Thursday, July 28, 2016

DIY with mama saigh: Party games and decor.

I returned to The Jason Show over at FOX 9 this week, for another "DIY with Mama Saigh" segment.

This time, I shared ideas on how to create fun party-games and decor for kid's birthday parties. Our little girl will be turning FIVE YEARS OLD on August 8th, so we will be doing a lot of these ideas for her party!

Pirate party decor, using old cardboard boxes, and a skeleton I found at Party City.


Need: Sandbox (Fleet Farm), sand (Fleet Farm has 50 lb. bags for under $3), shovels & pails, treasures (I used Ring Pops, necklaces, chocolate gold coins, and plastic gold coins from Party City).


Need: Clear glass or plastic bottles (we saved beer bottles from the cabin this summer), paper for clues, Styrofoam coolers for treasure chests (Fleet Farm), paint and gems to decorate treasure chests (JoAnn Fabric & Craft Stores), treasures for inside treasure chest (we used freezies to look like jewels, and packed the coolers/treasure boxes with ice).

How To: Split your child's party guests into two teams (with a couple adults on each team to help read the clues, and keep the teams working together). Give them their first clue on a piece of paper, that will lead them on their hunt for "buried treasure". You can put the paper clues inside glass bottles (make sure the clues stick out of the top for easy accessibility), and hide them in various spots at your party venue (city parks are an inexpensive option and easy option, but make sure you have an adult monitoring each clue location, so other park-goers don't accidentally take the bottled clues). For our two treasure boxes (one for each team), we painted and decorated styrofoam coolers, filled them with ice and jewel-colored freezies. A fun treat at the end of the treasure hot, on a hot summer day!


Fish-netting, necklaces, gold coins, and Ring Pops from Party City. Pirate Booty, Granola Coins, and
baskets from Target.

Need: Small bags of chips or snacks, clothes pins, ribbon or strong string

* The snack bags are a great alternative to making or buying bunting for decoration. Plus, they're easily accessible to your little party guests!


The first time I'd ever witnessed this game, was when we were living in Singapore. This is a photo of our friends'
kiddos playing the "Donuts on a String" game. I think the game explains itself:)

Need: Medium or large donuts, ribbon or strong string, long stick/pole/board


Need: Old cabinet door or wood board, two cabinet door pulls/handles (found ours at Target), chalkboard paint (JoAnn Fabrics & Craft Stores), regular paint, drill, screws, paint brush, foam brush, sandpaper (optional, for distressed look), and painters tape.

How To: Sand down, then paint or stain your base board. Let dry, then screw in door pulls. Use painters tape to create whatever size chalkboard square you'd like in the middle of your board. Use a foam brush to paint a layer of chalkboard paint inside the painters tape. Let dry, apply a second coat, and once that's dry (about 24 hours), peel painters tape off and enjoy! This is a fun way to make birthday cake and breakfast in bed a little more personal, with a note for the birthday boy or girl written in chalk.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mama saigh's red carpet interviews for us weekly.

Photo in the Pioneer Press of Mama Saigh interviewing Jay leno.
I have to admit, doing celebrity interviews on the red carpet as a one-man-band is not the easiest thing to do. I spent years as a one-man-band, reporting on the news in Austin and Rochester, MN. But never on the red carpet. As a former TV reporter in the Twin Cities, I'm used to having a photographer film my interviews, while I have fun with the people I'm interviewing. While I still had SO much fun on the Starkey Gala's red carpet this past weekend, it was a brand new experience for me. And let's be honest, I'm used to wearing yoga pants and pineapple hair-dos on a daily basis, so getting all fancy and having a kid-free afternoon/evening was a nice change of pace. I was doing some freelance work for US Weekly Magazine on Sunday, and my editor gave me the questions to ask the celebs on the red carpet. Some of the celebs would have chatted with me forever, while others where whisked down the red carpet by their handlers. Jennifer Garner was incredibly sweet, posing for a few press photos, but she didn't stop to talk to any media. Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper shook a few hands, and posed for some photos, but handlers kept them moving down the red carpet, and shut down any press questions. The Starkey Gala is such an incredible event, and a wonderful organization right here in the Twin Cities, doing some amazing work for people all over the world. I feel lucky to have been a part of it. Here are a few of the interviews I did on the red carpet...

(Jay Leno. He was so nice and hilarious. And his eyes are a mesmerizing shade of blue/green!)

(That time I was dissed by British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.)

(Dascha Polanco from Orange is the New Black. Being a huge OITNB fan, meeting her was such an honor. This lovely lady keeps it REAL!)

(Maddie & Tae. Ah, to be young again. They have so much energy.)

(American Idol winner, Trent Harmon, and his girlfriend Kathleen. Super sweet couple, and she is stunning! I wish I would have gotten a better shot of her dress.)

(The Massey brothers. Very entertaining.)

(Steven Bauer from Scarface, and his girlfriend Lyda Loudon. She's gorgeous... And very young.)

(Frankie Muniz and his girlfriend. Wasn't recording when she gave me her name. Oops!)

Mama Saigh on the red carpet. Dress from my neighbor's closet (thanks Keely!), hair and make-up by Mama Saigh,
and tan line provided by the days at the pool with the kids. SO glam;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

MyKid pod: Bluetooth kid-tracker.

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a MyKid Pod to one of you! To enter for your chance(s) to win, simply comment on this blog post below with your first and last name, and city you reside in, and/or share the contest post on your Facebook page. This contest is open to US residents only, and all entries must be completed by 8 p.m. (CST) on Sunday, July 31st, 2016. One winner will be randomly selected and announced on this blog. Each person is allowed one blog entry, and one Facebook entry. Good luck!

REVIEW: While there was a time I actually had our daughter on a leash (it was a backpack leash, and we were traveling throughout Asia), I cringe every time I look back at those photos of her wearing it. However, our daughter was our only child at the time, she wasn't even two years old, and we were two, frantic, first-time parents, trying to navigate through busy, crowded airports. I feel like Papa Saigh and I have come a long way since our "helicopter-parenting" days. Our first child is now almost five years old, we've added another kiddo into the mix (Baby Jimmy is eight months old), and we're back to living in the 'burbs of Minnesota. While I've made a personal promise to never put my child on a leash again, there are still times when I miss her leash-wearing days. And I'm sure we'll feel the same when Baby Jimmy becomes mobile.

Enter the brand new MyKid Pod: A bluetooth kid-tracker with a slap-style bracelet that your child wears comfortably on his or her wrist.

We decided to try this device out on our 4-year-old, as we've started to give her more freedom when running around our very kid-friendly neighborhood.

The MyKid Pod is more than just a monitor that alerts your smartphone when your child runs off. It also has an alarm on the bracelet that alerts your child when they've wondered too far, and allows you to track and instantly locate them. The bracelet works without a cellular data plan, and can be used indoors and outdoors. Parents can set a range that they're comfortable with their child exploring (10 to 150/200-ish feet). Downloading the tracking app onto my iPhone was super simple, and only took a couple minutes to set up. While it's NOT a replacement for parent supervision (duh!), it gives parents the opportunity to give their child a little more freedom, while still knowing where they are at all times.

Linna loved slapping the bracelet on and off her wrists, and she'd wear the device even when I didn't have it turned on. We first tested it out with me inside our house, and her wondering outside (we wanted to see how far 150-ish feet really was). When Linna is playing with her friends in the neighborhood, 150-ish feet doesn't give her very much freedom to explore. However, we are very relaxed about letting Linna play at friends' houses in the neighborhood, since she is almost five years old. For kids who fall into that age range, where they're too little to explore without direct adult-supervision, but still big enough to "test the waters", the MyKid Pod is a great solution. It teaches little ones' about boundaries, while allowing parents' to find their "comfort zone" with their little adventurer.

At under $35, the MyKid Pod is an affordable option for many parents. I've reached out to the company about the possibility of creating a monitoring device with a larger tracking-range for older kids, and they've told me that they'll be putting more resources into something like this, once their first two products are off the ground. I'm very excited to see more from this product line!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Crayola experience at the mall of america.

There's a brand new, permanent exhibit for kids of all ages at the Mall of America! Last month, the 4-year-old, Baby Jimmy, and I went to go check out the Crayola Experience on the third level of the MOA, and let me tell you... It's AMAZING!

Linna and Baby Jimmy outside the Crayola Experience at the Mall of America.

While there's a little bit of a sticker shock on the admission cost, I can tell you first hand that it is completely worth it. We spent three hours inside the Crayola Experience, but we could have stayed for the entire day. So, we ended up getting a membership, as they put the cost of our initial admission toward the cost of an annual membership. Plus, all summer long you can use this discounted ticket link (Password: MNBABY) to get tickets to the Crayola Experience for $13.99 (reg. $19.99)!

Our 4-year-old couldn't get enough of all the hands-on and interactive experiences in this exhibit. She made and named her own Crayola crayons, got to color on life-size statues of animals, melted crayons into molds, starred in her own fashion show, made her own puzzle, and so much more. The have a toddler play-area, and big play-gym for the older kids. She also loved the giant Lite-Brite wall.

Linna spent a lot of time running back and forth through the Rainbow Rain interactive video screen, which allows kids to "magically" catch melting wax with their hands and body...

We also both loved the Rockin' Paper experience...

I couldn't stop cracking up as Linna wiggled her body in front of the special crayon screens inside the "Doodle in the Dark" area. She also thought it was hilarious...

It's an understatement to say that we didn't schedule enough time during our first visit to the Crayola Experience. Next time, we plan to hit up the Cafe, and maybe do a little shopping in the candy store. This is going to be one of our go-to places in the Twin Cities on unbearable summer days, rainy days, and cold winter days. We hope this exhibit is really here to stay!