As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

YVR Bloggers Christmas Party

I’ll be attending the YVR Bloggers Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013, selling our bubble blowers with partial proceeds benefiting the Salvation Army.

YVR Bloggers

The event takes place from 6pm to 9pm at the Waterfall Building with Keynote Speaker and Facebook Marketing Expert, Matt Astifan who will be discussing “How to use Social Media to Market Your Blog.” Matt will be sharing some tips on how to market your blog on Facebook as well as create more engagement, likes, shares, and comments on your social media.

In addition, they will also have a SEO Panel of Experts including: Bosco Anthony from Bosco Anthony, Emily Chow from Chow Communications, Christian Thomson from Marwick Marketing, Cijaye DePradine from Web Cash Coach, Keith Kidwell from Netsurf Marketing, Christine Nielsen from Ms Pixel, Chuck Anderson from Blissful Parenting, and Bonnie Sainsbury from Social Media Smarter who will be sharing their insights into “How to use Search Engine Optimization to Drive Traffic to your Blog” and some tips on how your blog can be found on Search Engines.

This event will have light snacks, door prizes, and some awesome swag for all the bloggers to take home! Did I mention that Santa will be there? Feel free to bring your kids and a donation for the Salvation Army. They will be collecting clothes, scarfs, jackets, and warm socks to give to the homeless this Christmas.

Santa Photos

I’d like to thank Justin Ruscheinski and Ricky Shetty aka Daddy Blogger for inviting me and allowing me to be a part of this event.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

For more information about YVR Bloggers please visit: http://yvrbloggers.com

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2013

Today we walked with hundreds for the 6th Annual Vancouver Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada at Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

And of course, we blew bubbles!

We had a booth at the resource fair where we shared our lives and experiences as people who loved someone with autism and sold our bubble blowers by donation with partial proceeds benefiting the event.

We’d like to thank everyone who donated to Team Bubbles Make Him Smile for this fundraising event. Your contribution and continued support are always appreciated!

Until next year folks...!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

PS Big shout out and thank you to Autism Speaks Event Coordinator, Anya Walsh, for having us at the event!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Two Years

Bryce was born July 2nd, 2001 at 7:06am. He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. He was a very happy baby, always smiling and cooing and slept through the nights. People would always comment how happy and relaxed he was compared to other babies.

This is Bryce’s story.

When Bryce was 12 months old, it was brought to our attention from a pediatric physiotherapist that regularly visited the daycare Bryce attended, that Bryce had a tendency of looking at things through his peripheral vision instead of making direct eye-contact. It was her recommendation to speak to our pediatrician as she said it wasn’t ‘typical’. Bryce had all his vaccinations, recommended by his pediatrician, and he met his baby milestones like crawling and baby talking. Anything we thought he may be behind on learning was disregarded by people telling us that all children are different and learn at different times. We didn't know any better as young, first time parents.

Bryce had little development in communication and social behaviour but improved in gross motor skills yet hadn't started walking. Bryce was 18 months old and it wasn’t until I was fed up with carrying him and pushing strollers everywhere that I physically put him against a door and made him walk to me repeatedly until he figured out that he had legs, and that’s what they were used for. It was at this time that we discovered that Bryce had to be pushed and taught skills that ‘typical’ developing children pick up naturally by observing parents and peers. From that day on Bryce would walk everywhere.

In February 2003, a subsequent referral to another pediatrician indicated that Bryce had a “global developmental delay and some abnormal mannerisms” that needed further investigation. She was concerned about Bryce’s language development, social development and thought he had possible features of autism. She made a referral in June 2003, when Bryce was almost 2 years old, for a full developmental assessment at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children because of the pediatric physiotherapist that expressed concerns about autistic features she observed in Bryce at daycare. The pediatric physiotherapist reported: frequent sideways cocking of the head while looking at lights; lack of eye contact; no words; inability to follow commands; delayed gross motor milestones; fascination with wheels, tags, and fans; and self-feeding with fingers only (no utensils).

