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.

letitsnow_window

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!

iceprincess2

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.

amelie_iceprincess

I love fresh flowers. Love.

hydrangea

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.

decor_sidetable

More snowflakes for the front window:

snowflake_windowAnd for the (new!) hutch too.

new_hutch

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

flowers_olaf

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

treat_bags2

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.

hutch_partyday

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

cupcake_ministand

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.

treat_bags

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.

treatbags_inside

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

treatbags_paint

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!

Happy Birthday, Amelie!

This awesome ice princess turned FOUR today!

ice_princess

To celebrate, we started the day with donuts and a trip to the Children’s Museum with her favorite; Daddy.daddy_kids

That evening we hosted a no fuss dinner with family. Grandma even made her an adorable Moana cake!

Moana_cake

As you can see, Elsa is mostly old news. Moana is it right now. Moana is amazing!

Moana

Amelie has a beautiful heart, a keen sense of fairness, a wonderful imagination and an impressive memory. We love her fiercely! Happy, happy birthday!

A look back on birthdays:

Amelie turns 1!

Amelie turns 2!

Amelie turns 3!

Cade Turns 2!

Well, he turned two over two weeks ago. It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged, hasn’t it? How do we start back up again? Reintroduce ourselves? Just pretend we weren’t away?

We hosted Cade’s party on his actual birthday, December 3rd, which was especially sweet. If it were up to Cade, it would have been Thomas The Train themed. But since Mama is driving this front engine, I chose a Colorado theme. I like that much better. He’ll probably hold it against me into adulthood, as he should. I’m the worst!

Zack and I created cute invitations but when we went to print them, the colors I spent carefully selecting turned out totally wonky. Apparently my taste is much too nuanced for the cheap printer at the library. I’ll take that as a compliment because I’m low on those anyhow.

Come on in, it’s party time.

front_door

Sidenote, we finally ordered a new front door. It should be installed sometime soon, can you believe it!? What color should I paint it? Navy? Ok I will. I think that’s a great idea!

Anyway, back to the party? A closer look at the invites.

cade_sign

Let me pause and mention that the craft closet organization I did this summer made all of the little party crafting so easy to pull together. If only the rest of my life felt that way…

For food, we had white bean chicken chili simmering in the crockpot, cornbread muffins, chips and salsa, veggies and hummus, and mac and cheese for the kids. I wish they’d eat something besides that but oh well.

setup

Here is an up close of the paper plates because I was overly thrilled to find these at Target – on clearance no less! I thought they looked liked mountains and matched my original color scheme perfectly (until the library printer shenanigans, of course).

mountain_plates

Anyway, probably nobody noticed but I took delight in them. Here is the rest of the party setup. The empty bowl awaits the much anticipated mac and cheese!

setup2

I had the cupcakes made at the local bakery and they turned out mostly cute.

cupcakes_top

I made the mistake of keeping the glittery red washi tape on the example for the bakery and their fondant printer turned it into a weird army green color. It was kinda gross looking but what can you do? This is the only time washi tape has failed me, by the way. Washi tape is the best!

I had Zack print a few extra copies of our invite stripped down to “Cade turns 2″ that I used as decorations. These also doubled as Thank You cards for later. Aren’t I so super smart?

cupcakes_center

In the past, we’ve always offered beer for the grownups. Nobody drinks them. What sleep deprived parents of busy toddlers really need instead is a stocked coffee station. Coffee is life!

coffee_station

I borrowed the mugs and tray from a friend and added my new creamer and sugar set. Why did it take me so long to buy these, I have no idea. I also added fresh flowers from Trader Joes. Believe it or not, I bought the flowers a week BEFORE the party and they are still going strong even as I blog and in spite of much neglect. Go get yourself some!

Funny story about the treat bags:

treat_bags

I made them in JULY. I’m not exaggerating. I was inspired after organizing the craft closet and they took me an evening to make. I felt a little foolish doing this six months in advance but soon after cross country season arrived and I was an exhausted lunatic until mid November when the season finally wrapped up. I’m really glad that all I had to do is pull these out of the closet come party day.

I had the best intensions to blanket stitch the iron-on appliques more securely, as well as add the kid’s name with iron-on letters. I figured I had plenty of time but of course that did not get done, now did it?

