Advent-Day 4 2017


Today I had the girls make Christmas cards for their friends and family. At first, Lane asked if I was serious, and then said it was a boring thing to do. But after I explained how good it would make people feel to receive a handmade card in the mail (and letting her know we were also GOING TO BREAK OUT THE GLITTER), she changed her tune a little. šŸ˜…


You guys. They spent OVER AN HOUR making these cards. Over. An. Hour. That’s a huge win as far as activities go. At first they each picked 2-3 people they would make cards for, and then the list just kept on growing. It’s a miracle when I can get all 3 of them to agree on a single activity for any length of time. But more than an hour? It was honestly probably close to 2 hours by the time they were done. Did I sweep my floor an infinite amount of times? Yes. Is there still glitter plaguing my floor and kitchen table. Yes. But it was worth it (this time, at least šŸ˜‚).


Lane had me draw all of hers, and then she colored it in/added glue/piled on glitter. She’s convinced I’m a way better artist than I actually am. Those stick figures are about the best I can do. And they looked way less cute before she colored them.Ā IMG_0599.JPG

There’s also this goofy dinosaur I just cannot stop laughing about. But that girl put so much thought into what she thought other people would like to receive. It was so much fun watching her work through who would like what and why.


The other two girls did their own thing entirely, which I absolutely love. I helped with the glitter-but only because I had to draw the line somewhere. šŸ™‚ Tomorrow, once all that glue has dried, we will stamp and address each picture for some lucky friends/family members. If we hadn’t needed to stop so we could eat and go to dance class, I think they would have kept right on at it. Rae actually has a couple that she wants to finish tomorrow (though they have been warned that the glitter is not coming out again for many, many moons). All in all, this project was such a huge success, they asked if they could do it again next year. I think we may have found a new tradition.

Eleanor’s Smitten Kitten 2nd Birthday Party


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 gettingĀ someĀ thingsĀ right. šŸ˜… 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 overĀ 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.


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 doneĀ in 3 weeks. Ā 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 sizedĀ 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.Ā 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.


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.


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


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


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.


My other favorite touch? These adorable kitty cat marshmallow sticks!!!! I mean, come on! How much cuterĀ can you get??? I got the ideaĀ 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.


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.


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 yearĀ 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.


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.


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!

I bought Eleanor’s dress from 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…