Bryce was almost 3 years old when we finally got to see Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children for diagnostic testing. The majority of the diagnostic tests were play based due to his young age and lack of verbal or signing communication skills. A month later, we sat down in a little room with a doctor, and were informed of Bryce’s results.

On June 9th, 2004, Bryce was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by the Pacific Autism Resource Centre at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. The summary said that he displayed several features consistent with autism spectrum disorder including, delayed language, limited eye contact, self-stimulating behaviour, repetitive play, and delayed pretend play skills. His receptive and expressive language skills were also severely delayed and based on his age, his symbolic abilities, such as pretend play, were also delayed.

I remember crying and feeling so sad and not fully understanding what it is that they were telling us. We didn’t know anything about autism. I remember thinking to myself about the future and what was going to happen. We were told not to look too far ahead and to take each day by day.

Please consider making a donation as we walk to raise money for research and awareness at the 6th Annual Vancouver Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada, Sunday, September 29th, 2013. It took 2 years for Bryce to be diagnosed. Those two years could have been spent on early intervention. It’s with your donation that families won’t have to wait as long. Please help. Thank you for your support and contribution!

Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada

Follow our blogs as we share our lives with you and our experiences as people who love someone with autism.
http://www.BubblesMakeHimSmile.com

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya, Daniel, and Bryce

Donate here: http://events.autismspeaks.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=16164&referrer=cmr:99E426AA2124

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back to School with Walmart

I am a fan of Walmart. I love their selection. I love their prices. I love the people. I used to work there. I am just a huge fan. So of course Walmart’s my go to place for back to school savings for Bryce.

Walmart had all of our back to school needs... Just don’t go the day before school... It was a zoo!

Today’s mission: First day of school outfit.

Ok, so the first day of school is really just an hour of chaos and nobody really is paying attention to what so-and-so is wearing, but there’s something about the whole back to school, first day of school, or first impressions, I don’t know, that’s important to me.

Bryce has grown out of all his jeans, so that was a must, and as for t-shirts, the quality is not bad for what you pay for, but I think Bryce has also out grown the cheesy graphic and licensed tees. I was looking for something basic and simple just to peak under a hoodie. They had a sale on jeans for $8.00 a pair so I grabbed one in every style in his size and we hit the fitting room. On my way there, found a basic white tee for $4.00. Perfect! Sold!

He tried on a pair of straight leg jeans with an adjustable waist band and it fit perfectly! Sold!

Didn’t find any hoodies that had colour, which is what his back to school outfit was missing, so he’ll be wearing something from last season that still fits. Thanks to my husband for kindly being a display rack for me.

Wishing everyone that’s starting school tomorrow an amazing day!

Follow us on Facebook and get early access to see Bryce’s first day of school picture!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Ever Bikers For Autism Festival

Today marked the first ever Bikers For Autism (BFA) Festival, presented by Barnes Harley Davidson, as a kick-off to Bikers For Autism’s two-week charity ride to California. We had the honour of being part of it!

Bikers For Autism started as a passionate father and son team (John and James Baker) that strive to make a difference in the lives of children, adults, and families across Canada affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Inspired by a close family member’s journey to raise their six-year old son diagnosed with autism and driven by the chance to fulfill a life long dream of riding across the country on Harleys, Bikers For Autism set out on a 43 day mission in 2012 to spread their message of awareness across an entire country. Backed by the support of Autism Speaks Canada, Barnes Harley Davidson, Lords Of Gastown, Music Heals, and Red Truck Brewery, these two Bikers were able to make a far bigger impact then they ever thought possible.

Extremely huge thanks to James Baker, founder of Bikers for Autism, for having us at his event. We blew bubbles and sold our bubble blowers with partial proceeds benefiting Bikers for Autism and we were very happy to be a part of James journey!

Festivities for today’s event included incredible bands, pig-roast, skateboarding demo, on-site vendors, silent auction, tattoo parlour, barber shop, children’s games and entertainment, face painting, bike detailing, special appearances by Darth Vader of the 501st Legion, Andrew the Crazy Canuck and Kyle Banta, along with representation and full resources from several local autism service providers and children’s charities. Proceeds raised from the event went towards making a difference in the lives of children, adults and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia.

