An Elephant and Purple Glitter Birthday Party

Sweet, simple and special. Using elephants, glitter and the color scheme purple and grey for my little lady who’s turning 3 this year.  My dear friend Julia at the blog A Little Bee Told Me helped me out with the invitations, decorations, some of the stickers and labels.

Let’s set up and decorate.  This has to be one of my favorite steps.  I spend weeks collecting and thinking thru each area so to see it come together is just the best moment for me.  I often try not to buy items and just collect items that are already around my house.  It doesn’t have to be expensive to be special.

IMG_4729

I went a bit nuts and yes taped purple labels on the waters and used a cookie cutter for the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  But I will say because they were cute they didn’t last and were gobbled up.  You can also get a glimpse of the birthday girl in her purple tutu.  To read about her love of tutus click here.  I used a roll of paper under all the serving dishes.  It was a super cute and easy way to label all the food without having to put much work into it, just a purple marker.

This year’s dessert was, the classic, cake and ice cream.  I pre-scooped black raspberry ice cream into cup cake wrappers so it was easy to serve and looked cute on the plate.  Audra at Mad Hatter Bakery worked her magic and mixed up this beautiful cake.

IMG_4696

We had to complement the cake with some sweet treats.  My mother-in-love’s first attempt at cake pops and my first attempt at frosted rice krispy treats.  They were yummy and we both have be perfected their look over time.

Party favors were small and simple.  I actually used white boxes that were left over from our wedding hotel welcome packages.  They were perfect.  Printed the elephants on sticker paper and a sharpie marker and they were all set.

 

We’ve been very lucky to have such beautiful weather during our children’s birthday parties.  Being outside is such a part of childhood that, we welcome.  We are blessed with lots of family and friends so to fit them in our small house would be so comical.

 

To see my son’s 3rd birthday party with a Firemen & Dalmatian theme click here.

Advertisements

Visiting the Mouse – Part 3

Part 3 Time to Shop things I purchased ahead of time…

Below is a long list of items that I purchased thru Amazon, our local bi-annual consignment pop up shop; Be Green Sale or from local stores.  I took my time, and enjoyed the hunting and gathering of all these fun little items.  I started long before our trip which allowed me to find the best deals, or be picky on colors.

Disney theme sweatshirt for each kid (lived in them. Plane rides, am & pm chill. It was still 78-85 degrees but cool at night).  Consider that these might become the uniform of your photos so get ones that you like and perhaps coordinate a bit.  I’m not saying matching unless you’re into that.  My kids wore a pink one with Minnie ears and a blue one with Mickey on it.  Of course the characters reacted so well to seeing my kids in them.

Ponchos– one for each person including the toddler.  They are small light and already packed.  We were super lucky and never had to use ours.  It only rained one night after we were back in our rooms.  Those Florida rains come in quick and heavy and leave just as quickly so better to be prepared.

img_7914

Lanyards to hold all those trading pins.  A fun Disney pattern is cool but they do fill up fast and plain colors work just as fine.  I found a 3 pack for $11.42 blue, pink and red. I loved ours they came with a little pouch so we could tuck those pins that slid off in until we got more backs. And I could slip a I’m lost card with info in the back clear pouch.  I also bought a 12 pack of extra backs. They are small and easy to loose plus they are unique so not all fit properly.

Starter pins for trading (found on Amazon 25 pins for $30 the 6 & 17 year olds were into it more than the 2.5 year old.  Honestly I put some pins I knew my daughter would like on my sons lanyard so she’d have to practice trading.

Spinning night time light up toys. The pirate one was $7.99 off Amazon and the Frozen one was from a local consignment sale and cost $5.00 (According to a friend it was $25 at Disney on Ice).  Best time to buy these is right after Halloween.

Stroller Lights–  Nothing like coming off a ride to a dark sea of strollers.  Well worth the money.  Also as you’re trying to navigate a double stroller towards the exit with 1,000’s of the others it’s nice for them to see you coming and not try to step across while you’re rolling a monster truck with you’re two kiddos sound asleep at 10:30pm.  Clip on bike lights work well too.  Please be considerate and turn them off during the firework displays.

