake

The cake designer also incorporated purple shells and kept Dory the star of the cake. Everyone loved the design and couldn’t believe how perfect Dory was.


Finding Dory Party Favors

Finding Dory party favors

I found these adorable Finding Dory party bags on Amazon and loved them so much more than the typical little grab bags made for favors. They were made of a really nice sturdy plastic material. Inside I put crayons (bought 70% off at Target), Finding Dory bubbles, Finding Dory pencils (6 for $1 at Target), and Finding Dory fruit snacks. They were a lovely little thank you for coming to the party.

Finding Dory birthday party

All in all it was an extremely fun and memorable birthday party for Adeline. My friend Angie said it was her favorite party I’ve ever thrown (and she has been to them all!).

I loved coming up with everything and making all the decorations. I hope someday when my kids look back on their birthdays, they will remember all the love their mommy poured into the parties to celebrate their lives.

If you love throwing parties, please pin this party on Pinterest!

Finding Dory Birthday Party with decorations, food ideas, crafts and games. A must-see birthday party. Love all the Finding Dory elements including a Finding Dory cake, Finding Dory crafts and Finding Dory games.

Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links 


Inside the Recording Sessions for Finding Dory

June 24, 2016

The last Finding Dory interview I have to share with you is that with Eugene Levy, who is the voice of Charlie, Dory’s Dad. Many of the actors shared about the recording process during the interviews, and I thought it would be interesting to share Eugene’s remarks about the process, his experiences and thoughts about […]

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When Generosity Doesn’t Look Like the Commercials

June 23, 2016

Last month, Swiffer sent our family a few of their signature green boxes to give to a family who was moving, along with some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. I put those green boxes in my car trunk, hoping that I would stumble on a house with a moving truck pulled up to it and that […]

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What it’s Like on a Disney Set: Behind-the-Scenes of BIZAARDVARK

June 22, 2016

Though my kids still primarily watch Disney Junior, I know that those days (especially for Elias) are numbered. During my Disney press trip earlier this month, I was grateful to visit the set of a new Disney show Bizaardvark. Seeing an episode and talking with the cast encouraged me about the programming available for older […]

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Finding Dory Breakfast + Finding Dory Paper Products

June 21, 2016

The first morning of our Finding Dory press trip started with a delicious breakfast sponsored by Bounty. Fresh fruit, pancakes and even Finding Dory cookies were served. I was excited about this breakfast because I was the only “newbie” in the group. It seemed like everyone else knew each other and had been on other […]

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8 Facts from “Nemo” & “Marlin” in Finding Dory

June 20, 2016

This week, I’m continuing with stories and interviews from my time in LA for my Disney press trip. I hope that you are enjoying the posts. I still can’t believe I got to be a part of it all. In addition to interviewing Ellen Degeneres, Ed O’Neill and Kaitlin Olson, we also got to interview […]

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Summer Activity: Free Disney Store Play Days for Kids + NEW Finding Dory Product Preview

June 17, 2016

I know for a lot of moms, it can be a struggle to figure out what to do with kids during the summer break. Our family made a bucket list, so when we need some ideas, we often look to that. However, it is fun to add some surprises in. One free and fun idea […]

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LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Review and Q+A with the Creators

June 16, 2016

Elias is nearly eight and, like many boys his age, is a huge fan of Star Wars and Legos. (Check out his Star Wars room, the time he battled Darth Vader and his Star Wars birthday party.) When I learned that I was going to have the opportunity on my Disney press trip to preview […]

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Meet Kaitlin, the Voice of Finding Dory’s “Destiny”

June 15, 2016

Honestly, I didn’t know much about Kaitlin Olson prior to being introduced to her role as Destiny, a whale shark in Finding Dory. But after meeting her, I am a huge fan. She was so kind and down-to-earth. I really resonated with her as a working mom (she has two sons) and her commitment to […]

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