We’d like to give a huge shout out and thank you to our two friends, Andrew the Crazy Canuck and Kyle Banta, for their continued support and helping us blow bubbles for everyone.

We’d also like to thank Sandra and her son, Justin of Jr Media Group - Justin Ruscheinski Photography, for their support as well and beautiful hearts promoting autism awareness, oh and blowing bubbles with us, too!

We had a blast blowing bubbles for everyone and hope everyone enjoyed our bubbles!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bikers for #Autism BFA Festival

Join us on Sunday, August 25th, 2013 for Bikers for Autism (BFA) first ever BFA Festival, presented by Barnes Harley Davidson as a kick-off to Bikers For Autism’s two-week charity ride to California. All proceeds raised will go towards making a difference in the lives of children, adults and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia.

We will be blowing bubbles and selling our bubble blowers with partial proceeds benefiting Bikers for Autism.

Bikers For Autism Festival 2013 Flyer

Bikers for Autism and Barnes Harley Davidson welcomes 99.3 The Fox to present Head of the Herd and special guests Sadie Campbell, Tonye Aganaba and The Foundation at the Barnes Harley-Davidson dealership located at 8859 201st Street in Langley, BC starting at 11:00 a.m. Festivities will include a pig-roast, skateboarding demo, on-site vendors, silent auction, tattoo parlour, barber shop, children’s games/entertainment, face painting, bike detailing along with representation and full resources from several local autism service providers and children’s charities, and of course, bubbles!

“We are more than thrilled to be partnering with Barnes Harley-Davidson for the biggest event so far in Bikers for Autism’s history. This will make a huge difference for families living with autism in BC,” James Baker, BFA founder. 

Bikers For Autism started as a passionate father and son team (John & James Baker) that strive to make a difference in the lives of children, adults and families across Canada affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Inspired by a close family member’s journey to raise their six-year old son diagnosed with autism and driven by the chance to fulfill a life long dream of riding across the country on Harleys. Bikers For Autism set out on a 43 day mission in 2012 to spread their message of awareness across an entire country. Backed by the support of Autism Speaks Canada, Barnes Harley Davidson, Lords Of Gastown, Music Heals, and Red Truck Brewery these two Bikers were able to make a far bigger impact then they ever thought possible.

1 in every 88 children born in Canada and the USA are affected by some form of Autism. This year, immediately following BFA Fest at 4:30 pm join the team of 5 Bikers For Autism for a ride out to the Peace Arch Border Crossing via VPD Drill Team escort as BFA sets out on a 2 week ride for awareness to California.

For more information on Bikes for Autism: www.BikesForAutism.com

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Have a great Marpole Day!

Today we teamed up with Choices Markets, Western Canada’s largest retailer of natural and organic food, and blew bubbles and sold our bubble blowers at their booth at Connecting Marpole Day to help raise autism awareness and funds for Autism Speaks Canada.

Choices Markets partnered up with Autism Speaks Canada and hosted a 12 day “Autism Speaks Puzzle Piece Campaign” in its Greater Vancouver Area stores to raise funds for Autism Speaks Canada. During the campaign, customers could purchase Autism Speaks Canada puzzle pieces in-store at the checkout for $1.00, with all proceeds benefiting the 6th Annual Vancouver Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising and awareness event, which takes place on September 29th, 2013 at Stanley Park.

To help raise additional funds, Choices Markets hosted a series of barbeques today at their Vancouver and Kelowna locations, with the exception of their Kerrisdale location, which participated at Connecting Marpole Day in lieu of the barbeque.

Connecting Marpole Day celebrates multicultural, intergenerational, and artistic diversity in the community.

Local musicians and entertainers performed throughout the day and their were some activities for kids, and of course, bubbles!