Line Buster Games– 6 pack of wedding bubbles, Disney games and Heads Up game loaded on phone.  A Hidden Mickey app or book.  He’s all over the place in carvings, tapestries,  Cast member’s uniforms. Wikki Stix weird name cool toy.

Coloring pads– small little ones, you’re caring around sharpie markers why not get use out of them.  (of course if they can handle a sharpie) lollypops for poping ears on the airplane or again line busters.

I made a sign to identify our stroller in the sea of matching and rental strollers. I also spotted some other very creative people.  Had to snap and share a picture of theirs too.

Clip on Purelle to attach to stroller.  Oh so handy

Individual packaged wet wipes

Disney signature book–  These are so expensive in the park and I doubt the first thing you want to do upon entering is hit the store for a signature book.  Also one zip lock bag that could cover the book in a Florida rain storm. Nothing more disappointing than a smeared keepsake.
Click sharpie markers multi colors (my daughter loved picking colors to match the character’s outfits).  According a secret source the characters like the click sharpies more too.  Easier to use if you’re wearing gloves and easy to close so after they hand it back to your kid they won’t accidentally rub it all over their costume.

Anything Mickey/Minnie was loaded into their backpacks ie lipsmackers, coloring books, dried apple snacks, stickers, hats etc.  I had found these crocks at a consignment sale a year prior it just happen to be perfect timing


Stuffed animal Mickey and Minnie, not the monster size but something manageable.

IMG_5616

Disney add-ons Princess crowns, wands, pirate hats; really anything to make your and your kids feel special.  I am known to rock a good tiara.

Disney World is a safe place, but I always recommend having your contact information located somewhere on your kids.  Write it on the back of their button which is likely to be attached to them or their lanyard full of trading pins.  I also packed the Kids ID bracelets that are simple and available thru my Etsy store.  For those days at the water park or are super sweaty use a ball point pen with Liquid Band-aid over it.  You can also order custom temporary tattoos that work well too.On Wrist

Zip-ties–  I know sounds weird but so helpful.  Our stroller sign kept falling off day one and zip-ties to the rescue.  The strap on my over the shoulder purse broke day 3 zip-ties to the rescue.  You don’t need a lot just a few in a few sizes.

All of the items were packed and brought down.  Yes it takes up room in suitcases going down but they take up just as much room upon your return.  Might as well save a few bucks.  I ended up spending about $270.00 before our trip and $40 in the park for souvenirs we just had to have.  My daughter and I bought new charms for our charm bracelets, twirly lolly pop a new pin for the lanyard, etc.

Duck tape can be so helpful for identifying so many things.  Cut a long strip Put a piece off old rag or paper in the middle and wrap it around a luggage handle trim cloth or paper to size makes a custom bag tag. Our stroller sign was made with duck tape and ribbon and a pre-made wooden frame from Michael’s Craft stores.

Have so much fun.  Remember don’t go overboard, as it is easy to do, and give yourself time so you can enjoy the shopping.  Happy Hunting.

P.S. Don’t forget where you squirrel it away.

 

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Special Adventures

Part 4: Packing & Hunting

Part 5: Here We GO!

Part 6: Playing in the Park 

Part 7: Memories & Lessons Learned

Look Whoo’s Turning Two

This year’s party evolved because of some fabric I found on one of my crafting hunts.  I wanted to make a fun tutu kinda skirt as my little lady would wear a tutu every day of the week if I let her.  We had to narrow it down to Tutu Tuesdays a day when she wasn’t going to be playing in the mud or on the playground at school nor have to ask others to deal with all that tulle.  The fabric I found had owls and sweet girlie colors all over it.  I made it into a tutu for my birthday girl to wear.IMG_2212My good friend Julia at the blog A Little Bee Told Me came thru for me yet again with adorable invitations.

