Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mickey Mouse Birthday Party

My littlest little man just turned 3, and it was quite obvious that we had to do a Mickey themed birthday party for him!  Here are some photos of what we did!

The Invitation:
I found this design online and totally copied it, so I can take no credit.  I found a few versions of the same design though so I'm guessing a lot of people copied each other! Ha!  Well, I liked how simple and graphic it was...

The Decorations
I had to make this sign for the door on my computer!  I got the free Disney script font, here!

Our chalkboard painted door came in handy once again!
Usually I try to avoid spending a lot of money on licensed character party stuff, and try to make most of it myself.  But, sometimes I'll find ONE thing that's really worth it that I can't pass up...

I got this awesome Mickey balloon on Amazon and had it filled by my local dollar store.

 Toby absolutely flipped over this huge Mickey walker balloon.  We even had to get out another folding chair so that Mickey could sit next to Toby at the table!

I made a few other decorations with stuff I had on hand in my studio...
Construction paper #3
Hanging Mickey pants! (Printed off of my computer and sandwiched some yarn between two glued copies)

Oh Toodles! Another thing I pulled off Google Images and glued to a piece of yarn.

I found these window paint markers at the dollar store and put Mickey ears on the windows.  So fun and cheap!

The Food
Well, between Toby's love for hot dogs and Mickey's "Hot Dog Song," it was pretty clear what we should have for the main dogs!  It was actually surprisingly fun to have hot dogs and brats right off the grill on the coldest day of the year!  We had some fruit, veggies, and chips too.
Hot Diggity Dogs!
Ever since his brother's birthday a month ago, Toby has been asking for a Mickey cake.  So, I made a Mickey cake.  And he didn't eat any of it!  But, it was tasty!
Mickey cake!

I found a lot of fun Mickey cookie ideas online and made these (below).  The big circles are Oreos.  If you get double stuffed, you'll have more room to stick the ears in. For the ears I bought miniature Oreos, took them apart, and then stuck the individual wavers into the frosting of the big cookie.  Then I dipped them in melted chocolate almond bark.  I wanted to dip the bottom in red, but my candy melts got all stiff.  So, I had to spread the red on with a knife, then stuck in some candy I found by the sprinkles in the baking aisle.  They would have looked a little nicer if I could dip the red, but they still turned out pretty cute!
Mickey cookies! Oreos, mini oreos, and almond bark

The Activities
I always do two simple activities: Coloring pages (the kids can do at any time throughout the party), and a pinata (which helps them fill their own goodie bags!). 
Coloring sheets (found via Google images), bowl of crayons, and the pinata!

A birthday's not a birthday without a pinata in our house.  Click here to see how I made this one.

 The goodie bags

I got a little pack of bags at Target and made Mickey and Minnie ear stickers for each kid with their name, using Walt Disney Script.  Months ago I picked up some Mickey and Minnie cups at Walgreens, and some little pencil pouches from Target.  I added a bouncy ball and a little car eraser to each bag (found in brand new, unopened packages at the thrift store donated from Target), and then the kids filled them with pinata candy later in the night!

It was a great party and my little birthday boy clearly was having a blast with his Mickey party fun and his cousins!  I hope this helps give you a few ideas if you have an upcoming Mickey themed party! Here are a few other fun Amazon links to get the ideas flowing....

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Homemade Christmas Gifts 2012

I always end up doing at least a few homemade Christmas gifts each year and 2012 was no exception. I didn't make as much as I have some other years, but enjoyed the few that I did make! Here are a few pictures from this year...

I had so much fun making all this miniature food for my niece's dollhouse out of Sculpey clay! The tiny metal picture frame I found at a thrift store and added a photo of her new American Girl Doll, Molly.

I made homemade vanilla extract and mint extract this year.  I'll do a separate post on how I did it soon! Super easy and a really fun gift to give and great to use yourself!
I found some cute smaller baskets at thrift stores to give the little bottles of extract.  The tags are made out of recycled greeting cards.
Of course, I did give a lot of my canned items this year, including salsa, relish, tomato soup, pasta sauce and applesauce.  I picked up baskets at the thrift stores, and even found unopened bags of the paper grass to put in each one at thrift stores too.  I printed my own round labels for everything.

