Amelie’s Frozen Birthday Party

Our beautiful ice princess turned four so we had to celebrate! This post is only two months late so you still care, right?

I started party prep literally months in advance. In my defense, April was a busy month: Amelie’s birthday party, a week later was her actual birthday, then Zack was gone for a conference, then it was Easter and then we traveled to Minnesota (first family vacation and we survived).

Anyway, Amelie was taking note of the numerous trips to Michaels to gather birthday supplies. She started asking me daily “Is today my birthday?”. I’d have to say “No, it’s four weekends from now – that’s a long time…” or “Not yet, honey. Another week!” She was very patient – I would not have been.

On party day, she came downstairs for breakfast to me frosting cupcakes and knew it was finally here! She bolted upstairs and got her Elsa dress on. She was ready!

elsa_amelie

Let’s back up and start with the homemade invitations:

envelopefront

I used mini cards and envelopes because I hand delivered our invitations. Although it was a “Frozen” theme, I didn’t want everything to be too Elsa-y and leaned more toward a general winter wonderland vibe. Hence the snowflakes!

amelie_invitefront

(A little politics reference because seriously, what in the world is going on with our country? It’s insanity out there!)

The back (details):

amelie_invitebackI couldn’t resist this lace washi tape to seal it up:

lace_washitape

As for decorations, my inspiration were these paper plates that I picked up at Target after Christmas. (Yes, I started planning Amelie’s birthday the day after Christmas.) I thought a navy, white, and gold theme would satisfy the “Frozen-ish” theme but was something I liked too.

paper_plates

I figured after Christmas would be the perfect time to pick up party decor for cheap and assumed I’d have difficulty once April rolled around when everything is Easter related. I was concerned Amelie would be totally over Frozen by the time her birthday arrived – and she kinda was because Moana was her new current obsession – but she didn’t seem to mind switching gears back to Frozen. She still pulls out that Elsa dress occasionally!

decorations

I kept out a few Christmas decorations (like the banners and stars below) when I was packing up from the holidays. That way I didn’t have to go digging through our many Christmas bins the morning of the party.

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I kept everything in a little drawer in Cade’s closet so I could acquire party supplies over time (and use a new 40% coupon every time I went to Michaels). Everything was easy to find, organize and put out on party day!

I bought these tissue snowflakes from Amazon. Worth it.foodtable2

For food, we served a brunch of quiche, fruit, caramel rolls that my MIL made (omg, they were amazing), bacon (of course) and hummus and veggies.

Zack made two different kinds of quiche (which were in the oven) and I used that as an excuse to make cute label cards for them:

quiche

If you can’t tell – he whipped up a bacon, brussels sprouts and gruyere and a sundried tomato, spinach and goat cheese one. They were delicious!

This year, I made the cupcakes myself and topped them with tiaras.

foodtable

The frosting looked a mess but the tiaras helped divert attention. It was a fun surprise to discover the tiaras weren’t all the same design.cupcakes

Daddy let the kids eat the left over frosting for breakfast while us grownups worked on the food and cleaned house. That kept them pretty busy for a while…

frosting_samples

Back to decorations. I could not pass up an opportunity to use the lace washi tape and a picture of this girl!

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If it looks familiar, I used an old pic from Christmas. I printed the photos through the now-closed company – Sticky9. I loved the paper finish yet Polaroid shape. I hope I can find a company that does something similar because I think they are so sweet. These pictures also doubled as the thank you cards for later on! See? I have moments of efficiency tucked into the chaos of my brain.

Zack got fancy and served Tipsy Palmers. They were yummy!

tipsypalmer

But of course, coffee was a necessity. Coffee is life!

coffee_station

I don’t love the look of the mismatched mugs even though I love them individually. I think I need to add a set of white mugs and a mug stand to my party serveware collection.The jug of Coffeemate is far from classy too but I’m still learning.

I hit up Trader Joes and grabbed a few bunches of white flowers to sprinkle throughout the house.

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I love fresh flowers. Love.

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I like to grab carnations and put them in stout little vases. I think they are so pretty that way! They weren’t exactly white but oh well.

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More snowflakes for the front window:

snowflake_windowAnd for the (new!) hutch too.

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As you can see, the hutch had the treat bags and I added in a few of Amelie’s Frozen accessories.

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I picked up these popcorn style treat bags from Michaels and liked how the Anna and Elsa peeked out at you.

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I took a few of these photos the day before because the morning of the party is always hectic. But on the day of,  I added a snowflake cake stand with more cupcakes.

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The smaller “snowflakes” are actually flower doilies from Michaels but I thought they looked ok?

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The chipboard snowflakes were a Target after Christmas score and I prettied them up by adding the inside snowflakes to match the treat bags.

