Eleanor’s Smitten Kitten 2nd Birthday Party

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I love planning my kids’ birthday parties. It’s always so much fun. Over the years I feel like I’ve really honed in on the craft. I’m far from having it perfect, but I’ve worked out a system that works pretty well for me. I went from trying to do absolutely every cute thing I saw on Pinterest to narrowing it down and having a plan and a place for everything. My sisters tell me every party, “ok, I think THIS is my favorite party that you’ve done” so I must be getting some things right. 😅 One way or the other, I always have fun doing it.

For Eleanor’s 2nd birthday I tried asking her what she wanted to do. I thought ponies would maybe win her over, but she wasn’t game. So I started looking through Pinterest with her, and as soon as she spotted a kitten cake, she was sold. She told me over and over that’s what she wanted (she’s a very opinionated 2 year old). It was decided! Smitten Kitten was fairly easy to work with. I started pouring over Pinterest; looking through posts of other kitten parties, deciding what I liked best, what was worth doing, what I should buy, and what I should make.

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Once I had that done, I got right to work. Normally I plan the girls parties pretty far in advance. That gives me time to make all my decisions, create everything that needs to be created, and it gives me a little more wiggle room in the budget. HOWEVER, with everything we went through over the winter and being sick all the time, little Eleanor’s birthday snuck up on me before I even knew it! I had to decide the theme and get everything done in 3 weeks.  Surprisingly I actually pulled it off! I can’t give you an exact number of what I spent on all of the decor, but it was under $100-including the cake and cupcakes. Granted, because I have 2 older girls, I’ve been able to recycle a lot of things. Even still, I felt pretty good about how little we were able to spend on this party.

I ordered a pack of 20 toddler sized headbands wrapped in satin ribbon on Amazon. There were cheaper options, but I know the plastic ones can be really irritating after just a couple of minutes, so I spent a couple of dollars more to get ones with a little bit of cushion. I bought some different colored felt from Hobby Lobby (they have the best selection), and I spent one evening cutting out cats ears and hot glueing them to the headbands. I also ordered some small golden bells from Amazon and put those on string for the kids to wear as collars. They ended up being smaller than I thought (check the size next time), but the kiddos still got a kick out of them.

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I put the ears and collars in a tray together with some eyeliner so parents could make little kitty faces on their babes. I bought 2 containers of eyeliner, but we barely even used one.

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I found these adorable kitten cookie bags on Amazon and thought they would be the perfect little favor stuffed with some Goldfish.

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They were a huge hit and looked super cute with all of the other decor.

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This garland was one of my favorite touches. I used this tutorial from Pinterest. She used little pieces of paper for the whiskers, but that was too much work for me, so I just drew them on with sharpies. The other thing I did differently was that I simply taped them to the string. Hers had a really cool 3-D effect, but again, too much work. I was thrilled with the way it turned out! Plus, it only took me a few episodes of whatever show I was watching at the time (probably New Girl) to finish it.

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My other favorite touch? These adorable kitty cat marshmallow sticks!!!! I mean, come on! How much cuter can you get??? I got the idea here. I bought the straws from the Target Dollar Spot, and then I bought the markers for it off of Amazon. I feel like I maybe also bought a skinnier black pen from Target also…but I don’t really remember. Either way, they worked out really well and everybody loved them. The “2” is one of my recycled decor items. I bought a wooden “2” from Hobby Lobby for Lane’s second birthday and covered it with scrapbook paper using Mod Podge. This is it’s 3rd appearance.

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I saw somebody put a toy mouse with the cheese for another kitten party. It was too cute to not repeat. That being said, I was having a hard time finding a cute toy mouse-most of them were ugly cat toys. SO I found this tutorial on how to make an origami mouse. I had to watch the video at least 4 times, and this specific mouse was my 2nd attempt, but since I already had the paper, I didn’t actually have to spend any money on it. The tablecloth I got a few years ago at Kohl’s for another birthday party. I found it on clearance after Valentine’s Day for around $7. I’ve been able to use it quite a few times, so that’s been nice.

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I couldn’t find any reasonably priced (or cute) kitty cat cups, so for the kids cups, so I bought the cheap plastic ones and drew little kitten faces on them with a sharpie before the party so they had enough dry time before having any liquid in them. I bought the cute little pink sign at Michael’s last year for Lane and Raegan’s birthday party, but never ended up using it. It was on clearance when I bought it then for $.50 I think. I honestly don’t even remember when or where I got this tablecloth. I *think* it’s a piece of fabric that a friend gave to me to use for a costume when I was teaching theatre classes and doing a bunch of theatre things… I could be wrong about that. But hey! it worked out really well as a tablecloth for our drink station. The chocolate milk was a HUGE hit. The regular milk, eh, not so much. Now I know.