We’d like to thank Marpole Place Neighbourhood for inviting us into their community! We’d also like to thank Choices Markets for having us and letting us blow bubbles and sell our bubble blowers to promote autism awareness!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Friday, August 9, 2013

Connecting Marpole Day

Tomorrow we will team up with Choices Markets, Western Canada’s largest retailer of natural and organic food, and blow bubbles and sell our bubble blowers at their booth at Connecting Marpole Day to help raise autism awareness and funds for Autism Speaks Canada.

Feel free to come by and check out our booth!

When: Saturday, August 10th, 2013 - 11am to 3pm – Rain or shine
Where: 70th & Hudson Street, Vancouver (Kerrisdale)

Connecting Marpole Day 2013

Choices Markets partnered up with Autism Speaks Canada and hosted a 12 day “Autism Speaks Puzzle Piece Campaign” in its Greater Vancouver Area stores to raise funds for Autism Speaks Canada. During the campaign, customers could purchase Autism Speaks Canada puzzle pieces in-store at the checkout for $1.00, with all proceeds benefiting the 6th Annual Vancouver Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising and awareness event, which takes place on September 29th, 2013 at Stanley Park.

To help raise additional funds, Choices Markets will be hosting a series of barbeques tomorrow at their Vancouver and Kelowna locations, with the exception of their Kerrisdale location, which will be participating in Connecting Marpole Day in lieu of the barbeque. Visit Choices Markets to find a store near you.

Connecting Marpole Day celebrates multicultural, intergenerational, and artistic diversity in the community. Local musicians and entertainers will perform throughout the day and their will be some activities for kids, and of course, bubbles!

Hope to see you there!

For more information about this event, please follow Marpole Place Neighbourhood House on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

GIVEAWAY: Criss-Cross Apple Sauce (CLOSED)

‘Criss-Cross Apple Sauce’ means to sit on your butt, cross-legged and hands crossed on your lap. It’s something we picked up from daycare a long time ago and we still use it to let Bryce know when we want him to sit nicely.

Bryce folds his hands together and walks up to strangers and says, “You do Criss-Cross Apple Sauce” and gets people to cross their hands too. It’s really cute. Now we want to see YOU Criss-Cross Apple Sauce!

Share your ‘Criss-Cross Apple Sauce’ pictures on our Facebook for a chance to win one of our Bubble Blowers! We’ll announce the random winner on our Facebook on Thursday, August 1st, 2013!

Contest closes Wednesday, July 31st, 2013!

Good luck!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No work and all Playland

Daniel and Bryce were at the 6th Annual Vancouver Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kick Off event at Playland last month blowing bubbles and showing their support. However, the rain prevented them from going on any rides, so they were given one-day passes to go another day.

Today was that day.

Daniel took the day off work so we could go in the middle of the week in hopes of avoiding chaotic line ups and heavy crowds. Their was just the right amount of people there. Check out An Autism Guide to Playland for more tips on going to an amusement park with a child with special needs.

We got to Playland around noon and spent the rest of the day galloping, scrambling, sliding, spinning, swinging, and screaming.

It was the best day ever!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Check out more pictures of our day at Playland on our Facebook page.

Special thanks again to Autism Speaks Canada for giving us a rain check so we could enjoy Playland another day! We had a blast!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pee is for Problem.

Bryce started peeing his pants.

We’re not talking ‘accidents’. We’re talking flat out, doesn’t want to do what he’s told, didn’t get his way, engaged in something and doesn’t want to stop to use the bathroom, going through a half a dozen pairs of underwear a day, full blown peeing his pants on demand incidences.

I have no idea why he is peeing his pants but it only happens at home when we tell him something that he doesn’t want to do.

We tell him it’s bed time and he’d pee his pants.

We tell him he has to stop doing something and he’d pee his pants.

We tell him it’s time to go somewhere and he’d pee his pants.

We have resorted to taking him to the bathroom before we tell him anything so he can’t pee his pants.

My first thought was that he was doing it for attention but we give him so much attention that it just couldn’t possibly be that. Then I thought about it more. Maybe it was for the attention. Like a game.