My son's preschool teachers got a little basket of goodies....homemade chai tea mix, mint extract, vanilla extract, some of Sammy's artwork turned into a magnet from Shutterfly, my Junk Mail Gems magnets in the letters of their last names, and a junk mail necklace. The large rectangular thing is a magnet I had made out of a note Sammy wrote thanking his teacher for helping him with writing his "Y's."  :-)
This was an idea found on Pinterest.  I had the boys make hand prints by dipping their hands in white acrylic paint and then grabbing ahold of a blue glass ornament.  Then I used paint pens to add the faces, hats, buttons, etc to turn their fingers into snowmen.  We gave these to grandparents.  A really fun twist on the old hand print ornament!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Resolutions: Let's Get Personal!

Happy new year!!

I was lying in bed on New Year's Eve around 11:30 (yeah, lame, I know...didn't make it until midnight!), thinking about resolutions.  Did you make any resolutions?  Have you ever before? Have you ever fully kept a resolution?  Why did you make it?  Just because everybody says you're supposed to come January 1st?

I've never really been one to set resolutions and I think I have figured out why.  I just can't seem to find motivation simply in the fact that yesterday was the 31st and today is the 1st.  I just need something, just about anything, to motivate me to make a change more than tearing off a calendar page or flicking my iCal to January.

Why do so many people's dedication to their new year's resolutions fade so quickly?  Why is the local YMCA so jam packed in January and emptied out a month later? My theory is that people are using the wrong motivation. "Because it's 2013."  So what?!  Some people really do stick to their resolutions and make awesome life changes.  More power to you!! I think that's awesome.  It's just not for me and apparently not for a lot of people.  I just think that something as personal as a resolution should have an equally personal motivation.  A generic calendar date is pretty dang generic.

I'm the type of person who continually sets goals for myself throughout the year, the month, the week. These goals range from big to small, but I almost always reach these goals.  I think it's because they are not set on a trivial calendar date...they are set by moments that bring with them personal motivation.  Mostly random moments I don't see coming.  Usually blessings in disguise.

I'm sure losing weight is one of the #1 resolutions people make...and break.  The one time I resolved to follow an incredibly strict diet was when I was pregnant with my 2nd baby and found out I had gestational diabetes.  His health was my motivation for an unplanned and unexpected goal and I nailed it.  What momma won't do anything for her baby?! Maybe I'm weak but I just can't cut out carbs solely on a change in the calendar date!  After having my first baby boy, it was a moment of standing in a dressing room plastered with mirrors at Victoria's Secret that motivated me to lose all the baby weight and then some.  And it wasn't on December 31st! If I had shrugged off that moment of having a bad body image as a depressing part of my day, I would have missed out on my motivation and then my reward!

I guess I don't consider my life as starting over fresh every January either.  I measure and section out my life in moments.  Everyone has those big moments that naturally divide your life into chapters...childhood, college, traumatic events. Before and after 9/11.  Single life and married life.  Before and after becoming a parent.  Whatever it is, it usually changes you in some way.  If it doesn't, you may have missed out on one of those motivating moments.  And it doesn't have to be a huge life change to motivate you either.  I think that if you also make small goals that are easily achieved, it just helps to build confidence in your ability to achieve big goals.  Like "I resolve not to lose my cool with my boys who are driving me batty today." Or "I resolve to take 10 minutes to myself today."

So, this is my very long way of sharing that my new year's resolution is the same as it always has been...not to make an empty resolution based on the calendar...but to pay attention to my own life's moments and use them as motivation for constant, positive change.  To not let life's little moments full of motivation for big change slip by unnoticed.

If you are one to make and quickly break resolutions, let me challenge you to try doing the same! Not sure where to start? Try starting with the things that you perceive as negative, and set a goal to turn those things around.  Use baby steps if you have to and make resolutions for the DAY, not the year.  You'll be surprised how many things you can accomplish in a week! And if you really want to make a monumental resolution on a particular calendar day, why not make it a more personal day?  Like your birthday or anniversary? Just a thought.

Happy and blessed new year to all you lovely blog followers!! Now I resolve to share something else fun with you at least within the next week!  :-)


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