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…

Advent Day 5

Ok, confession time. I saw this pin on Pinterest for a cute little handprint Christmas tree. I figured we had what we needed to make it and it seemed simple enough. Let me tell you. While it was simple, it was way more time consuming than I expected. Of course, there are a few things we could have done differently to have made it easier and less time consuming, but we didn’t…lesson learned. I also couldn’t fall asleep last night until around 3:30 and I’ve been dragging all day, so that could have contributed to that whole time factor thing. Either way, I’m going to share with you all what we did today.

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So usually this craft requires green paper. Which I could have sworn we had some. But when I went to grab it, there was none. So what do you do when you don’t have what you need? You improvise! We painted white paper green and then waited for it to dry. #timeconsuming. But honestly, I kind of like the texture it gives to the finished product. Plus, it gives it a little bit more of the girls’ personality.

Once the paint dried, I traced the girls’ hand prints on the paper they had painted. (I traced Eleanor’s on the one I had painted-which was hilarious, by the way). I also traced Eleanor’s onto a brown piece of paper and a yellow piece of paper, for the trunk and the star.

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After tracing their hands, we I cut them out and edged them with glue. Bless her heart, Lane tried to do the glue, but it was “too hard for her little hands” as she told me.

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THEN-and this is the part where I will tell you to proceed with caution-we sprinkled gold glitter onto the glue.

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Ok. So the glitter (and the glue) added a bunch more time onto the project. We started out pinching the glitter and sprinkling it on. But Lane got pretty frustrated having it stick to her fingers (thanks, glue!) so she had the brilliant idea to go and grab a baby spoon to scoop up the glitter and then sprinkle it on. Not only did we use less glitter that way, it also worked way better. So, way to go Lane! I’m proud of you for thinking so intuitively. I love that little creative side of her brain!

Once we glittered all of our hands, we set them out to dry.

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After they were (mostly) dry (momma lost her patience), I arranged them on half a piece of poster board. And then I glued them down.

I wrote the year on the bottom and wrote in tiny little writing which hands belonged to which girls. Then I hung it on our wall.

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Tada! This is the girls trying to figure out whose hands are whose. They were pretty proud of themselves!

So moral of the story, if you want this to be a simple, quick craft, make sure that you have green construction paper and then be smart and choose to not use glue and glitter (because it’s the devil).Doing it that way, you’ll save time doing the craft, and cleaning up after! Because let’s be honest folks, cleaning up glitter takes just as much time as the craft itself (if not longer).

A few notes, if you read my post yesterday, you’ll remember how I went on and on about my Gathre mat. Well, I’m not done. For this craft we used our mini Gathre mats. I know you can use newspaper or something like that underneath, but then your project sticks to it, not to mention that you also have to have some lying around. And I can never figure out how to make piles of newspaper or ads look pretty. (If you have a way, please clue me in). But the mini mats are perfect for this type of thing.

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But also, PLEASE keep in mind that we were using the kid’s Crayola washable paint, and then Elmer’s School Glue. DO NOT use acrylic paint on your mats. It won’t wipe off. This paint, however, wiped up like a dream. And the glue came off really easily too. And the glitter, well, it’s glitter so it still took a good amount of elbow grease, but it was still easier than what I had to clean off of the table. Ok. I’m done now. For today at least. Seriously check out these mats.