The first time it happened he was getting into bed and I noticed his underwear was wet and I said, “Bryce! Did you go pee-pee?” and he said, “No, pee-pee pants bad. Stay dry.” I said, “Take it off and get new underwear.” He’d take it off and go get another pair and repeat, “Take off, get new underwear.”

The next time it happened he was getting ready for bed and I noticed but before I could say anything he said something like, “Sorry. No pee pee. Stay dry. Take off, get new underwear.”

It was almost scripted.

I have no idea how to make it stop other than trying to prevent it. Any thoughts?

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nothing else mattered anymore

12 years ago today you were born.

I remember the first time I held you in my arms and how I knew at that moment that nothing else mattered anymore.

Happy birthday, Bryce!

I love you with all my heart!

Love mommy

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It’s too hot for hair!

Vancouver is known for rain, but the last couple of days we have had our share of summer with temperatures of 30-32 degrees Celsius (for those of you laughing right now, that’s very hot for us!)

With hot weather comes sweat and with sweat comes sweaty hair. You know what that means? Yup, it was time for Bryce to get a haircut!

I loved his last hair cut that we got from Chatters, but I just wanted to buzz it all off because it’s too hot for hair and I can do that at home.

Doesn’t he look impressed? At least he’s not sweating anymore!

The aftermath...

And here’s the final results! Not too bad if I do say so myself!

Do you get your hair cut just for summer? Share it on our Facebook page!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tips for a Successful Birthday Party at the Movies

Bryce’s 12th birthday party today at the movie theatre watching Monsters University was a complete success so I figured I’d share everything we did and give some tips for having a birthday party at the movies.

Invitations – Since we were going to the movies I made the invitations look like movie tickets. You can download and customize the template to go with any movie you are going to see.

Name tags – Name tags are a must for me at any event. In Monsters University they are going to school and have their own Monsters University Student Identification Cards, so I made student identification cards for all of our guests and used monsters from the movie as their photo identification. It’s perfect for name tags, table place cards, or labeling your party favour loot bags!

Birthday cake – We ended up ordering our cake at our local Safeway grocery store. Unfortunately Safeway didn’t carry any Monsters Inc. or Monsters University trademark cake designs and apparently you’re not allowed to just give them a design that is protected to print onto the cake due to copyright laws. Their is a loop around it though! If you create your own design using images that aren’t in the book of cake designs at your bakery, and they won’t let you just give them a design due to copyright laws, then you can get that design developed into a photo. When it’s developed into a photo it’s technically your property. Weird way to have to go about it, but it’s legal!

Decorations and Party favours – One big piece of advice: If you are having a party at the movies and the movie hasn’t been out for awhile, or it’s not a big named movie, you may have difficulty finding decorations or party favours to match it at your local retail stores. I called everywhere I could think of twice with no luck. I ended up finding a Canadian website called Open A Party that had everything I was looking for and more! The prices were perfect! The only problem was that we’d have to pay extra in shipping (almost the same cost as our purchase) to ensure it arrived in time for the party. After contacting Open A Party, they offered to help pay for the extra shipping fees, and we got our decorations on time and in our budget! If you are buying your decorations online, make sure you buy them 2-3 weeks in advance.

Thank you cards – We were thankful for all of our guests taking a day out of their summer break and Canada Day long weekend to celebrate Bryce’s birthday with us! Always remember your P’s and Q’s!

Ok, so all of that is done and it’s time for the party.

Tip #1: The movie theatre birthday party coordinator recommended that our guests arrive 30 minutes before the movie showtime to have time to order popcorn and drinks and decide where everyone was going to sit in our reserved section in the theatre to watch the movie.

Reality: We arrived 45 minutes early so we could meet our hostess, decorate the party room, and get settled in. Then we waited for our guests to arrive, and waited, and waited some more. After everyone was accounted for, we placed our order for popcorn and drinks and headed to the theatre and didn’t have time to arrange who was sitting where. Turns out somehow we were 5 minutes late and the movie pre-shows had already started which meant we were walking into a dark theatre and couldn’t really talk to set up seating. It ended up working out, but it just would of been nice to go in earlier and feel a little less rushed and a lot more organized.