Inside the treat bags, I included three Colorado-themed coloring pages I found on Pinterest, ROCKy mountain CANDY (Get it? I think I’m SO clever sometimes but then when I unplug the garage door opener to check my outdoor Christmas lights and proceed to stomp around fuming wondering WHY IN THE HELL WON’T THE GARAGE DOOR CLOSE OR OPEN OR DO ANY EFFIN THING?!! until after much wasted time and cussing, I remember to plug it back in and realize that I am, in fact, not clever whatsoever), plus a toy car from the Target Dollar spot that doesn’t go with the theme and yes, that really bothered me. Still does. So does this entire run-on paragraph so why not end it with an incomplete sentence?

treat_bag_contents

I was originally going to have the kids make their own rock candy or put together some sort of take home kit…but then I decided it was easier to order some off of Amazon instead. Yay for two day shipping!

rock_candy

You can barely see them below, but I whipped up a few poofs and hung them over the food station. They are easy and fool-proof to make and always add a little pizzaz. Yeah, you know, pizzaz.

Here is the birthday boy, blowing out his candle!

bday_candle

Actually, he mostly sputtered in its general direction.

He is wearing Amelie’s hand-me-down Colorado shirt by All Things Bean that I used as inspiration for the tote bags. Basically, I copied.

BUT LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS? Seriously.

bday_boy

Cade is not much for parties, to be honest. He doesn’t like the commotion and he cried during the Happy Birthday song – second year in a row. Poor guy. (Amelie, on the other hand, loved it all.) Maybe next year, we’ll let Cade play trains in his “spot” and eat cupcakes for lunch in peace and quiet. That’s more his style!

Cade, we love you so much. Two years with you has been two very blessed years for us. Sniff, sniff. All of the heart eyed emojis in the world for you, my sweet guy!

Happy birthday, Cadey-Cade!

Amelie’s Panda Party that she didn’t want

You guys, Amelie turned three! Last year, I planned a dinosaur party for her and this year, I decided on PANDAS.

Because! Pandas are so cute! Because “Panda Party” alliteration! Because black and white everything is chic, accessible, awesome and easy! Because I’m brilliant!

Amelie did not want a panda party though. She wanted a “Katarina Kitty Cat/Monkey Party”. Oh, silly toddlers. I forged ahead with the panda theme because surely she could be easily swayed just by using my excited voice: “A panda party, honey! Pandas are awesome! Won’t that be so super fun!?! Everyone loves pandas! Let’s watch panda videos on Youtube and get excited about them! Weeeeee!”

You know what? Amelie is not one to be swayed. She stayed true to her initial request to the bitter end. I had already gotten aboard the panda train (ie buying stuff) and it was too late to bail so I went ahead with hopes the magic of the day would change her mind. It didn’t really and this Mom fail is totally going in her memoir.

Her Panda Party invites:

invite

We purchased the invite file from Etsy and I doctored it up with my crooked handwriting, black and white baker’s twine, black glitter paper baking and, of course, pretty black glitter for the nose.

My recipe for party day decor was simple. Buy die-cut pandas from this awesome Etsy shop. Add black glitter. Put them everywhere.

To this day, I’m still finding black glitter in places you would never imagine…

Remember my pro-Mom tip about doing as much as you can ahead of time? It came in handy again because three major things happened two days before the party: Cade came down with an ear infection resulting in a surprise trip to an after hours clinic and endless hours of me holding him and trying to accomplish everything one-handed, Zack’s original flight home was cancelled and for a frantic evening we thought he wouldn’t make it home for the party at all, oh and lastly? Another snowstorm.

After shoveling for an hour the night before instead of cleaning the house, I woke up to this on Party Day.

snowstormIt’s kinda hard to prioritize last minute party prep when your guests literally cannot make it to the front door. So, another hour of shoveling happened while Zack worked on the food and then I had to take a second shower and redo my hair – another detour I didn’t expect. I’m glad I played around with decorations beforehand so all I had to do was put them up!

Where were we? Pandas?

Ah, yes.

party_decorations

(Don’t get me started on that open cabinet door in the background. I’m a bad picture taker blogger lady.)

I ordered cupcakes from a bakery and sprinkled edible glitter on top (leftover from Amelie’s party last year) and it was totally worth it because I doubt anyone even noticed. I also taped a few die cut pandas to striped paper straws to decorate the cupcakes (more shown later).

cupcakes_centerpiece

I made a wonky pom poof thingy, added two black honeycombs and a big sweet panda to the cluster. Isn’t she cute! Then I strung them up with black and white baker’s twine.

big_panda

The birthday banner I made! I bought the banner on clearance from Target, then added the die cuts and embellishments. You can’t tell but lots of black glitter was involved.

panda_banner

Detail shots to waste your time:

banner3

Turning three!

banner2

Plus my go-to tassel garland, which turned out kinda wimpy.

tassle_banner

Even our golden stag was in the mood to party:

deer_sign

The party set up:

setupZack served his delicious pulled pork, tater tots, and coleslaw. It’s what we served at Amelie’s first birthday. Always a great party food! Recently, we pulled the trigger on new white dishes from World Market because we were literally chipping away at the old set and it was getting slim. For the party, we used paper plates (Target clearance!) but the reason I mention it is because along with the dishes, I ordered three matching serving pieces to add to my serving collection. I’m glad I did because we always needed an extra service piece so Zack would pull out some mismatched plate for the hummus or whatever and then my eyes would twitch. White servingware makes me happy! Don’t have what you need? Borrow from friends!

Up close, because you have time for this nonsense.

setup2The flatware caddy packets that I put together solely as excuse to use black glitter washi tape because obviously that was a grand use of my time.

flatware_caddy

Moving on to the hutch! It housed the panda party treat cups and panda crowns!

hutchEach guest got a panda crown (purchased from here)  as part of their party favor. This was taken after the party but aren’t they adorable?

panda_crown1

Here are the treat cups up close:

treatcups2

I adorned the pandas with bows: hair bows for the girl treat cups and bow ties for the boys because yeah, I used gender stereotypes to keep myself organized. Probably another topic to add to the memoir!

Inside the treat cups:

treatcups

Knee high panda socks and panda washi tape. I know! ADORABLE. Just like last year, I kept the guest list small so these didn’t break the bank.

After they pulled out their goodies, a note to thank them for coming:

treatcups3

The reluctant Panda Party Princess. She’s giving me her best fake smile.

panda_princess

She was tired. She’s been skipping a lot of naps since moving to her Big Girl Bed. She started to warm up once her friends arrived.

Little man got panda eyes too – even though he probably had them naturally because he had an ear infection and wasn’t sleeping well either.

cade_daddy

Unlike last year, I skipped doing stations. The only thing I offered was to do “panda eyes” for the other kids but no one took me up on it. Ha! I don’t blame them, it wasn’t easy to get that eyeshadow off…

The birthday girl did come around when it was time for cupcakes and the happy birthday song!

birthday_candle

To beat the theme to a pulp, of course I had to add pandas to mini thank you cards:

thank_yous

We have so much to be thankful for. It was a sweet snowy day celebrating Amelie, despite the chaos leading up to it. Everything all worked out!

Happy birthday, beautiful. I love you so very much. Next year, I promise I’ll honor your birthday requests. I’m pretty sure I will, anyway.

Cade Turns 1!

Ok, that happened a long time ago. You know what? I’m the worst.

Look at him, though.

cadeis1

He’s an angel!

We kept Cade’s birthday party very simple with easy food and minimal decorations. We ordered pizza, I didn’t do treat bags and I didn’t bake. In fact, I was barely ready by the time our guests showed up because Cade decided that he preferred to be awake while I was trying to clean the house and snooze through the actual party. It’s probably because he’s an introvert like his Mommy. I kinda wanted to nap too!

All I did was make a little banner with supplies from Target to mingle with our holiday decorations:

banner2

Just like Amelie’s first birthday party, I went with a one color “theme”. Amelie’s was a stereotypical pink and for Cade, I picked light teal. I use “theme” loosely because all I had was a banner and some coordinating paper plates. A tad on the pathetic side. Maybe I’ll get more creative for year 2?

banner

The set up. Pretend the only thing we made, the salad, is in the bowl. Imagination is fun!

setup

We hauled in the picnic table and that was a brilliant place for littles to eat at. It was a small party, which suits me and our small house perfectly.

picnic_table

Dad finally had to go in and wake the birthday boy. Poor guy just wanted to sleep. He was groggy and refused his birthday cupcake.

bday

Amelie, on the other hand, shouted “I love it!” while smashing her cupcake in her face. That’s my girl!

Even as simple as it was, hosting the party was more stressful than I thought it should be. It’s hard to get the house cleaned and the food prepped with little ones around. My tips are: do as much as you can in advance and invite great people that don’t care!

Happy Birthday, my sweetie, my lovey guy, my Cadey-Cade. Please stay my little baby forever ever, amen?