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I made the cake and cupcakes myself. Betty Crocker makes my favorite boxed cakes. So the night before the party, that was my only task. In years past, I’ve made a few boxes of cupcakes in addition to the regular cake and ended up with far too much cake (and we usually have a TON of people at our parties). This year I made 2 boxes total: 1 for the cake and 1 for the cupcakes. It was perfect. Turns out you can actually make fondant in advance, so if I end up making fondant again, I’ll be making it ahead of time. It’s actually easier to make than you would think-just super, crazy messy. I make the kind with powdered sugar and marshmallows. It’s so so good. Here’s the recipe I used. I had a ton left over, so I cut out little ears to put on the cupcakes and then added the kitty faces with a frosting pen. It was a last minute addition, but it was so worth the extra effort.

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I got this cute little wooden cat from Hobby Lobby and painted it pink. The stand it’s on is from the Target Dollar spot. The golden “2” balloon from the first picture is also from the Target Dollar spot. The paper that the cupcakes are on is recycled from my sisters baby shower. And the white and coral striped tablecloth is a DIY that I made a few years ago for a different party. I saw this one and instantly fell in love. It, however, was from Anthro and was $100. There was no way I could spend that much on a tablecloth. I searched and searched for some DIY’s on how to make my own. None of them ended up working out, so I figured it out on my own. I bought 3 yards of a linen blend white fabric from Joann’s. It was less than $30 with a coupon. I taped down stripes and spray painted it. Once I figured it out, it wasn’t that difficult. I think at the end of the day, it cost me around $30 to make. I’ve pulled it out every. single. birthday party since and I am just as in love with it now as I was then. I’ve done several different themes and this tablecloth has worked with every single one. It’s so versatile. If anybody is interested I could do a tutorial post. Just let me know in the comments!
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I bought Eleanor’s dress from Harperschiccloset.com. They have some of the sweetest clothes I have ever seen. The dress ended up being a little bit big for her, but she still looked so darling! All in all, it turned out to be a great party. I had so much fun doing it, and it was probably the least stressful party I’ve ever thrown together. I’ve only got about another month before I start prepping the next party. Now it’s just time to pin down that theme…

Mother’s Day

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I love Mother’s Day. It’s the perfect day to spend time with loved ones, get some yard work done, and make excuses for eating that extra donut (I’ve raised 3 kids, I totally earned it, right?). My girls are super festive-especially my oldest. They LOVE to celebrate. I can’t blame them, they get it from me. The very first thing Lane said to me when we woke up this morning was, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!” In fact, I think I love this little holiday more and more every year.

I am so grateful for the family that God has given me. A loving husband, three beautiful girls. They give me all the warm and fuzzy feelings. All of them. I love getting to be a momma. It’s such a beautiful privilege. I have learned so much these past 5 years, and I wouldn’t trade being a mom for the world. Truly, I am so very blessed. However, on this day, I can’t help but turn my heart and mind to those babies that I’ve lost. Judah’s birthday is May 2, and my due date for the twins was supposed to be at the end of May, which makes this a particularly difficult month for us.

I don’t understand why my babies had to be taken away from me-I don’t think I ever will. I long for their arms around my waist and to hear their tiny voices whisper, “I love you” into my ear. How I wish I could have seen their grubby little fingers as they helped to plant our garden today, to see their muddy footprints all over our floors. These are things I will not have this side of heaven. And I don’t know why. I feel the weight of it every day. But particularly this month, and especially today. It’s not an easy road to walk, I don’t think it ever will be. I hear different things from different people. “It never gets any easier” “Things will get better, just give it time” “There will be good days and bad days.” I think they’re all true, in different ways. In some ways, it simply does not get easier. It is never easy to look at little boy clothes, or to hear about twins. Some things are truly better-my perspective for one. And while a part of me aches all the time, some days I simply ache more than others. Today is one of those days.

So for all of you beautiful women out there-those who have lost babies, and those who cannot have babies, know this: I’m right there in the trenches with you. You are not alone in your pain. And while I may or may not know you, I am praying for you. It’s ok if Mother’s Day is a hard day for you. It’s a hard day for me too. And my sorrow does not negate my joy. Somehow they are intertwining to write a beautiful story-one I could never write on my own. It is well known that there is beauty in joy, but there is beauty in sadness as well; a beauty all it’s own, a beauty we may not ever understand. But God is working, He’s painting a picture we can’t quite yet see. I yearn for the day when I can see my Savior face to face and He can show me the beauty that lay in all of my pain.

But until then, sweet friends, let’s cling to one another. Let’s pray for each other, lift each other up. Laugh together, cry together, rejoice and weep and celebrate and mourn-sometimes all at the same time. Let’s hold each other’s hands and walk this road together. Because, beloved, this road was never meant to be walked alone.