Suggestion: Make sure you are in the theatre 5-10 minutes before showtime so you can get organized. If possible, ask your host to direct any late guests to the theatre, and make sure you make room for them too!

Tip #2: Make sure you and your movie theatre birthday party coordinator are on the same page. They may be hosting the party, but you’re paying for it to go the way you want it to go. I must of called them a dozen times with questions and confirming things. I made sure we could tape up decorations. I confirmed what they provided as far as food and utensils went. I even asked at one point if they provided a knife to cut the birthday cake and what size their tables were for table covers. I was thorough. They probably thought I was nuts. Anyways, when I started to order the decorations and party favours I wanted to order these cute Monsters University keepsake cups but Daniel insisted that the Kids Tray Combos came with a collectors cup and topper themed from major movies that were playing. I called and asked if the Popcorn Parties Kids Tray Combo came with collectors cups and it was confirmed that they did. You could only imagine how thrilled I was when she told me what kind: Monsters University Collectors Cups! It was going to save us money and it went with our theme!

Reality: Each guest got a Kids Tray Combo which included a popcorn, a drink, and a treat. What they didn’t get, which I was so very disappointed and angry about since I did call and ask about it... yup, you guessed it, there was no Monsters University collectors cup and topper that I was assured came with the Popcorn Parties Kids Tray Combo order. Next time I’m getting these minor, yet meaningful things in writing.

Tip #3: Your party package comes with a host. Take advantage of this so you can enjoy the party too!

Reality: I cut the cake and my friend handed it out to our guests. Our hostess helped serve it too. I started picking up empty cups and plates to throw into the garbage. Our hostess helped clean too. She was doing a great job. It was me that didn’t let her do it. I just kept playing the mom role.

Suggestion: You really have to sit back and enjoy the party and assume this ain’t your hostess’s first rodeo!

The only thing I didn’t like about having a birthday party at the movies is that you didn’t know what the exact time of your party starts until the Tuesday before the weekend of your party. This made it very difficult to give your guests a time. Instead, you had to give them a time frame, give or take an hour. So you’d have to contact all your guests who were coming and let them know the exact time. If that doesn’t bother you, then you should start planning your next birthday party at the movies now because it’s great!

After all said and done, Bryce had a great time, and that’s all that matters.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

P.S. Monsters University was pretty good for a prequel. :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Monsters University thank you cards

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Our invitations were made and sent out, name tags were made, birthday cake was ordered, decorations and party favours were ordered, so the last thing to do was make Monsters University thank you cards.

Not only is it the first weekend of summer break but it’s also Canada Day long weekend, so we are definitely thankful for our guests for joining us to celebrate Bryce’s birthday.

Going along with the Monsters University theme, I found a graphic online of all the monsters in the movie and printed it onto the paper and then folded the card like a tent.

Then Bryce and I sat down together as I wrote a little thank you message and Bryce signed the card. (He’s very into writing letters in cursive lately.)

Stay tuned this weekend to see how Bryce’s Monsters University birthday party went!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monsters University decorations and party favours from OpenAParty.com

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Our invitations were made and sent out, name tags were made, birthday cake was ordered, so the next thing to do was get Monsters University themed decorations and party favours.

Last year Bryce’s birthday theme was World Wresting Entertainment and our only option for WWE decorations was purchasing them online but we couldn’t afford it so I ended up making my own.

This year turned out to be just as much of a challenge finding anything remotely Monsters University party supplies-ish. I tried every local store, twice! Nothing in stock! I knew my options. Bust out the felt paints to create my own decorations again or cross our fingers to find affordable products online with affordable, reasonable, extremely cheap shipping to Canada.

Open A Party: Great Party's Start Here! Canada's #1 Birthday & Party Supplies Store!

That’s when I discovered Open A Party: Great Parties Start Here! Canada’s #1 Birthday & Party Supplies Store!

