It’s a Jungle in HERE! Wild about this Party Theme

We threw my son a leopard / jungle inspired 4th birthday over the weekend, and had a lot of fun with it!  Here are some pictures of our decor:

Jungle birthday party collage

From top: Leopard on the cake, sunflower centerpiece on a leopard print tablecloth, Middle: stuffed animals help decorate, bottom: monkeys swinging from the vines, and our vine window treatment

cat pictures

My daughter and son had fun coloring pictures of cats (still living and extinct), so we HAD to display them.

view of the table and jungle vines

I LOVED this leopard table cloth and may have to re-use it. We also have a jaguar picture hanging from the chandelier, who is going to eat the monkeys (according to my son).

The kids and I had so much fun hanging the vines (green yarn and green crepe paper) and placing the stuffed animals around the room.  I used green pipe cleaners to keep the monkeys attached to the chandelier.

For treats for the kids, we had animal crackers and jungle animal fruit snacks. We also had out a zoo play set and safari truck, though the kids went WILD playing with seemingly ALL of the toys in our house. It was awesome!

It was also very easy to find leopard print gift bags, though hot pink leopard print and zebra print tended to be more common in the stores we checked out (Dollar Store, Target, Wal-mart, and finally a party store).

One present that we bought the birthday boy was this cute stuffed leopard or jaguar.  My son said it was the greatest present in the whole world and has since named it “Spotty,” “Leppy,” or “Jaggy.”

Birthday boy taking good care of Spotty.

Birthday boy taking good care of Spotty.

Happy Birthday to my sweet 4 year old son!

Hello Kitty Party and Many Superheros!

We had a Hello Kitty Birthday Party to celebrate my daughter turning FOUR!  I knew to expect that much, having created and decorated a lot of the festivities in advance.  What I did NOT expect was to have MANY Superheros on hand the day of the party.

So how do superheros and Hello Kitty go together, you may ask?  Easy. Superheros magically appear when the main event planner, chef, and all around head-honcho (aka Mom) gets the stomach flu the morning of the party. Immediately after getting up, to be exact, I realized I could not make it to the kitchen to feed our begging Sumo Kitty breakfast and detoured to the bathroom.  Ugh. This was the WORST that I thought possible for the day of a party.

SURPRISE! Enter superhero Daddy O. to save the day.  He placed me in quarantine and did what all superheros do when they face a daunting task, call for back-up!  Super aunts and grandparents answered the call, and helped save the day! Daddy O. conquered two new recipes – Baked Ziti IV (All Recipes.com) and marshmallow cream frosting. According to all party goers, the ziti was awesome.  When my stomach was up to it, I also enjoyed some leftovers a few days later.  My sister suggested making two smaller pans, so you can freeze some for another meal, a great idea for the next time we make it.  The frosting SOUNDED good and looked so tasty (thanks Pinterest), but didn’t quite live up to expectations. It was just okay.  I’m so glad we had some store-bought frosting on hand, since Daddy O. had to frost cupcakes & a small cake that morning as well!  My hero!

While I laid in bed, I was forced to let go and be “saved” by the wonderful helpers to make my daughter’s party come together.  Even though things didn’t go according to my initial plan, it all worked out beautifully.  I couldn’t have been happier (though it pained me to be apart from my kiddos and family for most of the party).  I did make an appearance for opening presents and singing “Happy Birthday.”  Big sister LOVED it all – as you can see in her glowing eyes and oh-so-wide smile!

Here are a few shots of our day:

Hello Kitty Birthday Party for my big 4 year old girl

Hello Kitty Birthday Party for my big 4 year old girl

A few notes on the decor – Hello Kitty stuff is EVERYWHERE!  I found so much at Target (the “planter” is really a Trick-or-Treat bag), tablecloth, napkins, etc.  If you search Google Images or Pinterest for Hello Kitty Party, you’ll see so many ideas!  I had drawn the pin-the-bow on Hello Kitty picture after I realized there are many free printables online.  The tissue paper flowers were very easy to make, though I think I’ll follow these instructions next time. The adorable shirt was made (and personalized under the design) by an extremely talented family member. She also owns her own business, though I’ll save promoting it for another blog post!

All in all my daughter’s 4th birthday was quite lovely…until later that night, right after swimming lessons, when the birthday girl threw-up in the locker room and on her brother. Oh joy! Even Super Hero Daddy O. was affected by the same bug two days after the party.

Note to future self – when anyone in your house pukes the day of the party, just call it off, as more puking is bound to follow! Ugh.

Have you been sick the day of your kid’s birthday party?  How did you make it work?

 

So Excited!

I’ve been excited lately, planning and prepping for my daughter’s fourth birthday party.  And thanks to Zumba class yesterday, I have some songs in my head.  Sing it Tina.

Another happy song –

One more song that we all had fun dancing to at Zumba (that is a little more current).

As you may have noticed from the songs above, I’ve been really happy, high energy, and excited.  I celebrated a birthday (not one of any major milestone), and LOVED that Daddy O. took a half day to prepare one of our favorite meals – lemon / ginger shrimp & asparagus pasta.  The kids and him made peanut butter frosting together with way too much of their saliva in it to share the final peanut butter frosted brownies with anyone else (and I’m okay with NOT sharing those – yum).  Most of all, I loved seeing my kids excitement for my birthday: seeing their little faces glow as they sang happy birthday, gave me big hugs and kisses, and even when my daughter tried guessing my age (her first guess was 50….luckily I was not phased by this, as she can really only count to 20).

Having had such a wonderful birthday myself, when I was really concentrating on planning for my daughter’s birthday all month long, I am very excited to just wrap up the final details, do some cooking and baking, and celebrate how far my daughter has come in four years with our family.

As I mentioned in a previous post called Separation Celebration, it is so rewarding to see and experience your child coming into his or her own.

My firstborn is growing up for sure!

She is loving preschool, no longer growls at strangers (though we’re still working on exchanging some pleasantries), is a fish in her swimming class, and has taken to singing and enjoying our dance parties.  I couldn’t be prouder, and am excited to see her grow and learn more to prepare for 4K next fall.

This parenting gig DOES get easier, and I’ve been so happy to move beyond some of the potty training horror stories, and other toddler drama, and simply have fun with my kids.  Then I remember that my son is only two, so I’ll have more toddler drama in store just when I least expect it.

Tonight on a date night (reason to be happy #1001), I’ll raise a glass with Daddy O. to a fun party this weekend and to more joys of parenting ahead.  Cheers & Happy Friday!

 

Cardboard Choo Choo Train’s Debut

As I mentioned in my cardboard kitchen post, I had A LOT of boxes at my disposal to get creative and make another toy for my kiddos.  It’s crazy how many diaper boxes we have gone through – so crazy that I don’t like to think about it!  When my daughter said she wanted an engine birthday party, I knew I had the perfect idea to use up some of our boxes: a cardboard choo choo train!

Cardboard choo choo

cardboard choo choo side view

I didn’t really use a pattern, though I had these tips in mind while getting started.  Basically, I had one long box that spanned the entire length of the train engine, and cut up boxes to build up the engine compartment, using A LOT of duct tape to secure everything in place.  I scored and cut another box to make the round portion and made the funnel out of a cereal box. I found some old ribbon spools to make the circle buffers in front.  Everything was painted in a light pink latex paint (left in our basement by the previous owner).  The stripes and any other colored area are simply construction paper affixed with a spray adhesive.  I also made “passenger cars” – one brown and one purple – by putting together two diaper boxes.  All in all the cardboard choo choo was a BIG HIT at the party!

Birthday girl driving her train

We also had an “engine” birthday cake, just as I ordered via phone from our local bakery. To our surprise, they put a red fire engine on it instead of a train engine.  Our birthday girl didn’t seem to mind, plus the cake was delicious!

Mama O and Family with "Engine" cake

For thank you notes, I came up with a train outline card:

choo choo thank you

The text inside said, “That’s train for Thank you!”  I certainly enjoy taking time to create something fun and special in honor of my children’s birthdays.  We really had a wonderful time celebrating with our family.

I came across this cool article yesterday about a preschool classroom that ditched its toys for boxes:

Classroom Toys Replaced with Cardboard Boxes