Paw Patrol Party

If you have young kids, you’ve probably heard of Paw Patrol. In our case, it's all we ever hear about. It’s a show on Nick Jr. about a boy and a group of pups who do rescue missions around Adventure Bay. This show - or more like the idea of it - has been Myla’s obsession for well over a year - although Wild Kratts is starting to nudge the Paw Patrol out of that top spot. (Watch out Ryder!) Myla will wake up first thing in the morning and start assigning us characters and stating the missions we are about to embark upon. The thing that might drive me the most nuts, is that Myla is extremely imaginative - a good characteristic, of course - but she prefers to act out everything rather than playing with figurines (which by the way, she owns them ALL). All this acting makes for some exhausting play when you’re expected to run, jump, roll, stand up, sit down and fly…. I now understand the insanity I put my own parents through. Like mother, like daughter.

As Myla's 4th birthday came rolling up, what else would she want as the theme but Paw Patrol, right? Although it was my intention to do mostly store bought party supplies this year, that wasn’t entirely possible. You see… Nick Jr. decided to add a NEW PUP last year to the line up named Everest. She is now one of two girl pups on the show. The other girl pup, named Skye, is pretty girly and dainty flying around in her helicopter. As where Everest is a bit more of a tough girl - driving around in her snow rescue mobile and snowboarding down mountain sides. She’s definitely a bit sillier too - all which Myla relates to better. So of course, she wanted her theme to revolve around Everest. The only problem is that Nick Jr. has been really slow to release any products with Everest on them which left me needing to figure out how I could do the least possible in the handmade department. I decided that the invite, cake and a touch of handmade decor would be my limit. And I actually stood my ground against my own creative hamster-wheel mind.

To begin, I found some decent resolution images of the pups on the internet and went to work on the invite and table decor. The invite was pretty simple showcasing Everest and Skye on the front - but of course I needed to add Ryder (the boy) and his main pup, Chase, on the back - just to make sure it appealed to both the girls and boys invited to her party. And I opted for some fun chalkboard style text (that is the trendy thing to do now, right?)

Front of Invitation

Back of Invitation (sorry about the bad print job - our printer just finally kicked the bucket - this invite ended up being it's last job)

As for the table decor, I used those images I found online and blew them up to fill almost an entire sheet of paper. I also flipped the image using photo editing software and printed both images on card stock. I used double sided tape to stick them together once they were cut out. I then cut out bands of green to make a ring which the figure would sit on by making small slits in both the band and the figure so they would stand upright on the tables. Pretty simple and a lot less time consuming than it looks. And of course, I made sure that Everest would be standing on the table by the birthday girl.

Table Decor

Pup table decor on tables.

And finally, I had to make the cake. I decided a simple sheet cake would be the way to go here since I had to transport it to Sky Zone where the party was held. Typically, I don’t like to eat fondant, but I do like using it to decorate cakes - it’s the “play doh” of the cake world. I made the large Everest head out of fondant and placed it in the middle of the cake after I used buttercream frosting to cover the cake and decorate the edges. Myla also insisted on those large, round sprinkles along the border - and I have to admit, I like her style. And finally, because I was afraid of writing “Happy Birthday Myla” on the cake for fear of messing it up, I made a little banner (and used the leftover straws from her Frozen party last year as the poles). The rest of the party, I left up to Sky Zone... and BOY did it feel good to let someone else take control… and cleanup too.

Everest Cake

Myla blowing out her candles.

The Coolest Party in Town

…Is a FROZEN birthday party of course.

Sometimes I look back at the things I do and say, “Yup, I’m kind of crazy”. I’ve told myself time and again to give myself a break especially with birthday parties - kids appreciate store bought items just as much as homemade and it’s a lot less stressful and time consuming. But once my mind gets going and an idea starts branching out, I just can’t “let it go”.

I was 36 weeks pregnant when I threw Myla her third birthday party. I chose to hold it a few weeks early because Maddox was scheduled to arrive the day before her actual birthday, not leaving much wriggle room. As I mentioned in my last post, he had other plans and arrived early, which made me that much more thankful we chose to hold the party when we did. 

This year, I let Myla choose her party theme (as compared to the trains and owls I chose for the last two). It’s no surprise she chose the ever popular Frozen theme. What I should have done, being 9 months pregnant, was to buy all the Frozen theme decor at the party store and buy a cake. But do I allow myself to do this? Nope, of course not. After all, I enjoy doing this stuff. But seriously, I probably should have been relaxing with my feet up. 

I did, however, allow myself to consult Pinterest to fill in the gaps where my fatigued pregnant brain couldn’t. And, as much as I love Elsa and Anna - I didn’t want the party to focus on princesses. There was going to be three times as many boys than girls at her party and I know that Olaf would be the most popular character among all the kids. In addition to Olaf, a general "frozen/snowy" theme was my focus.

Unlike previous birthday party posts, I’ve put EVERYTHING into a single post, so it’s long. For easier searching, here’s what I’ll be sharing below: Activities, Favors, Food & Drink, Dessert, as well as the Invite and Thank You card designs.

Activities

Three is probably the earliest age kids look for, or maybe can handle, organized activities in a party setting. Two may work as well, but you’d probably end up with a lot of kids looking dumbfounded or refusing to participate - or maybe that was just my child. So, I figured I would plan just enough to have some organized fun before I let them run rampant from the sugar overload they were about to receive.

I planned two crafts and a slightly free-for-all snowball toss with Olaf. The first craft is the ever-popular “Build a Snowman” with marshmallows (jumbo, regular and mini), mini pretzels, caramel candy corn (I think these look more like carrots than the regular ones), and chocolate chips. I supplied edible markers and candy eyes to complete the face and made up bags of Royal Icing (aka gingerbread house frosting) to glue the snowmen together. This way it was completely edible. Even though the kids received some guidance on how to assemble them, they really used their own creativity to come up with some of the best (and funniest) looking snowmen I’ve seen - check ‘em out. Then, they got to devour their little creations.

The second craft actually came completely from my pregnant brain (I even impressed myself). Since Christmas was soon to follow, I thought making a snowflake ornament would be a fun project that most of the kids would be able to admire on their tree the following month. I put together bags with the following art supplies: popsicle sticks, pom poms, ribbon, and snowflake felt stickers. The kids then assembled them using Tacky Glue (this glue works much better than regular Elmers or glue sticks). 

And finally, I created a “Snowball Toss with Olaf” game. I had some leftover plywood (from the fabric-backed bookshelf I made) and used that to paint a huge Olaf. My original plan was to do Marshmallow instead - you know, the mean snowman Elsa created at the North Mountain - but he’s kind of scary and not so much fun for 3 year olds. I cut out the large circle for the balls to pass through and secured the board on a stand made from scrap wood. I bought a bag of styrofoam balls to be used as the snowballs - they were light weight, looked like snow, and I figured could always be recycled into a future project. We let this game kind of be a free-for-all and let the kids play with it as they saw fit. It turned out to be quite popular - after all, what three year old doesn’t like to throw things?

Favors

This year we didn’t take on such a large project like the wood trains Justin built last year… but this year’s favor was still pretty time consuming as a lot of experimenting went into it. Frozen Glitter Slime!!!! I tried a bunch of different recipes I found online and even messed with some of those to find something I liked. My only regret is that it didn’t last as long as the one experiment I did using regular white Elmer’s glue (instead of the clear), but the clear glue gave me the effect I was looking for. Unfortunately some batches got stickier/runnier than others within a few weeks. All that’s needed to fix it and bring back it’s perfect consistency is a little Borax and water solution - see recipe for ratio

Anyways, I found the clear 8oz PET jars and lids at the best price from Nature’s Garden. I created my own circular Olaf 'labels', cut them out and used Mod Podge to glue them and coat them on the lids.

In addition to the Frozen Glitter Slime, I assembled little bags of Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses since Olaf loves hugs… and the kisses (Cookies 'n' Cream flavor) came in the perfect blue wrapping. I also created the Thank You tags which I tied onto each baggie.

Food & Drink

At the party we served lunch which allowed us to tie the theme right into the menu - this is where I used Pinterest for some of the menu item names. For the kids’ sandwiches, I used a snowflake cookie cutter (kept it simple for the kids with a choice of cheese or peanut butter & jelly). You can also view the recipes for the Frozen Waters Punch aka "Tiffany Punch" (please excuse the photoshopped picture below, I forgot to snap a photo with punch in it - also, instead of a 1:1 ratio, I used less lemonade to keep it bluer) and the Troll Stones, which were Lentil ‘Meat’balls served in a mushroom thyme gravy which everyone couldn’t get enough of. (Tasted like Thanksgiving - yum!). I also made water bottle labels to carry the theme through.

Dessert

Hello sugar overload!!! I might have gone a little crazy here. To start, I made a “smash cake” of sorts decorated with sugar snowflakes found on Amazon. I also made cupcakes which I find easier to serve to a large group than having to slice and plate cake. I also made Jello Jigglers for Kristoff’s Ice, chocolate dipped strawberries for Frozen Hearts, and chocolate dipped pretzel rods for the Frozen Wands. For the dipping chocolate, I used Candy Melts, available at Michaels, Jo-Ann, party stores and I believe even Walmart. They already come pre-colored - just pick your sprinkles to decorate. I found using the microwave to melt them was extremely easy. I suggest using a tall pint glass for melting the chocolate and dipping the pretzels. (A shallow bowl worked better for the strawberries.) After dipping the pretzels and decorating with sprinkles, just lay on wax paper. Once cooled, package them in sealed plastic bags until ready to serve. As for the strawberries, store them in the fridge.

Invite and Thank You

I kept the invite simple sticking with a snowflake theme. Simply printed it on white cardstock, and used colored cardstock on the back. For the Thank You card, I kept it even simpler (no colored card stock) and made it like a notecard without a fold.

And finally…

In addition to some of the store bought decorations I did buy, I drew an Olaf to put by our fireplace where we stacked the birthday gifts. Maybe my “fire” looks a little cheesy, but Myla loved it as well as the rest of her “frozens birthday”, as she said. And that’s all that really matters. Overall, I was so happy to see Myla enjoying her party and her friends… and so happy that Maddox decided to wait another few weeks before making his appearance. I got a little bit of time to rest after all that work. 

Later that evening... Queen Myla got her cake.

Choo-Choo Myla is Turning 2 (Part 1)

Well, it's here… November - Myla's Birthday Month! I've been debating whether to share all her birthday crafts in one long journal post, or to split them up. Since the only thing on my mind is her birthday and I'm so excited about all the fun things I'll be making, I've decided to share bits and pieces over the next few weeks. 

Myla has many interests including Elmo, Spongebob, Cars, Trucks, Music, Dancing, Jumping, Climbing, Running (haha)… Oh yes, and Trains. She loves to run around pumping her fist shouting "Choo-Choooooo". Trains, the perfect theme for her and all her little friends. After all, a 2nd Birthday is not like a 1st Birthday (which is more about the parents celebrating the fact that they made it this far). The 2nd Birthday is all about the Birthday Girl celebrating with her best buds. Amazing how that changes in just a single year. Therefore, we're going to have a party for the smallest train engineers around (while the adults take a backseat... or would it be "a ride in the caboose?").

To begin the party planning, I made her invitations. I had really wanted to do a paper cut-out type invite like the owl I did for her First Birthday. Then reality slapped me upside the head. There's no way I have the same amount of time as I did last year as she's much more on the move. Therefore, I figured I could design something on the computer and print them out. I still wanted the invite to have the look of simple shapes as if the pieces were cut out of different papers. I also wanted to keep everything in the pink family. Who knows when Myla will declare her favorite color and what it might be (purple, green…. cadmium yellow or cobalt blue for the budding artist)… might as well get in as much pink as possible while I can. I was hoping to do pink envelopes as well, but when I realized that I would have to special order them for a ridiculous price - I settled on white. Overall, these invites still turned out pretty darn cute. Choo-choo!!!

Stay tuned for more train-themed birthday party activities, decor, food, and favors in the coming weeks.

The Story of Baby K

For as long as I've known my mother, she has always shied away from the camera... including when she was pregnant with me. Growing up and looking through albums, I always wished I had seen more pictures of my mom with her baby bump. I wanted to make sure to document my bump for Baby K and decided to create my own album using Blurb. With the help of a friend and Justin, I was able to get some nice pictures along the way during those 9 months. I also used the owls and birds I illustrated for the wall decor in the nursery in the album and added in some ultrasound and delivery day images. I finished the book off by pasting in Myla's footprints.

View the contents in the Baby Bump Book gallery.

Having a Baby

(Rewind a few years) Boy? Girl? I know, we'll just say Baby K. With the unknown ahead and my obsessive nature to have the nursery complete before baby arrives (or at least nearly complete), I needed to pick a theme that could be swayed toward girl or boy. I knew I wanted bright, happy colors. I had seen the Skip Hop Treetop Friends bedding collection and had to have it.  Based around Owls it soon turned into a slight obsession in the nursery.

At the time, Skip Hop did not offer a crib mobile - a nursery must-have. I decided I needed one that matched the owl/bird theme. I found a very simple and inexpensive plastic mobile (with music and wind-up motion). I bought fabric squares in different patterns that matched the colors of the bedding set. I disassembled the mobile and sewed covers for the plastic pieces, made stuffed owls and birds, added some ric rac trim for strings and "Ta-Da"… the perfect mobile. Surprisingly, this mobile hypnotized and calmed Myla for a long time and still hangs, out of reach, high above her crib.

With the extra fabric I made curtains to match (another accessory not available for that bedding collection). I took some old Ikea drapes, which just so happened to match the crib dust ruffle, and I cut some fabric from them. I used the extra fabric remnants from the mobile to make the tabs at top. 

I still had extra fabric so I decided to make some custom wall decor. I found some simple and inexpensive wood frames. Then I sewed the fabric to fit around the frames and glued the backs. I used Adobe Illustrator, and the bedding theme as inspiration, to create these silly images.

With those last remaining remnants, I decided to add some ABC shadow boxes next to the bookshelf.