Open A Party had everything I was looking for and more! The prices were perfect! To put it in perspective, five party favour items for 8 people (including the cost of the loot bag itself) was $2.56 per person including tax! Crazy awesome, right?

Each loot bag contains:

  • a sheet of Monsters University stickers
  • a Monsters University party mask
  • a Monsters University eraser
  • a Monsters University note pad
  • and of course, the loot bag

We also got 8 party hats and 8 blowouts, and a scene setter to use as a backdrop for pictures ($16.77 CDN total including tax). Like I said, perfect!

One problem. If I placed my order that day (Monday, June 24th, 2013) then I wouldn’t get it in the mail until Thursday, July 4th, 2013 (6 days too late.) We couldn’t afford to pay for faster shipping (it was almost as much as are purchase).

I was about to give up on the idea of buying decorations when I was browsing around their website and read that they encourage you to put the date you require your package by when you place your order. That way, if for whatever reason, they can’t get it to you by then, they can contact you to either arrange for faster delivery or to refund your purchase. Maybe they could rush my order!?

I decided to place my order anyways and in the comments section, I wrote this:

To whom it may concern,
My son has autism and is currently into Monsters University so we are celebrating his 12th birthday this upcoming weekend at the movie theatre watching Monsters University. I figured I’d make it a theme party and find decorations to match and have been looking all over my community for anyone selling anything and even party supply stores aren’t carrying the products despite the movie coming out last Friday. So I turned to the Internet, and for a week comparing prices and costs and what someone had in stock and such and just discovered yours this weekend. I wanted to speak with a Live Agent that you mention on your website information pages, however I don’t see any where to click to talk to one, so I’m sending this message along with my order and my fingers crossed instead as I don’t have time to wait for email conversations back and forth.

Here’s my story. I really would like these products no later than Friday, June 28th, 2013 without having to pay the $40-$50 extra in shipping (almost the same as what’s in my shopping cart.) I’m not able to afford it. On your website you write, “Our party specialists will be able to tell you if it is possible to ship your party sooner then the estimated delivery date given by Canada Post. Often we can prioritize your party and ship it faster if your party is soon,” and I hope that means you work with your customers. Is their anyway I can pay the $11.95 and get it here no later than Friday? I know I’m a little late on ordering things online for a party that’s in 5 days, but I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to afford this party as is, and I just want my son to be happy and his friends to go home with memories created by your products. My husband and I write a blog where we share our lives and experiences as people who love someone with autism if you’d like to know more about our story: http://www.BubblesMakeHimSmile.com and we hope we can share his birthday party memories their too! THANKS SO MUCH! Hope to work with you.

The next day I didn’t hear back from anyone so I followed up, and an Open A Party representative quickly replied:

Hi Tanaya,
Yes your order is packed and ready to ship today. It will arrive on July 3rd using the shipping method you choose at checkout. I have spoken to my supervisor and we can upgrade your shipping to FedEx Economy to arrive on the Friday the 28th, the cost of this is $38. We will pay part of it but will still require an additional payment of $6.00. Please let me know if you want to proceed with the order or not today. I will invoice you now for the $6 and it can be paid by credit or PayPal. If payment is received by 3pm today your order will ship out.

Kind regards,
Cindy

Wow! I was not expecting that at all! I figured they were going to either ask for the full cost of priority shipping or refund my money to cancel my order. But to help pay for it? It’s just so amazing! We’re so appreciative! I’m still at a loss for words even as I write this.

We’d like to give a huge shout out and big thanks to Open A Party – Canada’s #1 Birthday and Party Supplies Store, for graciously helping us cover the costs of priority shipping so we could receive Bryce’s decorations on time without breaking the bank.

If you haven’t guessed it already, our order came in the mail today (two days before Bryce’s birthday party, and a day earlier than expected) and everything is perfect! So this is our loot bag! We added our Monsters University name tags to add a personal touch, and that’s that!

We’re probably going to get a couple dollar store table covers and balloons to match the colour scheme, but I think we’re pretty much ready for this party!