Time to set the tables.  A quick trips thru Michael’s craft stores for wooden owls and stickers were perfect to be sprinkled around the table.  I like to have a special area for the cake to be displayed before we get to dessert.  People love to take a quick peek at the design, as well as it gives me a place to make sure all items are out at ready like plates, candle, knife etc.  My sister was away for the party this year but she found and sent along a special owl plate that the birthday girl used.  IMG_2078IMG_2083Did a little set up of fun activities around the yard for the kids and adults to keep all entertained.  Made the sweet little owls out of paper lanterns and construction paper and a flag for the top of the swing set in the same fabric as the birthday girl’s tutu.  Let say it was a lesson in sewing triangles and took a few tries.  IMG_2080IMG_2079

Playing with Uncle Steve at the sand table is so much fun.  The sand table was also filled with purple glitter to match our theme.

Time for cake!  Thanks to Audra at Mad Hatter Bakery the cake and cupcakes looked adorable and oh so yummy.

Everyone left the party with giant bouncy ball (pictured above) and owl loot bag.   It made for tons of fun all party long in the yard, and it was a gift that would get used by a kid of any size.  IMG_2077

A wonderful time with wonderful weather.  Until next time, a year that will surly fly by.  Enjoy being 2 little lady.

 

To read blogs about my daughter’s other birthdays click below…

A Pink & Green 1st Birthday Party

Creating a kids work station

Creating a space where kids school aged can do work and pre-school kids can be creatively and practice their skills is so important in making sure you lay the foundation for good study skills.

When tight on space the kitchen table often becomes the best option.  As parents prepare dinner; questions can be answered, daydreamers can be brought back down and the unmotivated can be re-directed.  I had to create a quick and easy solution so when it was time for homework to pause and dinner to hit the table it was a quick clean up.

In a quick afternoon project we make this colorful caddy using

  • old soup cans
  • spray paint
  • a ribbon
  • hot glue gun
  • toilet paper tubes

IMG_6202

Wash and clean empty tin cans.  Using a variety of sizes worked well for us.  Peal the paper labels off and get ready for painting.  Spray paint two coats of any color of your choosing.  IMG_6214

Wait until dry and place a vertical line of hot glue on one can.  Press it onto its mate joining them together.  Repeat with additional cans until all 3 cans are glued tightly together.  Place fabric ribbon around all three and glue where they touch the cans and each other.  (The ribbon is purely decorative and doesn’t really provide any structural support in holding the cans together.) I suppose you could wrap the cans in some tight fishing line if you wanted more support, before putting the ribbon over it.

Using toilet paper tubes as dividers in the larger of the cans allows you to separate pencils from pens from highlighters from colored pencils etc.

IMG_6203

As time goes on and you use this caddy more and more you’ll realize what you want to add.  With a first grader we ended up making sure glue and a huge eraser were added.  IMG_6201There are of course tons of other products out there that help solve this need.  I’ve seen them made with plastic shower caddies and those are nice because of the handle.  I’m sure this won’t last forever but it’s gotten 3 good years thus far.

Happy crafting, cheers.

These boots are made for walking 

We are deep into boot season and with the styles including tall boots is there a good way to store them?   

We all dream of that walk in closet devoted to just shoes or the one Tim Allen builds for his wife in the show “Home Improvement” where they rotate to the tune of “The March of the Sugarplum Fairies”.  Yeah, yeah I’m dating myself.  If you have the space a line up is good especially for those that are rigid and will stand up on their own. What do you do with the ones that flop over?  I love this one.  Take a pool noodle insert it into the base of the heal and cut it using a box cutter to be the same height as the boot.  This will hold them in place and keep them clean and in proper shape.  Now finally if you have space with poles use pants hangers and clip them together and hang them from the tops.  Maximizing space and keeping care of the boots.How do you store your boots?  

Chores for Children 

When is it too early for kids to have chores?  Now I’m no child expert but having worked in youth development for 20 years and having two kids of my own; that I haven’t killed yet I feel like I can add my own two cents.  It’s never too early to help around the house. They live there don’t they? And some day you want them to move out and have their own homes. Right?

free download button

(keep reading for your free download link)

As soon as they show an interest is when they should begin.  Toddlers love to sort; why not let them sort plastic plates and sippy cups. When they want to help sweep the floor buy a manageable hand broom or cut the handle off an older one. I got a dust buster hand-held vacuum and my 18month old loves to do the floor after dinner

I’ve attached below the kid chore tags that we’re now using. They were easy to make and were pulled together in an evening of searching the computer.  My kids are not fully reading so I added the pictures and words to help with both sides of the learning.

Print the kids chore tags on card stock, laminate and glue a magnet to them.  I tried hot glue, and than gorilla glue, a heavy duty epoxy kept them stuck.

IMG_7708

We’re trying a few methods.

1. All the tags go up on the magnetic hall door and they move them from top to bottom once completed.  This method was fine but I had to remember to move them back at night as well as pull those that weren’t relevant for the day i.e. trash night.  It also was becoming overwhelming as to trying to complete all the tasks.

2. If they are on the fridge it happens every day but if they are on the freezer door they happen only once a week.  This method worked until the little sibling started pulling them down. I also thought about printing them on different colored paper depending on their frequency.  (Way to supermom for me right now)

3. I select from the bag the chores for the day.  The rest just stay in the zip lock for another day.  This seems to work the best.  It isn’t overwhelming having all the chores out and I can pick and choose the most important for the day.

Let me know what’s happening in your house and if it’s successful.  I’ll take a helping hand anyway I can get it.

Here’s your free download use and enjoy.  Kids Chore Tags

Kindergarten Tissues, Cheers & Tea

Hello Kindergarten and hello new friends.  Did you realize that as your little peanut gets ready to start the journey of education you’re about to begin the journey as “so in so’s mom/dad”. Not only will your little one be making friends that may last the next 13 years and maybe beyond but you are too.

My oldest started last year on this journey and I figured I needed some new people in my village and tribe.  Ones who can talk shop with me when it comes to school politics, policy, and scoop.  I kept my ears open in August kinda hoping that the school, PTG, or 1st grade parents might host something like this. But with no avail I set out to do it on my own.

It was pretty easy. Picked a local coffee shop that was between all the elementary schools, had parking and an area to sit. I wanted to include all the elementary schools as my town has more than one. It made sense because as our kids grow the schools merge; plus the more the merrier. I made a public Facebook event grabbed as many emails as I could from school correspondences and Pre-K friends and hit invite.

I decided hosting it at a local coffee shop was the easiest.  It would have been awkward for people to come to my house. What I really liked is that it was no stress for me. I didn’t have to buy supplies for coffee and food. I left purchase up to each person and they could keep whatever time table they wanted.

The event invitation was worded as so…”Do you have a child entering Kindergarten this fall at insert school names here? Doesn’t matter if it is your first, last, or one in-between. Join other parents in a quick sip before you head to work or start the day. Consider it a chance to meet others who will be walking the same path of school for the next 13 years.  Tissues will be provided but Tea & Coffee will be up to you. Tell your friends and share the invite.”  Set the invite for 10-15 min pass the school bell which allows those that put kids on the bus to get there first; those that drop off to get out of the parking lot, and those of us that followed the bus just to sneak a peak time to drive by.

I did call the coffee shop ahead of time to see if they could do something special for us and to let them know we were coming.  Honestly, I had no idea how many people would come. I also made special tissue boxes figuring it could be an ice breaker and let those arriving know where all the Kindergarten parents were. FREE download below.

It worked out great. We had a good group; some came and left on their way to work, some stayed for over an hour and had breakfast. Doing it at school would have been crazy as our schools don’t have tons of parking and teachers and parents are already a bit on edge taking care of our kids and teaching them the ropes.

So now as a first grade mom; I’ll keep my eyes pealed on the first day, for those taking a few extra pictures, giving a few extra hugs and extend a tissue and an invite to coffee.

Have a great school year!

free download button

If you are interested in a FREE tissue box wrap download them here..  You only need to print 2 pages per box so pick your favorite color combos.  Print them on regular paper and trim the edges.  A little scotch tape and you’re done.  These tags are designed for the square boxes not individual packets nor rectangular boxes.

Looking for other back to school ideas and tips?  Try reading Back to School.  Which is all about how to be prepared in the AM and for the year.