Speaking of treat bags, those were fun to put together.

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I included: the Frozen sticker book (which you see peeking out), washable paint and sparkly washi tape in Frozen-inspired colors, and Frozen temporary tattoos.

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Each treat bag had the same stuff but different variations so that way, each sibling “pair” wouldn’t be bringing home double of everything.

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These little tubs of paint were so perfect the Easter Bunny was inspired to pick up more colors to stuff into Easter eggs a week later…

I admit the washi tape isn’t very toddler friendly but they are such sparkly fun!

treatbags_washitape

The treat bags were just under $5 each so I thought that was a good place to stop. We kept the party small, like always, and that helped keep the cost down. Plus, I’m an introvert and parties make me nervous. Small parties are better. I’m so awkward.

I wish I had gotten a group picture of the kids. Amelie and her friends Parker and Lexi were dressed as Elsa and Anna. Toddlers are rarely cooperative when it comes to photo ops but this group is especially shy. In hindsight, the prospect of cupcakes would have probably been suitable bribery. Next year…

The birthday girl blowing out her candles.

candles

She felt uncomfortable during the birthday song, hid her face in her hands and looked pleadingly at her Daddy. She got such sweet gifts but her favorite was the magic paint with water book. Once she opened that, it was all over. She was obsessed!

favorite_gift

Unlike last year, it was a beautiful spring day! The kids ate outside and played on the deck. Considering the theme, a little snow would have been nice? Of course we got snow two days later…

snowflakes

Happy birthday to my Ice Princess, my love, my everything. She is an amazing little four year old!

Check out what we did on her actual birthday this year. Step aside Elsa, Moana is the new girl in town!

Homemade Sink Cleaner

I made something…a sink cleaner! My sink needed it. Ugh, it makes me so embarrassed.

sink_cleaner

Sprinkle this stuff in your sink with a squirt of Castile soap and get scrubbin’. Who’s excited?

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It’s only two ingredients: baking soda and your choice of essential oils. I used lemon and sweet orange.

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I love me some citrus. What are your favorite essential oil combos?

I think it makes a cute gift too – just tie some baker’s twine and add a little card!

sink_cleaner

Supposedly this is a “Nightly Sink Cleaner” but I if I manage to clean my sink 2x/week, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. I got the recipe here. This Clean Mama blog is a cleaning gold mine. Check her out, surely you’ll be inspired! I’ve been trying (and mostly failing) to follow along with her cleaning schedule. I’ve been putting my biggest effort into picking up the house before Zack gets home from work. I try to get the kitchen counters and table clear and cleaned off and the toys picked up. It takes me a frantic hour while the kids play outside or watch TV but the house feels so much better. I even light a candle because obviously I’m fancy!

Does anyone else have a cleaning schedule they stick to? Tips or tricks? I have trouble because when I’m cleaning one room, the kids are destroying another. It’s best if we just leave the house for most of the morning. We hired cleaners when Cade was a baby and that has helped immensely. I wish, for my sanity, we would have invested in cleaners when I had Amelie. I could have used the help; I was so tired and overwhelmed. A clean house would have made a big difference for me.

Now, I’m still overwhelmed but not as tired so that’s progress! Can you believe all of these posts? Will I keep it up?

Pssst. I did a Valentine post but I didn’t want to mess with your mind by posting it in June. So I posted it in the past…as if it were there all along! That’s cheating, you know.

Tidying The Clothes

Whoa, I started this post in July. Yes, LAST JULY.

I convinced my hubby, Zack to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and together during a miraculous simultaneous nap (that hardly ever happened and now it NEVER happens because Amelie has dropped her nap completely), we tackled our clothes. We piled all of our clothes on the bed during nap time and worked through each item.

clothes_purge_before

This was a tiring undertaking!

Look how many clothes/shoes we donated:

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Truth be told, I had already done this with my summer clothes so my portion was easier to sift through. I even got all nerdy and tried on all of my summer clothes and assembled outfits. If I couldn’t put together an outfit with a piece, I donated it.

Marie Kondo recommends pulling out ALL of your clothes. That means hunting through other random closets in the house as well as storage. We both had clothes stashed in Cade’s closet to address, like my wedding dress. Not too long ago (well, longer now because this post is already a year old), the office closet looked like so. Can you see my dress stuffed carelessly in a white bag in the corner?

office_closet2

I’ve tried to sell the dress unsuccessfully a few times and so it sat. I know to most a wedding dress a treasured item but I care more about our photos by Emily Griffith than the dress itself. I liked it and I felt beautiful in it. But, now I want it out of the house. Out!

I looked up how to wash the dress at home and it actually came out beautifully!

wedding_dress

I found this great website that lists a handful of charities that you can donate your wedding dress to. I chose Adorned in Grace; it helps sex trafficking survivors. I feel great that my dress is taking on a new (much more important) purpose than sitting sad and crumpled in my closet.

Around the same time, a local lady was collecting dresses to donate to a low-income community for their prom. So, I donated my black satin bridesmaid dress too!

Cheers to a cleaner closet, cleaner mind and a dress that can be repurposed for someone that is very deserving!

In full disclosure, I think my closet could use another look over. I’m still finding a few items that could be donated, as well as finding a few holes in my closet that need to be filled. But, the big clean out is complete and it feels so good to pull out items that I know I for sure feel comfortable in.

I need to get Kondo-ing again. Anyone know what’s next after clothes?

Happy Father’s Day

This man is a talented man in many ways. But the thing he excels at most is being a Daddy. I’m in awe.

Daddy

Happy Father’s Day to our kind-hearted, loving, patient, creative, goofy Daddy. We love you so much!

Throwback to his first Father’s Day and last year.

Apparently I missed documenting 2014 because I was deep in the throws of morning (I mean, ALL DAY) sickness while pregnant with Cade. Rest assured, he was an awesome Daddy then too. I, on the other hand, was a witch.

Home Sweat Home: Guest Bathroom

Time to celebrate, I have emerged from hibernation!

(No, literally, I was hibernating. I sleep all of the time.)

It’s been so long, where to do I start? Do I post in the past? Do I play catch up with posts that are way out of season? Do I watch Netflix to avoid dealing with it a little longer and then eat chocolate ice cream to cope with my inadequacies?

I’ll start and see what happens, ok? We are talking the Guest Bathroom. It sounds like a lovely place with the capitalization and all. But it wasn’t.

Let’s back way up to the Proper Beginning. Remember when we bought the house? I barely do – let’s refresh our cloudy memories. Here’s a peek!

den_hallway_scaled

This is the only picture I have because I didn’t bother trying to get any more (but I sure wish I had at least tried).

When Amelie was a baby, I worked on painting all of the interior doors Zinc by Martha Stewart, including the doors in the guest bathroom. I didn’t show you because it was the same project on repeat so I thought you might be bored but I can see you’re bored anyway. Here is the current view:

guestbath2_before

Then slowly, ever so slowly,  I painted the bathroom Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.

guestbath1_before

Was Sea Salt the worst color in the world to pair with the current tile and vanity? No, but a light neutral would have been better. Much, much better. It photographs much cleaner than it felt in person, trust me on this.

I also managed to paint the ceiling a fresh white along with caulk and paint all of the trim. But, it’s hard to mask ugly. Check out this vanity.

It may look familiar because its twin is upstairs in the master bathroom.

guestbath3_before

A closeup:

guestbath5_before

Ugh, that medicine cabinet. Let’s keep going?

guestbath4_before

Wanna see the shower? Zack and I use this bathroom as our primary because we don’t want to wake the kids while we get ready. It’s been working hard for us.

guestbath6_before

There are loads of issues with this shower. The biggest, grossest thing about it is the shower pan. It was set in with a slant so water pools in the corner. To make everything worse, the overly long shower curtain liner sits in the “pool” (bathes?) and turns pink with slime (ie: MOLD). Gross, huh? I tried to dry it out by scooping the water down the drain after my showers and hanging the curtain awkwardly against the shelving. But it was unruly and slimey so it wasn’t very effective.

(My sincerest apologies to all of our guests that used this bathroom before I resorted to bleaching the daylights out of it. For years, I scrubbed with natural cleaners and I could never get it clean. I’m mortified just thinking about it! Serious regrets, I tell ya.)

A closeup of the tile. I don’t like the inset “accent” whatsoever. It’s the same tile we have upstairs. I’m no expert, but I think the tile work was far from well done:

guestbath7_before

Next to the shower is the linen closet:

guestbath8_before

(I’m sure you remember it from my show stopping linen closet organization post.)

Detail shots. A little surprise with some random contact paper!

guestbath9_before

Those shelves are not cute nor level.

The hole. Yep, still there even though I bought a patch kit four years ago. FOUR YEARS AGO.

guestbath10_before

The floor of the linen closet which is usually hiding behind a stack of toilet paper. See those big gaps? And the trim on only one side?

guestbath11_beforeAre you wondering why now, after all of this time, am I showing you our guest bathroom updates? Well, truthfully, I have been meaning to blog. I really have. And also because it now looks like this:

guestbath12_before

We are renovating, folks! Top to bottom. Well, I’m not doing anything except checking Instagram when I should be doing laundry but we hired pros!

I’m panicking. I hope I didn’t pick out anything stupid that I’ll regret for forever and ever. But really, can it get any worse?

Can it?!?

Are you glad to see me?

Guys?