Stay tuned all this week for more Monsters University birthday party updates and ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

PS I realize this is a long blog post just to show the decorations and party favours we got from Open A Party, but I wanted to share how great people can be! Thanks again, Open A Party!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Monsters University birthday cake

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Our invitations were made and sent out, name tags were made, so the next thing to do was get a Monsters University birthday cake.

We’ve been getting Bryce’s birthday cake from the same bakery for as long as I can remember. This year their prices went up and trying to stay on budget, we ended up ordering our cake at our local Safeway grocery store. Unfortunately Safeway didn’t carry any Monsters Inc. or Monsters University trademark cake designs and apparently you’re not allowed to just give them a design that is protected to print onto the cake due to copyright laws.

Their is a loop around it though!

If you create your own design using images that aren’t in the book of cake designs at your bakery, and they won’t let you just give them a design due to copyright laws, then you can get that design developed into a photo. When it’s developed into a photo it’s technically your property. Weird way to have to go about it, but it’s legal!

The cake won’t be ready until Saturday, but I’ll update this post with a picture so you can see what it looks like.

Stay tuned all this week for more Monsters University birthday party updates and ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Update: Here’s our Monsters University birthday cake.

A piece of advice, be careful if you get coloured icing... the blue icing stained everyone’s lips, teeth, and tongue!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monsters University name tags

Bryce’s 12th birthday party is this weekend and we’re going to the movies to watch Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Our invitations were made and sent out, so the next thing to do was make Monsters University name tags because their were a lot of people are coming!

Seeing as some people may not know each other, I wanted to make name tags for our guests to wear. Since I’ve made everything about this party Monsters University themed, I immediately thought of making Monsters University student identification cards! Cute idea, right?

Bryce's Monsters University Student Identification Card

Well, this isn’t my idea, as a lot of other people seemed to have shared my thought too, but I ended up downloading an identification card graphic online and making my own customizable template. It turns out that you can create your own Monsters University Student and Faculty Identification Cards online using Pixar Place’s MU ID Maker! It’s perfect for name tags, table place cards, or labeling your party favour loot bags!

I made faculty identifications cards for me and Daniel to wear and student identification cards for all of our guests and used monsters from the movie as their photo identification.

Dean Hardscrabble Monsters University Faculty Identification Card
Dean Hardscrabble, Faculty

Professor Knight Monsters University Faculty Identification Card
Professor Knight, Faculty

Here’s the student identification cards I made for Bryce’s guests. There are way more monsters to choose from for the photo identification, but I just used the ones most people are familiar with and also members from the Python Nu Kappa (PNK) sorority.

I seriously had too much fun with this...

James P. Sullivan (Sulley) Monsters University Student Identification Card
James P. Sullivan (Sulley), Student

Mike Wazowski Monsters University Student Identification Card
Mike Wazowski, Student

Randall (Randy) Bogg Monsters University Student Identification Card
Randall (Randy) Boggs, Student

Scott (Squishy) Squibbles Monsters University Student Identification Card
Scott (Squishy) Squibbles, Student

Don Carlton's Monsters University Student Identification Card
Don Carlton, Student

Terri Perry Monsters University Student Identification Card
Terri Perry, Student

Terry Perry Monsters University Student Identification Card
Terry Perry, Student

Art Monsters University Student Identification Card
Art, Student

Naomi Jackson Monsters University Student Identification Card
Naomi Jackson, Student

Carrie Williams Monsters University Student Identification Card
Carrie Williams, Student

Heather Olson Monsters University Student Identification Card
Heather Olson, Student

Crystal Du Bois Monsters University Student Identification Card
Crystal Du Bois, Student

Britney Davis Monsters University Student Identification Card
Britney Davis, Student

Taylor Holbrook Monsters University Student Identification Card
Taylor Holbrook, Student

If you click on a graphic it will open into the actual size so feel free to save it and edit it, or just save it and print it, and write in the name by hand!

Stay tuned all this week for more Monsters University birthday party updates and ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya